Saudi Arabia 2021 | INDUSTRY | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Muneer Bakhsh, CEO of GDC Middle East, about the vision for the company, international partnerships, and Vision 2030.

What are the primary expertise and specialties of GDC Middle East?

GDC Middle East (GDCME) is an Engineering House specializing in: aerospace and defense engineering, systems integration, MRO, operation & support and delivering UAS capabilities We are a 100% Saudi company, owned by Public Investment Fund (PIF).

What is your vision for the company?

Our vision is to build a leading aerospace and defense company to compete globally. Doing that will involve a great deal of work; however, our goal for GDCME under Vision 2030 is to be a conduit which will help realize the Kingdom's objective of localizing 50% military expenditure through the development of national engineering solutions, capable of supporting military platforms now and in the future to the highest standards and quality.

In the next 10 years, how do you envision international partnerships between the Saudi local defense and the global defense companies?

Saudi Arabia has been working with international companies like: Boeing, BAE Systems, and Lockheed for nearly 80 years. Now the Kingdom focus is on: technology transfer, localization, and in-country manufacturing which will ultimately lead to endogenous growth. Vision 2030 came at the right time, Saudi Arabia has the third largest defense budget in the world and the efforts to localize at least 50% of that by 2030 are strong and aggressive.

How is know-how transferred to the local workforce?

Initially by identifying required and available local capabilities provides a baseline and understanding the required capabilities through a capability gap analysis provides data on what is required. Through this the correct level of investment, training, and education can be planned which will lead to the development of new capabilities and local 'know-how'. This in turn provides the baseline for activity, initially on simple components, gradually developing activities into more complex components then sub-assemblies, and finally full assembly.