Idex 2023: UAE's military deals on last day boost total contract value to $6.35bn

The fifth day of the defence exhibition recorded the signing of 12 contracts worth $599 million

Idex 2023 ended on Friday with the Tawazun Council signing deals worth billions of dirhams. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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The Tawazun Council awarded contracts worth Dh2.2 billion ($599 million) on the last day of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi, the Middle East’s largest event of its kind, boosting the total value of deals agreed over the last five days to Dh23.34 billion.

The procurement arm of the UAE Armed Forces and Abu Dhabi Police signed 12 contracts, of which seven deals worth Dh1.6 billion were awarded to local companies, Zayed Al Meraikhi, the council's spokesman, said on Friday.

The five contracts won by International companies were worth a total of Dh653 million.

Among the local companies awarded contracts was ESE to procure ammunition worth Dh799 million.

Other UAE companies to secure contracts include Etimad Strategic Security Solutions, which clinched a deal valued at Dh612 million to provide technical support for border security systems.

Among international companies, European missile maker MBDA won a deal to procure data link equipment for Dh198 million.

The council also signed a contract with China-based CETC International to procure and install telecoms systems, also for Dh198 million, while Swedish defence company Saab will provide maintenance services on the Globaleye 6000 airborne early warning and control platform for Dh108 million.

“The total value of deals in the last five days was 12 per cent higher than the previous edition, which indicates the continued support of UAE leadership to security forces and Abu Dhabi Police,” Ahmed Al Harmoodi, sector chief of acquisition management at Tawazun Council, said.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Ship Building, an Edge Group entity, signed an agreement with Italian company Elettronica for the supply of electronic warfare systems for the BR71 MKII corvettes that will be built for the Angolan Navy.

“Renewing a historical strategic co-operation between ADSB and Elettronica, this partnership aims to provide to our client the proven sophisticated electronic warfare technology which will contribute to enhance the capability of the vessels to the maximum standard,” David Massey, chief executive of ADSB, said.

Firefighting and rescue services provider Jaheziya, another Edge unit, is partnering with UK-based Evolution XR to develop a provision of virtual and augmented reality emergency response training solutions for the GCC.

The immersive training programmes will allow learners to execute relevant emergency scenarios, ranging from minor to major at each incident stage, the company said on Friday.

Overall, Edge signed new contracts and deals worth Dh18.6 billion at Idex, of which Dh4 billion was in international export deals.

It also launched 14 new products at the event, including 11 autonomous and unmanned products and solutions.

The company also signed more than 20 agreements and joint ventures with several major industry players including Raytheon Emirates, Icomm, John Cockerill, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, HAL, L3Harris, and Fincantieri.

In a separate announcement on Friday, Saab said it signed a framework agreement with a government of a Western country and received orders within the agreement for a number of defence systems.

The total order value is about 8 billion Swedish crowns ($767 million) with deliveries planned between 2023 and 2026, according to the company.

Local opportunities

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.

On Friday, the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology held a joint round-table gathering of government entities, industrial companies and experts to discuss opportunities in the defence sector.

The meeting focused on the diversity of defence and space industries in the UAE, as well as on existing co-operation between national agencies, and incentives provided by Tawazun Industrial Park, the ministry said.

“The UAE has become a launch pad for many industrial companies and the country has strengthened its position as one of the main defence manufacturers and exporters in the region,” Omar Al Suwaidi, undersecretary of the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, said.

“The sector is witnessing significant growth opportunities. Defence spending in the UAE is set to increase to more than $5 billion annually over the next five years.”

Updated: February 24, 2023, 2:10 PM