Dubai Airshow 2021: UAE's Edge starts export sales to US, Europe and Africa, chief says

Exclusive: Defence conglomerate is in discussions to help countries in Asia and Africa establish military industrial bases

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UAE defence conglomerate Edge has won contracts to export a range of its products to the US, Western Europe and Africa as part of its ambitions to expand into international markets with locally-made wares.

The advanced tech company has signed 20 export sales contracts worth more than Dh1 billion for electronic warfare, drones and ammunition with deliveries starting this year and into the next, Faisal Al-Bannai, Edge group chief executive and managing director, told The National on Sunday at the Dubai Airshow.

While some deliveries began in January, others are scheduled for this quarter and in early 2022.

“Clients are showing that they have confidence in advanced technology that's coming out of the UAE,” he said. “We are building our name. It's about credibility, it's about building the right reputation. We're definitely on the right track to build a strong name that is focused on advanced technology in this industry.”

Asked how Edge shaped the marketing of its products to well-established military industrial powerhouses such as the US and Europe, Mr Al-Bannai said: “You have to find something that in our mind fits a certain niche with certain clients. You're not going to try to become everything to everyone; different clients have different needs and it's a matter of pitching the right product.”

Edge specialises in building advanced technology for weapons systems, cyber protection and electronic warfare with 25 companies under its umbrella. This includes developing drones, UAVs and smart defence equipment.

Edge is also in talks with countries in Africa and Asia to establish military industrial production bases using the company's expertise.

“We are definitely in discussions with various countries to set up an industrial base with them, where we bring in our know-how and technology in these countries,” he said. “There will be a better clarity sometime during next year.”

Edge, which was established two years ago before the Dubai Airshow 2019 edition, has since launched more than 20 products and announced 40 products under development with a focus on the areas of autonomous, smart weapons and electronic warfare, according to Mr Al-Bannai.

At the Dubai Airshow this year, Edge is planning joint development projects with partners on various products and unveiling some of its new products, the executive said.

These joint developments will include working with partners on radars and electronic warfare products, he added.

There will also be announcements on joint ventures related to airborne engines, he said, without providing details.

Following the normalisation of ties between the UAE and Israel last year through the Abraham Accords, Edge said in February that it is in talks to explore opportunities in advanced technologies with the country.

“We are in discussion for possible joint developments of products related to electronic warfare,” Mr Al-Bannai said. “In the next few months we might conclude that.”

Updated: November 14, 2021, 6:30 PM