Idex 2015: Emirates Defense Technology puts prototype of 8x8 armoured vehicle on show
The Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Defense Technology (EDT) is targeting sales of its new 8x8 armoured vehicle to armed forces in the UAE and the wider region after trials this summer, said the company’s chief executive, Mohamed Al Suwaidi.
The prototype of Enigma, as the firm’s 8x8 armoured vehicle is called, was unveiled yesterday by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, at the International Defence and Security Exhibition (Idex), which is taking place in the capital all this week.
EDT – a privately held, Emirati-owned defence contractor and manufacturer – is the first firm to design an 8x8 armoured vehicle in the UAE.
“Obviously our prime focus is the UAE, but from the get-go we have always looked at how it is exportable, how will it meet the requirements of other armies,” said Mr Al Suwaidi. “We are completely open for other markets that would be interested.”
EDT, which financed the vehicle’s production, plans to send the Enigma prototype for summer trials with the UAE military, after which it will start manufacturing the vehicle in the Musaffah industrial area. It took the company two years to build the prototype after it was given the go-ahead from Sheikh Mohammed at Idex two years ago.
The Enigma is designed to be compatible with a variety of weapons systems, including a variant of the M777 howitzer.
“We want to build this vehicle specially for our military, especially for their requirements and build it exactly around what they want, as opposed to something off the shelf being built by someone,” said Mr Al Suwaidi.
This is not the first time that EDT has manufactured armoured vehicles in the UAE. They were the original manufacturers of the NIMR 4x4 and 6x6 armoured vehicles.
The firm is talking to defence companies to manufacture the weapons to be mounted on top of the Enigma.
“You can change the weapon system on top. We have manufacturing licence agreements with different companies to design, develop and manufacture the armour here in the UAE as a UAE product,” said Mr Al Suwaidi, without naming the companies.
The firm, which started off as a military contractor and is currently also a supplier to the UAE military, has big ambitions.
“EDT will have a good mix between both design development and engineering, and trading,” said Mr Al Suwaidi. “Design, development and engineering is going to be our major focus because I believe the future of this country will depend on having a high-tech service/system integrations focus.
“It is a knowledge-based industry and that is what we want to focus on, as opposed to hiring hundreds of labourers to come and manufacture. With innovation and a good-quality product comes profits.”
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Updated: February 22, 2015 04:00 AM