Idex 2019: UAE Armed Forces inks Dh20.5 billion worth of contracts beating previous year

A third of total contracts awarded went to local companies

Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., February 20, 2019. INTERNATIONAL DEFENCE EXHIBITION AND CONFERENCE  2019 (IDEX) Day 4--  Visitors look at the military vehicles at the Saudi Arabia area stands..
Victor Besa/The National
Section:  NA
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The UAE Armed Forces awarded Dh20.5 billion worth of contracts during the five-day International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex), beating figures achieved during the 2017 event.

International defence companies won 65 per cent of total contracts during the event that took place in Abu Dhabi this week, General Mohammed Al Hassani, Idex spokesman, said on Thursday. Local companies won the remainder.

On day five, 14 contracts were signed, split evenly between international and local companies and worth Dh402.8 million. The majority of the value was clinched by international companies, with the biggest contract of Dh129.6m going to Russia’s Joint Stock Company.

The local companies' share of contracts reached Dh135m; major winners included the International Golden Group with a Dh30m contract and Knowledge Point with a Dh60m contract.

The biggest single contract awarded during the event was a Dh5.73bn deal related to the Patriot missile systems manufactured by Raytheon of the US.

Also this week, Tawazun, the body tasked with developing a home-grown defence industry, said its Defense and Security Development Fund and Industrial Park agreed to a new land lease programme worth Dh200m to assist local private small- to medium-sized enterprises in the defence sector through the development of 75,000 square metres of land.

The biennial event taking place in Abu Dhabi attracted a record number of exhibitors and participating countries.

The UAE had the biggest pavilion in terms of space, followed by the US, Germany, France, Italy and Saudi Arabia. The number of participating countries rose 9 per cent to 62, while the number of exhibitors increased six per cent to 1,310, with international companies accounting for 85 per cent of participants.

The single biggest space was occupied by the International Golden Group, which was one of 170 local companies taking part in the exhibition.

Idex takes place amid an increase in military spending by the hydrocarbon-rich countries of the six-member economic bloc of GCC and the wider Middle East and North African region.

The Arabian Gulf's spending on procurement is forecast to grow 15 per cent to $17bn in 2023, as defence budgets expand again following some project delays during the three-year oil price slump that began in 2014, according to a Jane's IHS Markit report.

Overall defence spending by Gulf countries is forecast to increase $110.86bn by 2023 from $103.01bn in 2019 as nations modernise their military equipment and expand capabilities, according to the report.