CAIRO - Saudi Arabia's defence ministry signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Spanish state-owned Navantia company on Wednesday to build multi-mission combat ships for the Saudi Navy, the Saudi state news agency (SPA) reported early on Thursday.

"The MoU aims to raise the level of readiness of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces to enhance maritime security in the region, and protect the vital and strategic interests of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia", it said.

According to the agreement, the Spanish company "would localize up to 100% of naval shipbuilding, integration of combat systems, and ship maintenance, in line with the Kingdom's objectives and Vision 2030."

The signing ceremony was attended by Saudi Defence Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman and Spanish Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism María Reyes Maroto.

(Reporting By Moaz Abd-Alaziz and Ahmed Tolba; Writing by Moaz Abd-Alaziz Editing by Shri Navaratnam)