Idex 2023: Eight local firms secure deals as UAE signs military contracts worth $2.2bn

They were among 12 contracts awarded by Armed Forces procurement arm on Tuesday

The Leclerc main battle tank at the Nexter stand at Idex 2023 in Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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The Tawazun Council awarded contracts worth Dh8.14 billion ($2.2 billion) on the second day of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex), with a majority of deals going to local companies.

The procurement arm of the UAE Armed Forces, which signed a total of 12 contracts, awarded eight deals worth Dh7.6 billion to local companies, while international companies won four contracts worth Dh543 million, Zayed Al Meraikhi, the council's spokesman, said on Tuesday.

Among the local companies that won contracts was Abu Dhabi-based munitions maker Halcon, which clinched a deal valued at Dh4.7 billion to procure a Desert Sting P5 system. The company also signed a deal worth Dh1.1 billion to deliver Hunter 2-S (swarming), Hunter 5 and Hunter 10 loitering munitions to the UAE Armed Forces.

Edge subsidiary Adasi got a contract worth Dh1.33 billion to procure Shadow system.

Other UAE-based companies that secured deals included Abu Dhabi Ship Building to procure rescue boats for Dh175 million.

Among international companies, France's Thales Six was awarded a Dh316 million deal to develop and support ground station radio, while Germany's Rheinmetall will provide technical support for engagement simulation in a deal worth Dh57 million.

The UAE Armed Forces signed deals worth Dh12.6 billion in the first two days of Idex, the organisers said.

The UAE's procurement programme aims to fulfil the needs of the defence sector, with local companies proving their competencies, Mr Al Meraikhi said.

This year's Idex recorded a 50 per cent rise in companies' participation, with 1,353 exhibitors this year, “showing the importance of Idex after relief from Covid and industries coming back,” said Saeed Al Mansoori, chief executive of Capital Events, the events and exhibition arm of Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company.

Visitors inspect an Altug 8x8 APC Armoured personnel carrier at Idex 2023 in Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National.

Idex, which began in Abu Dhabi on Monday, is the Middle East’s largest defence expo. It has drawn industry leaders eager to showcase their latest 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 at the show.

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 products.

On Tuesday, UAE defence conglomerate Edge and BAE Systems signed an initial pact to explore potential collaboration opportunities to improve technologies and capabilities in the UAE. The companies will bring their expertise in cyber, maritime, air, and defence technologies to support the UAE’s defence industrialisation ambitions.

Edge also signed a preliminary agreement with India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to explore co-operation in areas including the joint design and development of missile systems and unmanned aerial vehicles, the company said on Tuesday.

Edge's Caracal, a small arms manufacturer, signed a partnership licensing agreement with India-based Icomm, a maker of missile and subsystems, communications systems, UAVs, electro-optics, shelters, composites and counter-drones.

Under the agreement, Icomm will team up with Caracal to develop a portfolio of locally manufactured small arms for the Indian market, according to a statement by Edge. The partnership marks the first transfer of technology in small arms from the UAE to India, it said.

On Tuesday, US defence giant Lockheed Martin said it will go into partnership with four GCC-based companies to provide instrumentation, calibration and repair services for its aircraft ground support equipment. Edge's Al Taif, Mohamed Abdulrahman Al Bahar, ArabCal, and TLD MEAI will help improve sustainment operations in the region by reducing turnaround times and costs for the US military and its allies operating in the Gulf, as part of Lockheed Martin’s Product Support Provider Network.

Italy's state-controlled defence group Leonardo and UAE's Khalifa University of Science and Technology said they had concluded the training of seven university experts in Genoa so they can become teachers at the new Khalifa University Cyber Security Academy.

The academy, at Khalifa University’s Main Campus in Abu Dhabi, will offer, starting from second half of 2023, complete certification and training programmes in English and Arabic, as well as special training initiatives designed to meet the needs of UAE organisations, they said on Tuesday in a joint statement.

Updated: February 21, 2023, 2:16 PM