Lockheed Martin executives break silence over Khashoggi killing and their business with Saudi Arabia
President Trump with Marillyn A. Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin on the South Lawn of the White House. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post) October 23 at 6:13 PM
The giant U.S. defense contractors who sell bombs, jets and other advanced weaponry to Saudi Arabia have said little amid a weeks-long international uproar over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey earlier this month, even as other prominent U.S. business leaders rebuke the kingdom.
That silence was broken Tuesday morning when Lockheed Martin chief executive Marillyn Hewson explained to investors that her company, the worldâs largest manufacturer of military weaponry, w ould defer to the U.S. governmentâs decisions regarding relations with kingdom. In response to a question from Bernstein investment analyst Doug Harned, Hewson noted that her companyâs international arms deals are negotiated between the U.S. government and its military allies.
âMost of these agreements that we have are government-to-government purchases, so anything that we do has to follow strictly the regulations of the U.S. government,â she said, touting a recent $450 million contract for combat ships for Saudi Arabia that her company received in July. âBeyond that, weâll just work with the U.S. government as theyâre continuing their relationship with Saudi."
The kingdom has spent nearly $90 billion on weapons systems from U.S. defense contractors since the 1950s, including nearly $5.5 billion last year.
Lockheed has done business with the kingdom since 1965, when it first sold C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft. More recent busines s opportunities for Lockheed include a pair of advanced communications satellites as well as a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic-missile system that Lockheed is building for the Saudi military.
Defense analysts say it is unlikely that the U.S. government will halt those sales or future ones unless the political situation changes significantly. President Trump said on CBS' â60 minutesâ that he wants to continue selling arms to the kingdom in order to protect U.S. jobs.
âI donât want to lose an order like that,â he said.
And in Tuesdayâs earnings call, Lockheed chief financial officer Bruce Tanner said the financial benefits of the THAAD sale are already âvery much pushed to the right," meaning the wonât materialize until much later, because the system depends on a Saudi radar update that wonât happen for years. He expects the system to be operational in Saudi Arabia by 2023.
He noted that the companyâs sales in Saudi Arabia for 2019 and 2020 add up to about $900 million. Lockheed Martin made about $14.3 billion in the third quarter of 2018.Source: Google News Saudi Arabia | Netizen 24 Saudi Arabia