BEIRUT — American firm Oshkosh Defense and Saudi Arabia’s Al Tadrea Manufacturing Company have established a joint venture to manufacture armed vehicles in the kingdom.

The two companies formed Oshkosh Al-Tadrea Manufacturing, creating “the largest partnership in the history of Saudi armored vehicles,” according to a message on Al Tadrea’s official Twitter account.

Defense News reported in 2017 that Al Tadrea was in talks with Oshkosh to manufacture armored vehicles in Saudi Arabia. Al Tadrea CEO Fawzi Bin Ayoub Sabri confirmed during an interview that year at the Bahrain International Defence Exhibition and Conference that his company was “"discussing partnerships with many international companies, particularly negotiating with Oshkosh Defense to produce armored vehicles.”

Wednesday’s online signing ceremony was held between officials and senior executives of the two companies.

The joint venture, also known as OTM, will be based in Saudi Arabia, and the kingdom will hold the largest property share, according to a May 14 report by the Saudi Press Agency.

“The joint venture will design and provide its first vehicles to be built based on the model of the Oshkosh Defense vehicle in the medium-sized 4×4 Tactical Vehicle (FMTV) category,” the press agency reported.

OTM will “develop manufacturing expertise to become a major partner for wheeled tactical vehicle services, [and] it will also provide the necessary services to its customers in the security and military sectors in the Kingdom, through an integrated and sustainable support fleet, as well as activating the supply chains more broadly and more efficiently,” the report read.

In a speech during the virtual ceremony, the head of Al Tadrea said: "The current efforts made by the kingdom in the field of industries, especially military industries, demand from us to move forward and follow the government’s directions to achieve everything related to homeland security, and to raise the efficiency of military industries and the support of Saudi talents and human capabilities that we rely on by providing job opportunities to the Saudis.”

For his part, John Bryant, the president of Oshkosh Defense and the executive vice president of its parent company, Oshkosh Corporation, said that “both Oshkosh Defense and Al Tadrea Manufacturing have worked closely for more than two years to establish this joint venture, by transferring its technology and capabilities. We are very excited to cooperate with this Saudi company with a solid history.”

The two firms prepared for this joint venture by providing training opportunities and accreditation certificates to future OTM employees. The training sessions covered manufacturing, repairing and joint maintenance of M-ATVs, which are mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles made by Oshkosh and currently in service within the Royal Saudi Land Forces.

Agnes Helou was a Middle East correspondent for Defense News. Her interests include missile defense, cybersecurity, the interoperability of weapons systems and strategic issues in the Middle East and Gulf region.

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