Tawazun plans four new regional centres to further boost the UAE’s defence industry

The initiatives include a missile engineering facility and a flight training hub in the capital

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - October 31st, 2017: Tawazun Economic Council celebrating its silver jubilee. Tuesday, October 31st, 2017 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition centre, Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Tawazun Economic Council unveiled plans to open four new defence centres on Saturday including a missile engineering facility and a flight training hub in Abu Dhabi.

Tawazun, the body set up to promote the localisation of the UAE’s defence industry, said the deals will be signed at the Dubai Airshow this week, bringing the total number of projects under the Tawazun Economic Programme — which creates additional economic value from the country’s extensive defence procurement activities — to nine since February.

“A key objective of the programme is to identify gaps and support the ecosystem by promoting investments and projects across the defence and security sector,” said Matar Al Romaithi, chief economic development officer at Tawazun Economic Council. “We anticipate robust capability growth from these agreements, which in turn, will greatly benefit our economy, military and industry.”

The latest initiatives include an agreement with MBDA, a French missile manufacturer, to set up the company's first missile engineering centre in the region. The centre will establish expertise in the development and engineering of weapon systems, according to Tawazun.
The Council also unveiled an agreement between Italy's aerospace and defence giant, Leonardo, and Abu Dhabi Aviation Training Centre for the latter to house the AW169 and AW139 pilot training simulators.
The simulators will offer cost-effective training within the UAE, eliminating the need for training abroad.

A collaboration with Dassault Aviation, a French aerospace manufacturer, will establish a Flight Testing Centre in Abu Dhabi.

Tawazun said the facility will contribute towards the development of technology, human capabilities and talent in the UAE and “will play a pivotal role in laying the foundation for future programmes of flight-testing in the region”.

Finally a deal with EDIC Bayanat, a mapping specialist, will develop data fusion capabilities in the UAE.

Tawazun is ramping up efforts to advance the sector as part of Abu Dhabi’s plans to boost the contribution of the non-oil economy to its gross domestic product.

Earlier this month Tawazun's Strategic Development Fund launched a Dh700 million programme in partnership with local banks to finance UAE-based small and medium-sized defence companies as the country strives to build the industry. The Venture Debt Programme will provide local security and defence SMEs with loans at attractive rates and low collateral to help companies expand operations and develop capabilities.