UAE signs $1.2 billion in military deals on first day of Idex 2023

Procurement arm of Armed Forces awards 11 contracts, including six to domestic companies

UAE's Edge presents 11 new autonomous products at Idex

UAE's Edge presents 11 new autonomous products at Idex
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The Tawazun Council awarded contracts worth Dh4.5 billion ($1.2 billion) on the first day of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex), with several deals going to local companies.

The procurement arm of the UAE Armed Forces, which signed 11 contracts, awarded five deals worth Dh2.2 billion to international companies, while domestic companies won six contracts worth Dh2.3 billion, Zayed Al Meraikhi, the council's spokesman, said on Monday.

Among the domestic companies was munitions maker Halcon, which clinched a deal valued at Dh2.14 billion for the Thunder P3 weapons system. Maplin Marine Systems and Services was awarded a Dh78 million deal to provide ships with technical support services.

Other UAE companies that sealed deals included Mohamed Abdulrahman Al Bahar, which signed a Dh45 million contract to provide technical support on tracked vehicles, and Atlas Telecom, to procure SR Hawk and portable radar for Dh26 million.

Among international companies, PT Pal Indonesia won the biggest foreign deal of the day. It received a Dh1.5 billion contract for the procurement of a multi-mission ship.

The UAE Armed Forces signed deals worth Dh20.95 billion during the five-day event in 2021.

This year's Idex involves 65 countries, up 10 per cent from the previous event in 2021, said Saeed Al Mansoori, chief executive of Capital Events, an arm of Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company

He said nine countries were attending the defence expo for the first time this year — Uzbekistan, Ireland, Nigeria, Montenegro, Kuwait, Lithuania, Bangladesh, Colombia and Monaco.

Idex, which began in Abu Dhabi on Monday, is the Middle East’s largest defence expo. It has drawn industry leaders eager to display their latest military technology, from drones to armoured vehicles.

Major international companies, such as Boeing, Raytheon Technologies, Lockheed Martin, France’s Thales, the Naval Group and Saudi Arabian Military Industries, are among those participating.

Kalashnikov Concern — the largest Russian manufacturer of small arms, guided artillery shells and high-precision weapons — is displaying its AK-15 rifles among dozens of other products.

Al Yah Satellite Communications, better known as Yahsat, and Sweden's Saad are also taking part.

Defence companies use Idex as a platform to show their wares and all eyes will be on UAE conglomerate Edge, which on Monday unveiled 11 products and systems.

Set up in 2019, Edge specialises in building advanced technology for weapons systems, cyber protection and electronic warfare, with more than 25 companies under its umbrella.

Ahead of Idex, Edge said it acquired a majority stake in Estonia's Milrem Robotics to develop capabilities in robotics and autonomous systems in line with the UAE's expanding manufacturing sector.

Edge's expansion is in line with the UAE's Operation 300bn strategy, which seeks to increase the contribution of the local industrial sector to the country's gross domestic product to Dh300 billion by 2031, from Dh133 billion in 2021.

In June, the UAE's Ministry of industry and Advanced Technology, the Emirates Development Bank (EDB) and Edge Group signed an agreement to boost manufacturing in the defence sector.

Tallinn-based Milrem Robotics — which specialises in the development of intelligent unmanned ground vehicles, robotic warfare, concept of operations and warfare analysis — will become a new entity under Edge's platforms and systems cluster.

Updated: February 21, 2023, 7:10 AM