After several years of finding the right candidate, General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada (GDLS), the Canadian division of general Dynamics from the United States, has received a $10 billion contract from Saudi Arabia for armored vehicles. With options included, the contract increases by another $3 billion.
The vehicles are to be a new design, but in order to enter production in 2016, the vehicles will likely have to make use to a certain extent of existing designs. GDLS currently manufactures the eight-wheeled Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) for Canada, which is derived from the Swiss Piranha family of armored vehicles.
In addition, GDLS manufactures parts for the American Stryker, which in turn is based on the LAV. The four-wheeled Ocelot is produced for the United Kingdom. The vehicles can be fitted with a range of weapons such as the TOW missiles which Saudi Arabia will have in large quantities.
Regardless, the vehicles will be designed and developed to meet Saudi Arabia's specific needs and local conditions. To cover the vast distances of flat, open and undeveloped terrain, the vehicles will need to be fast and relatively light with good off-road capability, sufficient range and able to deal with hot, dusty desert conditions.
Saudi Arabia has now agreed after years of negotiations to new pricing for the Typhoon fighter aircraft it had ordered in 2007. With this issue resolved, the contract can now be completed. Of the 72 aircraft ordered, over 30 have already been delivered.
Saudi Arabia is expected to soon begin the process of acquiring diesel-electric submarines for its Navy. Several European vendors are looking at this opportunity where they don't have to compete against the United States which doesn't have any designs it could offer.