Tawazun Holding and Denel, South Africa's largest defence manufacturer, signed a joint venture yesterday to build the Middle East's first facility capable of making guided weapons systems.
The joint venture will be known as Tawazun Dynamics and be owned 51 per cent by Tawazun Holding and 49 per cent by Denel. Its new plant will be built at the Tawazun Industrial Park in Al Ajban, on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.
It will manufacture, assemble and integrate guidance systems for attaching to conventional air munitions, transforming them into precision-guided weapons. Details of the specific product systems the facility will deliver will be announced at the start of next year.
The first customer for the initial system will be the UAE Air Force, as well as "other international clients".
"The creation of Tawazun Dynamics marks the next chapter of Tawazun's continued focus on the development and diversification of the UAE's industrial base," said Saif Mohamed Al Hajeri, the chief executive of Tawazun Holding.
"To achieve this, it is important for us to work with recognised technology and product leaders in partnerships that capitalise on our relative strengths," he said.
"We believe that Denel, with its history of successful products that focus on innovation and operational excellence, corporate governance and cultural values, matches our own ambitions and that our partnership will be a long-term and mutually beneficial one."
The new entity will result in the creation of an undisclosed number of technical jobs in Abu Dhabi. Denel, which is owned by the South African government, has already overseen the training of the first set of UAE nationals who will work at Tawazun Dynamics.
"With its investments in industrial knowledge-building and its location at the crossroads of East and West, the UAE is poised to become a leader in defence engineering and manufacturing," said Riaz Salojee, the Denel Group chief executive.
"We believe that, in Tawazun, Denel has found the right partner through which to further expand our strategic footprint, internationally exploit and expand our products and systems and cement our commitment to the Middle East region."
Tawazun Holding is a strategic investment firm focused on the long-term development of the UAE's industrial manufacturing and technology capabilities and knowledge-transfer with a specific focus on the defence sector. It was established in 2007 as a fully owned subsidiary of the Tawazun Economic Council.
It's mission is to develop profitable ventures through industrial partnerships and strategic investments that add to the country's industrial manufacturing layer in the areas of defence, defence manufacturing and manufacturing technology.
Denel is a leader in advanced systems engineering technology for tactical missiles, precision-guided weapons, unmanned aerial vehicle systems, integrated air defence and related technology solutions.