The Saudi military plans to buy "at least four divisions" of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems worth about $2 billion from Moscow, newspaper Kommersant reports citing its source familiar with the course of the talks between Moscow and Riyadh.
Such a "fundamental agreement", as the interlocutor of the newspaper remarked, was one of the results of the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, in Moscow. This was also confirmed by unnamed sources of Al-Arabiya news agency and by an interlocutor of RBC news agency from the JSC Enterprise, Almaz-Antey, (which is engaged in the production of these missile systems).
However, Kommersant’s source specified that the exact parameters of the deal with Saudi Arabia had not yet been determined. The parties plan to discuss them at a meeting of the intergovernmental commission on military-technical cooperation which, according to the interlocutor of the newspaper, should take place at the end of October.
Another agreement concluded during Al Saud’s visit to Russia, as the newspaper reports, was a contract for the production of Kalashnikov AK-103 assault rifles and cartridges in the kingdom. This document, according to Kommersant, was signed by the general director of JSC Rosoboronexport, Aleksandr Mikheev, and the chairman of the board of directors of Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI, a Saudi military industrial company), Ahmad al-Khatib in the presence of the two heads of states. In addition, following the meeting between Putin and Al Saud, they concluded a memorandum "on the purchase and localization of facilities to produce military equipment."
As was clarified by SAMI, this memorandum, in particular, implies "partial localization of the production of the components for Russian missile systems." At the same time, the newspaper says that the Russian negotiators insisted that the percentage of this localization should be small, because all the main components should be produced exclusively by Almaz-Antey.
In addition, as SAMI told Kommersant, after the meeting between the King of Saudi Arabia and the Russian leader, the parties also signed a memorandum on the purchase and subsequent localization of TOS-1A Multiple Rocket Launchers, Kornet-EM anti-tank guided missile systems, and AGS-30 grenade launchers. However, the Russian interlocutors remarked that this agreement is not "legally binding."
As mentioned by Kommersant, Rosoboronexport and the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation both refused to give any further comments on this matter. Earlier, on September 5th, the newspaper, citing sources working in Russia's military-technical industry, reported that Moscow had prepared "a solid package of arms contracts" for Al-Saud's visit to Russia. The amount of these deals, according to the interlocutors of the newspaper, was to exceed $3 billion.
The meeting of the Saudi King with the Russian President and Ministers took place on October 5th. This was the first visit to Russia by the monarchs of Saudi Arabia. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the country, Adel Al-Jubeir, called the king’s visit historical.