Idex 2019: UAE Armed Forces sign Dh5bn worth of deals on day one

Raytheon of US and Eos of Australia among those awarded major contracts

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The UAE Armed Forces awarded Dh4.97 billion in contracts on the first day of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex), with the lion’s share of deals going to international companies.

The Armed Forces, which signed 33 contracts in total, awarded International companies 15 contracts worth Dh3.87bn.

Raytheon of the US won a patriot missile defence system contract for the UAE air force valued at Dh1.3bn and Eos of Australia won a Dh1.16bn contract, General Mohammed Al Hassani, Idex spokesman said.

Local companies have won contracts worth Dh1.1bn, he added.

Among the local companies that won contracts are International Golden Group, which clinched two contracts with a total value of Dh342.3 million. Deena Shipping of the UAE also won a Dh99m deal. Other companies securing deals include Emirates Shooting Equipment, Bermuda, Knowledge Point and Emirates General Transport.

The UAE is developing an increasingly sophisticated defence industry in the Emirates, according to a report released on Friday.

It has done so by heavily investing in local companies and strategic partnerships with multinational defence corporations, the study by the US-UAE Business Council said.

“This has begun to bear fruit in the creation of a sizeable local defence industry,” it said.

The Emirates Defence Industries Company and Abu Dhabi-based International Golden Group are prime examples, with the UAE increasingly “turning to these domestic companies when awarding lucrative defence contracts”.

The report also notes several significant developments in the country’s defence strategy since it was last published in 2017.

The value of deals during the five-day event is likely to exceed the Dh19.17bn reached in 2017, Idex organisers said earlier this month.

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

The UAE has 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, organisers said earlier this month.

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

The event takes place amid an increase in military spending by the hydrocarbon-rich countries in the six-member economic bloc of GCC and the wider Middle East and North African region. Military spending as a share of gross domestic product in the Middle East was 5.2 per cent in 2017, the highest among all regions across the globe, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Saudi Arabia led the increase in military spending in 2017, with a 9.2 per cent uptick, according to a report by the institute. Overall Middle East spending climbed 6.2 per cent in 2017.