DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A Saudi Arabia-based firm will sign two contracts with Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems to maintain and repair Royal Saudi Air Force fighter jets in the kingdom, said the Middle East Propulsion Company Limited’s CEO at the Dubai Airshow.
“MEPC will sign during the coming 15 days the first contract with Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems for the maintenance and repair of RSAF Tornado engines, RB199. The second contract will be finalized by the beginning of 2018 regarding Eurofighter Typhoon engines, EJ200, in the KSA,” Abdullah Ali Al-Omari said, using an acronym for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
MPEC falls under the purview of the Saudi Economic Balance Program, which was launched in 1984. Each company under the program has a unique expertise; MEPC specializes in the repair and maintenance of military aircraft engines.
“Our next step will be to produce parts of those engine locally. Thence, we are negotiating with General Electric to become the international exporter of such parts,” Al Omari said.
This localization is a direct implementation of Vision 2030, an initiative launched last year by Saudi Arabia‘s crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud. It comprises the local production of military systems and services in the kingdom’s territory, in an ambitious aspiration to cover 50 percent of the local demand.
Meanwhile, MEPC is negotiating with officials in neighboring Gulf countries for the repair of the military aircraft engines. MEPC is the only Gulf company that specializes in this domain and has such broad capabilities and partnerships.
“We are not only targeting local market but the international one. MEPC is expanding its negotiations to include the repair and maintenance of Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain Eurofighter Typhoon engines. So far, we have General Electric authorization to deliver our services to the Gulf. But we [are] in talks with Rolls-Royce to obtain authorized maintenance certification, AMC, in the coming couple of years. This certification level will reserve MEPC ... as an international competitor in the market,” Al Omari said.
Some military aircraft engines require maintenance and repair every 150-180 days. In addition, the engines tend to cost up to 45 percent of the total aircraft price, maintenance can take up a good chunk of time and repair parts are expensive.
“MEPC has been serving RSAF for 15 years, maintaining F-15 C and D engines, F100/220,” the company’s CEO said. “Also, we started in 2013 providing our services to RSAF C-130 Hercules fleet.”
MEPC has already signed an agreement with General Electric for Saudi F-15S and F-15SA engines, the F110-GE-129. This is a major step for the company since the F-15 fleet is the backbone of the Royal Saudi Air Force.
During the Dubai Airshow, MEPC signed a contract with GE to acquire an exclusive lifetime license for maintaining T-700 engines integrated in Apache and Black Hawk helicopters in service with the Royal Saudi Air Force and the Saudi Arabian National Guard.
MEPC has invested 100 million Saudi riyals (U.S. $26.6 million) to expand its capabilities and build new facilities for the basis of future production.
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