Saudi Arabia is negotiating the purchase of S-400 air defense systems and Su-35 jets with Russia, three years after the two countries signed a military cooperation agreement.
"Until we sign the contracts, we are not talking about this ... The negotiation process is underway," Sergei Chemezov, CEO of Rostec, said during an interview with RT.
Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) has an ambitious goal of producing 50% of defense equipment by 2030. Partnerships with Russia in this field include transfer of technology for the local production of S-400 missile system, Kornet-EM system, TOS-1A "Solntsepёk" heavy flamethrower systems (a Soviet 220mm 30-barrel or 24-barrel multiple rocket launcher and thermobaric weapon mounted on a T-72 tank chassis), AGS-30 automatic grenade launcher and Kalashnikov AK-103 rifles. A Memorandum of Understanding pertaining to this was signed in October 2017.
In February 2019, Federal Service of Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) said Russia and Saudi Arabia are discussing the conditions for activating the S-400 contract. Two months later, a source told Interfax that Russia had begun supplying TOS-1A systems to Riyadh. The two parties are now setting up a joint Kalashnikov assault rifles manufacturing facility.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump had approved the sale of Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missile systems, S-400’s competitor, to Saudi Arabia. With the new Biden administration reportedly having frozen the sale of weapons to Saudi, it may seek other alternatives.