A manufacturing export contract that is the biggest in Canadian history will create 3,000 jobs and billions of dollars across the supply chain.

The 14-year contract for light armoured vehicles announced Friday at General Dynamics Land Systems Canada, is with Saudi Arabia, Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, told a news conference.

The contract represents billions of dollars for vehicles and associated equipment, training and support services. GDLS will be the epicentre of a cross Canada supply-chain, including more than 500 local firms.

Approximately 40 per cent of the supply base is in southwestern Ontario.

Saudi Arabia has purchased an undisclosed number of light-armoured vehicles.

Following two years of design, the specialized 8-wheel LAVs will begin rolling off the assembly line in 2016.

General Dynamics will also provide a 14-year support program, including maintenance, warranty work and training.

Job growth will be in engineering and other technical fields, as well as at local suppliers.

“What has been a lot of the London businesses -  Armitek, Militex and others like that - we fully expect they'll have a large role to play in this,” says Danny Deep, GDLS vice-president.

It took 18 months to secure the contract, and even the Prime Minister got involved.

Deep told his employees that Canada’s largest advanced manufacturing contract is just the beginning.

“You should look ahead with confidence. The road ahead has never been brighter.”

“This is exactly the tonic that our city and this region have been waiting for,” Gerry Mccartney, London Chamber of Commerce CEO, says. “The efforts of the Minister and the trade policies of this government have bolstered our defense sector for many years of sustainability and economic prosperity.”

Fast called the contract "a gold medal" for GDLS.