Dubai Airshow 2021: Edge secures $880m deal from UAE Armed Forces for its Halcon unit

The contract is among the largest awarded by the Armed Forces, the company says

Halcon, an end-to-end manufacturer of precision-guided munitions, secured a Dh3.2 billion ($880 million) contract from the UAE Armed Forces for its Thunder and Desert Sting range of precision-guided munitions.

The order received by Halcon, a unit of UAE defence conglomerate Edge, is among the largest issued by the UAE Armed Forces, the company said in a statement on Monday.

“This is a significant contract on a global scale for this type of weapons system. It is with a great sense of responsibility for having been entrusted with this undertaking that we move ahead in confidence that the performance of our systems will fully justify the UAE Armed Forces’ trust in us,” Saeed Al Mansoori, chief executive of Halcon, said.

The order comes a day after another unit of Edge, GAL, an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul service (MRO) provider, secured a Dh11bn contract from the UAE Air Force and Air Defence (Afad), marking the biggest defence deal on the first day of the Dubai Airshow.

Military and civil contracts worth billions of dollars are expected to be finalised at the Dubai Airshow taking place this week. This year's civil and military exhibition – a major display of products from jumbo jets to military drones – is the first major in-person global aerospace exhibition in two years since the aviation industry was hit by Covid-19, considered the worst crisis in its history.

Halcon plans to manufacture the newly developed Desert Sting warheads at Tawazun Industrial Park in Abu Dhabi, it said.

The Desert Sting is a lightweight, guided weapon with a custom-designed warhead that operates with a Halcon-designed stores interface unit (SIU) and can be deployed on multiple weapon racks on aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Thunder range consists of different variants of aerial munitions (distinguished by weight and warhead size) all based on the same technology building blocks.

The contract confirms the “combat proven capabilities of Halcon’s family of guided weapons, having achieved the rigorous requirements demanded from the UAE Armed Forces”, the statement said.

Halcon has autonomous technology capabilities in areas including guidance and control, navigation, aerodynamic design, weapon flight control computers, warheads and servo systems. The company is a part of the Missiles & Weapons cluster within Edge, which ranks among the top 25 military suppliers in the world.

Separately, Earth, another unit of Edge, signed a preliminary agreement with Lockheed Martin to modernise aviation capabilities of UAE pilots who fly Apache helicopters, which are used in advanced warfare by the military.

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Dubai Airshow 2021 - in pictures

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The potential partnership will lead to Earth operating, repairing and sustaining services for the Modernised Targeting and Designator Sensor (M-TADS) systems. M-TADS, known as the "Eyes of the Apache", enables targeting and pilotage in day, night and in adverse weather missions.

The two companies will explore innovative ways to localise critical aspects of sustainment of Apaches flown by the Joint Aviation Command, they said.

The agreement was signed by Omar Al Zaabi, senior vice president head of programme acquisition at Edge, and John Clarke, vice president, capture excellence and international business development at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, during the Dubai Airshow.

Defence spending in the six-member GCC economic bloc is expected to rise to pre-coronavirus levels by 2024, defence intelligence specialist Janes said in a report in February.

The strong economic bounce back is expected to support the sovereigns’ defence expenditure as revenue increases, the report said.

Updated: November 15th 2021, 12:40 PM
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