Idex 2021: UAE Armed Forces sign $1.5bn in military deals on day three

Six of the 12 contracts awarded at the Middle East's biggest defence exhibition went to local companies

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The UAE Armed Forces signed military deals worth Dh5.58 billion ($1.52bn) on Tuesday, the third day of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference, with international and local companies clinching an equal number of deals.

The Armed Forces, which signed 12 contracts in total, awarded six contracts valued at Dh4.42bn to local companies, said Staff Brig Gen Mohammed Al Hassani, official spokesman for Idex and the Naval Defence and Maritime Security Exhibition.

International companies won six contracts worth Dh1.16bn.

“We have reached about Dh18bn of contracts in the last three days and we may surpass last year’s figure if this continues,” he said.

Among the local companies that won contracts were Yas Holding and Abu Dhabi Ship Building, which were awarded deals worth Dh2.95bn and Dh650m, respectively.

The international deals included a Dh112 million contract with Boeing.

Halcon, the producer of precision-guided weapons and a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi’s Edge group, revealed the UAE’s first air defence missile at the exhibition yesterday.

SkyKnight is the first UAE-designed and manufactured counter-rocket, artillery and mortar missile system, it said.

The air defence missile system forms part of Germany-based Rheinmetall’s Skynex Air Defence System.

Halcon’s SkyKnight was designed to counter a range of modern threats by providing early warning signals and precise surface-to-air intercept capabilities that can thwart rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, artillery, mortar shells and other fixed-wing aircraft at a range of up to 10 kilometres.

“SkyKnight is the UAE’s first, but not the last, air defence missile developed by Halcon,” said Faisal Al Bannai, Edge group chief executive and managing director.

It is “part of the nation’s aim to establish sovereign defence capabilities, with the goal to address ever-evolving threats that are not well covered by many players in the market”.

The collaboration with Rheinmetall, a leading player in the defence industry, is a “clear message that Edge is open to teaming up with various players to offer joint advance solutions”, he said.

Italian defence contractor Leonardo and the UAE’s Falcon Aviation Services said on Monday that they had begun to build a new rotorcraft terminal to carry visitors to the Expo 2020 site in Dubai.

Idex 2021: The drone destroyer that can be worn across the shoulder

Idex 2021: The drone destroyer that can be worn across the shoulder

Operator Falcon Aviation Services will use the terminal for helicopter transport services. The long-standing partners fly customers on the Leonardo AW139, AW189 and AW169 helicopter models.

South Africa’s defence company Paramount Group said it will partner with India’s engineering and technology conglomerate Bharat Forge, which received an order worth 1.78 billion rupees ($245.5m) from the Indian Ministry of Defence to supply Kalyani M4 vehicles. The agreement was signed at the exhibition.

The two companies will combine their technology, capabilities and expertise to manufacture armoured vehicles in India, Paramount Group said.

The Kalyani M4 is a multifunctional platform designed to meet armed forces' need for quick mobility in rough terrain and areas with mines and improvised explosive devices.

The Indian Armed Forces are expected to begin using the Kalyani M4 in the “very near future”, Paramount Group said.

The Kalyani M4 successfully completed a series of extreme vehicle tests in some of the toughest environments in India.

The Tawazun Economic Council and satellite operator Yahsat signed an agreement to strengthen the UAE’s capabilities in the development and manufacture of advanced satellite communications.

“These partnerships are vital to the diversification of the UAE’s economy and we are committed to supporting our UAE investment portfolio companies as they contribute to our nation’s sustainable growth,” said Yahsat chairman Musabbeh Al Kaabi.

The collaboration will focus on the production of critical aeronautical, modem and other advanced satcom technologies in the UAE.

Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, chairman of Abu Dhabi’s Department of Economic Development, said Idex will boost the emirate’s prospects in the defence sector.

“Idex, since its launch, has become a new resource for the national income of the UAE, as it contributes to creating new opportunities for national defence industries, as well as launching a leading platform for global defence industries,” he said.

Meanwhile, a joint venture of Tawazun’s Strategic Development Fund and Australia’s EOS Defence Systems signed an agreement to collaborate with Edge Precision Industries in the manufacture and supply of high-precision components for the new 14.5 by 114 millimetre lightweight weapon system, currently under development for production in the UAE.