US defence contractor to train Saudi sailors starving Yemen

US defence contractor to train Saudi sailors starving Yemen
Kratos Technology will help train Saudi navy personnel
currently blocking Yemen's ports from receiving vital humanitarian aid.
3 min read
09 August, 2017
Saudi Arabia signed a defence contract worth $110 billion with Washington in May [Anadolu]

A United States defence-tech contractor will train Saudi Arabia's navy personnel - currently preventing vital aid from entering Yemen's ports - as part of a $46 million contract to diversify Riyadh's economy.

Kratos Technology was awarded the contract by the US Department of Defence on a running basis to support Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 project.

"Kratos Technology is being awarded a $46,217,067... contract for program planning and instructional services to support the government of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 goals,"  the DoD said in a statement.

The contract was not competitively procured, the statement said, due to Federal Acquisition Regulation 5.202(a)(3), which allows Riyadh to specifically choose the "specified sources" of the contract.

Kratos is currently training Saudi personnel in Riyadh as part of its Kratos Arabia programme. 

The DoD contract was managed by the Pentagon's Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) in Orlando, Florida - where Kratos won a similar contract worth $54 million in September 2016.

A YouTube video from the NAWCTSD shows the type of training being offered at their centre.


"The MCAT will leverage Kratos' years of experience developing aircrew training systems and the most comprehensive technology solution sets we have developed," said Jose Diaz, senior vice-president at Kratos Training Solutions.

"Advancing Aircrew Training solutions will continue to be one of our primary focuses to provide our customers with the latest technology."

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia unveiled Vision 2030, a 15-year plan to diversify and modernise the oil-dependent economy, last year.

The plan will include the sale of a five percent stake in state-owned oil giant Aramco for upwards of $2 trillion.

This money is to be used to create a whole new jobs economy, reduce the government's fiscal deficit and wean the economy off its dependency on oil.


The UN's development co-ordinator for Yemen warned last week that the ongoing blockade of Yemen's ports by Saudi-led coalition ships had created a "man-made disaster".

"The current food security crisis is a man-made disaster not only resulting from decades of poverty and under-investment, but also as a war tactic through economic strangulation," said Auke Lootsma, UN Development Program country director for Yemen.

The UN reported in April that 21 million people - around 82 percent of the population - needed humanitarian assistance, with seven million facing famine.

"The unwarranted restrictions on the flow of commercial and humanitarian goods and services into Yemen and impeding distribution within the country are paralysing a nation that for far too long has been a victim of war," said Idriss Jazairy, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and international sanctions.

Follow Rob Cusack on Twitter: @rob_cusack