Head of Saudi Arabia’s defense industry talks Vision 2030

In spring 2016, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman unveiled a plan to reduce the country’s dependence on oil and to diversify the economy. The goal of Saudi Vision 2030, as that plan is known, is to make Saudi Arabia ‘the heart of the Arab and Islamic worlds, the investment powerhouse, and the hub connecting three continents.’

Among the sectors central to that vision is military. Taking cues from other countries in the region, Saudi Arabia stood up a single umbrella organization to lead its efforts in defense development and expertise: the Saudi Arabian Military Industries. Defense News spoke to CEO Andreas Schwer in an exclusive interview about the goals of SAMI, and what it could mean for global defense partnership and cooperation.

When the Vision 2030 program was established and defined by his royal highness, it became apparent right from the beginning that the defense industry would play a major role to achieve these global targets. So the defense industry, set up, is one of the major tasks of the Vision 2030 program. They established a team to define how this kind of defense industry should be set up. They were looking to comparable countries who are undergoing this kind of process — countries like Turkey, South Korea, South Africa or some Western countries. They have tried to learn the lessons out of that process.