UAE's Edge to buy Lockheed Martin's stake in military maintenance company Ammroc

Edge is exploring emerging business opportunities with Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky

C130 under maintenance. Courtesy EDGE
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Abu Dhabi's defence conglomerate Edge is acquiring a 40 per cent stake in the UAE's military maintenance company Ammroc from Lockheed Martin and its Sikorsky unit.

Edge, which signed a conditional agreement with the US company and its unit, will completely own Ammroc upon completion of the deal, it said in a statement on Tuesday, without revealing the value of the purchase.

"As Edge assumes full ownership of Ammroc and continues to pursue the military and civil MRO market with specialist skills, we recognise that such achievements are the outcome of our international partnerships," Faisal Al Bannai, chief executive and managing director of the Edge Group, said. "Going forward, we will continue to explore emerging business opportunities with Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky to further strengthen our relationship.”

Gulf countries are increasingly producing and procuring military equipment locally, signalling a shift in the way they do business with international defence companies. Tech-transfers and commitments to produce and buy equipment locally have become key factors in determining which companies secure global arms sales orders from purchasing companies.

There is a rising demand for agreements beyond simple "off-set" arrangements, projects that make weapons deals more attractive, to more complex knowledge-transfers and a slice of the work on weapons programmes to seal deals.

Last November, the UAE announced the creation of Edge, a defence conglomerate specialised in developing advanced technology for weapons systems, cyber protection and electronic warfare.

Total global military expenditure rose 3.6 per cent to $1.917 trillion in 2019, the biggest annual growth in spending in a decade, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The five largest spenders in 2019, who accounted for 62 per cent of expenditure, were the US, China, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia, the Swedish think-tank said in a report in April.