The Armed Forces Exhibition for Diversification (AFED) of Local Manufacturing is taking place in the Saudi Capital at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Centre from 21 to 27 February 2015.
AFED which is being held under the patronage of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, was inaugurated by Assistant Defense Minister General Mohammed Al-Ayesh (photo) on behalf of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
General Al-Ayesh said the exhibition, organized for the first time in the Kingdom, will explore ways to encourage private and public sectors to manufacture defense equipment.
He added that Saudi Arabia plans to produce at least 10% of the military requirements locally and thereby reduce costs of such imports.
Abdul Rahman Al-Zamil, Chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers, said the exhibition will enable the private sector to specialize in the industrial field to display their products, potentials and contribution to local manufacturing and present their capability to the Armed Forces.
Prince Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed Al-Saud, President of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), said that Riyadh plays key role in the localization of technology and it is prepared to cooperate with all parties in the private and public sectors to achieve the goals.
On the opening day of the exhibition, five agreements have been signed for locally manufacturing defense equipment, including multi-purpose helicopters and cargo aircraft.
“A group of companies affiliated to Saudi Technology Development and Investment Company (TAQNIA), fully owned by the Public Investments Fund, signed the agreements,” Prince Turki said.
The agreements included manufacture of multi-purpose Black Hawk Sikorsky helicopters in the Kingdom, medium and heavy Antonov cargo aircraft with Ukrainian expertise, different types of satellites for imaging and reconnaissance purposes with the US Digital Global company.
The agreements also include cooperation in electronic warfare with Turkish Aselsan company and the establishment of a Saudi company in partnership with US Sora company for the manufacturing and marketing of lighting lamps based on the light emitting diode (LED), which is one of the latest lighting techniques in the world, and set up a factory in the Kingdom in this regard.
Brigadier General Attiya bin Saleh Al-Malki, spokesman for the AFED exhibition, said the event aims to meet the requirements of the Armed Forces and ensure their preparedness through the establishment of a long-term relationship with the private sector.”
He added: “The expo also aims to break the monopoly of international companies, which in turn will help further enhance the national security as well as allow the private sector, local factories and specialized labs to introduce their products and display their capabilities in local industrialization operations.”