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Saudi Arabia Lays the Foundation for a Defense Industry of Its Own

Nov 9, 2018 | 20:05 GMT
Saudi air force officers and technical staff walk past an advanced F-15SA fighter jet during a ceremony on Jan. 25, 2017 in Riyadh marking the 50th anniversary of the creation of the King Faisal Air Academy.

Saudi air force officers and technical staff walk past an advanced F-15SA fighter jet during a ceremony on Jan. 25, 2017 in Riyadh marking the 50th anniversary of the creation of the King Faisal Air Academy.

(FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia, flush with money, nestled in a hostile environment and saddled with demographic shortcomings, has long spent freely to bring in weapons from abroad. And over the past five years, driven by its intensifying competition with archrival Iran and a heavy military commitment in the Yemen conflict, this trend has accelerated. During the period of 2013-17, the number of arms systems the Saudi government purchased grew by 255 percent compared with its acquisitions from 2008-12, ranking it behind only India among global arms importers, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute....

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