Speculation mounts over who will head defence contracts arm

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The creation of Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) has shaken up procurement at the ministry of defence, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The SAMI is under the close supervision of the defence minister’s powerful advisor, Ahmed al Khateeb who has been working on the creation of SAMI for months.

According to several sources, Khateeb may become the chairman of the conglomerate, while keeping his place as advisor to the crown prince and defence minister. To head the entity operationally, the minister’s cabinet is looking for a financier, most probably an American. A number of candidates who work for US defence groups are currently being vetted for the position.

SAMI, which is a Saudi Arabian version of Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Defense Industries Co (EDIC), is aiming to be both the offset partner for Western defence groups and the backbone of Saudi Arabia’s military-industrial complex.

SAMI is a subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the Saudi sovereign wealth fund chaired by Mohammed bin Salman.