RIYADH, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Saudi Arabia has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to acquire and build multi-mission combat ships for the kingdom's navy, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported Thursday.
The MoU was signed between the Saudi defense ministry, the Saudi General Authority for Military Industries and Spain's state-owned shipbuilding company Navantia, according to the SPA report.
"The MoU aims to raise the level of readiness of the Royal Saudi Navy to enhance maritime security in the region, protect the vital and strategic interests of the kingdom, and support the strategic, operational and tactical goals of the defense ministry," the ministry was quoted as saying.
According to the agreement, Navantia "would localize up to 100 percent of naval shipbuilding, integration of combat systems, and ship maintenance," it added.
Meanwhile, Assistant Minister of Defense Khalid Al-Bayari confirmed that the MoU will help create a base for advanced marine industries in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia plans to localize more than 50 percent of its total military spending by 2030 under the kingdom's Vision 2030 economic reform blueprint. ■