Idex 2023: UAE signs military contracts worth $735m on fourth day

UAE Armed Forces procurement arm awards 10 deals on Thursday

Dubai Police drills at Navdex 2023 in Abu Dhabi. Victor Besa / The National
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The Tawazun Council awarded contracts worth Dh2.7 billion ($735 million) on the fourth day of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi, with local companies landing most deals.

The procurement arm of the UAE Armed Forces and Abu Dhabi Police signed 10 contracts, of which four deals worth Dh1.5 billion were awarded to international companies, Zayed Al Meraikhi, the council's spokesman, said on Thursday.

Local companies won six contracts worth Dh1.2 billion.

Among the local companies awarded contracts was Norinco, through International Golden Group, to provide the AR3 multiple-launch rocket system, rockets and in-country services for Dh902 million.

Other UAE companies to secure contracts include Earth, a division of Edge Group, which clinched a deal valued at Dh91 million to supply thermal cameras for guns.

International Golden Group secured another deal, to provide vessel communication systems with technical support services and logistics services, worth Dh24 million.

Among international companies, European missile maker MBDA won a deal to procure Mica missiles for Dh1.26 billion. Mica is a multi-mission air-to-missile system that is in service with the French Air Force and Navy and several foreign forces, according to MBDA's website.

The UAE also signed a contract with Colorado-based Kaman Precision Products to procure ammunition fuses for Dh165 million, while Harris International will provide technical and training services on C4I systems for Dh79 million. Italy's Leonardo secured an order to procure C4I system spare parts for Dh36 million.

The UAE Armed Forces and Abu Dhabi Police signed deals worth Dh21.14 billion in the first four days of Idex, organisers said.

Gulf states such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia are developing their military production capabilities to reduce reliance on foreign suppliers.

The move is intended to diversify economies away from the oil sector, create more jobs for citizens and attract highly-skilled employees.

The transfer of advanced technology and technical know-how from international partners to local companies will become part of offset and procurement regulations and are likely to be reflected in deals signed at Idex, industry analysts said.

The largest defence spenders in the GCC, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have "considerable defence-industrial ambitions", so higher government revenues from a rally in oil prices may enable them to make investments in defence-related research and development to bolster domestic production capabilities, Fenella McGerty, a senior fellow for defence economics at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said in a blog post.

Updated: February 23, 2023, 1:39 PM