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Mon 8 Feb 2010 07:20 AM

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Saudi wants to build 'own fighter jets'

Kingdom changes manufacturing rules in long-term bid to build domestic military industry.

Saudi wants to build 'own fighter jets'
TAKEOFF: Saudis Ministry of Defence has said it will allow local firms to supply materials to the military, with the long-term goal of building fighter jets. (Getty Images - for illustrative purposes)

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Defence has said it will for the first time allow Saudi firms to bid to supply basic materials with the long-term goal of encouraging a domestic military industry.

The move, which will exclude arms but open a field that was formerly reserved for foreign manufacturers, will first involve some 15,000 items that range from plastic to pipes, and covers for jet engines and batteries, according to newswire Reuters.

Colonel Attiyah Al-Maliki told businessmen at Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry that the move would encourage foreign suppliers to partner with Saudi peers and set up shop within the Kingdom so that they can continue to qualify as suppliers.

“We will gradually open up to more sophisticated industries. Nothing should prevent Saudi Arabia from making its own fighter jets,” said Al-Maliki.

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