Aiming to bolster Saudi Arabia’s capabilities in aerospace and defense manufacturing, Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), has announced the launch of its composite manufacturing facility, SAMI Composites LLC, to produce composite parts for structural aerospace sub-assemblies.
Wholly owned by SAMI and located south of Riyadh International Airport, SAMI Composites LLC has an area of 27,000 square meters with 10,000 square meters of production and support buildings. The facility can produce composite structural components and assemblies, including fuselage and wing parts, skin panels, and moveable surfaces.
Commenting on the announcement, H.E. Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Chairman of SAMI (photo), said: “In line with our commitment to supporting the achievement of Vision 2030 goals, we at SAMI have a strong focus on developing Saudi Arabia’s capabilities in the aerospace and defense industry. The new composite manufacturing facility represents a significant step forward in this mission as it will play an instrumental role in driving the localization of our competencies through partnerships with globally renowned OEMs besides boosting our aerospace exports and developing the technical skills of Saudi nationals in the defense industries sector.”
Speaking of the new manufacturing facility, Eng. Walid Abukhaled, CEO of SAMI, said: “We are pleased to have reached a new milestone in our efforts to boost the development of indigenous, leading-edge products and solutions. With its massive manufacturing facility equipped with state-of-the-art systems and technologies, SAMI Composites LLC will enable Saudi Arabia to become a leading supplier and exporter of composite aerospace components, serving the defense and other sectors in Saudi Arabia and globally. I am confident that the facility will add tremendous value to the national economy by creating around 100 high-quality jobs and increasing non-oil exports over the next few years.”
SAMI will partner with a leading international Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) for the project, thereby facilitating the transfer of technology and knowledge to enhance the local capabilities of the Saudi military industries sector. SAMI Composites LLC will enhance the Saudi aerospace supply chain by using composite raw materials, production consumables, and manufacturing tooling. In addition, it will create 28 new high-skill jobs in 2022, with the number expected to rise to 90 in subsequent years.
SAMI Composites LLC is a significant milestone in PIF’s efforts through SAMI to localize cutting-edge technology, build up knowledge, and establish strategic partnerships. In addition to driving technology innovation in Saudi Arabia’s defense sector, the new facility will accelerate the Kingdom’s efforts to localize the production of aerospace and defense systems and create sustainable high-skilled jobs, all of which are among the key objectives of Saudi Vision 2030.
The facility has state-of-the-art systems and equipment to ensure the highest standards of production. It has a large cleanroom spanning 2,268 square meters to ensure the manufacturing environment’s compliance with international OEM standards and allow the layup of composite ply materials before curing. Its advanced precision equipment includes a 13-meter-long, 6.9-meter-diameter autoclave - the biggest in Saudi Arabia, 5-axis CNC (computer numerical control) equipment, NDI (nondestructive inspection) Gantry Robot, and ATL (automated tape laying) and AFP (automated fiber placement) machines. Besides reducing material costs and increasing aircraft fuel efficiency through lightweight components, composite materials also contribute to sustainability.
The establishment of SAMI Composites LLC empowers Saudi Arabia’s aerospace sector with the capability to manufacture and assemble complex aerostructures with high strength, reliable performance, and lightweight properties. Though the facility mainly aims to manufacture aerospace components for both military and civil fixed-wing and rotary aircraft, it has the potential to serve other industries, including transportation, construction, agriculture, and healthcare, considering the increasing demand for composite materials in these sectors.