Arms deals worth Dh4.41 billion were struck on the first day of Idex, amid hopes of beating the Dh18.3bn achieved two years earlier.
“We aspire that deals will rise to reach Dh20bn [by the end of Idex],” said Brigadier General Rashid Al Shamsi, the official spokesman for the International Defence Exhibition and Conference.
The UAE’s armoured vehicle maker Nimr Automotive, which is being integrated into the Abu Dhabi-owned Emirates Defence Industries Company (Edic), won the biggest contract, a Dh2.42bn deal to supply 400 8x8 armoured vehicles to the UAE Armed Forces.
Twenty-one companies won deals, with the lion’s share going to 15 UAE companies, including Abu Dhabi’s International Golden Group.
Edic, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi fund Mubadala Development Company and Abu Dhabi-owned Tawazun Holding that will comprise 15 companies by the end of the year, unveiled a Rapid Intervention Vehicle (RIV) by Nimr.
About 125 local companies have the biggest wing in the 13th edition of the five-day biennial exhibition, which is being held alongside the fourth edition of Naval Defence Exhibition (Navdex).
The biggest exhibiting company is Edic.
A total of 1,235 companies including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Russia’s Rostec are taking part, a 3 per cent increase on 2015. The number of participating countries has increased by 10 per cent to 57.
More than 100,000 visitors are expected to descend on the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec), with the size of the event having expanded by 5 per cent to more than 53,500 square metres.
The last edition in 2015 attracted more than 100,000 visitors.
The UAE Navy meanwhile awarded Raytheon of the US a multimillion-dollar deal for an undisclosed number of Rolling Airframe Missiles Block 2, which will used to protect the Baynunah-class corvettes.
The corvettes are used for surveillance, interception, coastal patrol, helicopter operations and other security missions.
Follow The National's Business section on Twitter