UAE agrees almost Dh1 billion of deals on opening day of Abu Dhabi's Umex

Sheikh Saif bin Zayed opens annual conference showcasing advances in autonomous aerial technology and artificial intelligence.

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The UAE's Ministry of Defence signed deals worth nearly Dh1 billion on the opening day of a major Abu Dhabi event showcasing advances in autonomous aerial technology and artificial intelligence.

The ministry signed a Dh874m contract with Abu Dhabi-based International Golden Group to purchase unmanned aerial vehicle systems and provide support services and training for five years at the Unmanned Systems Exhibition and Conference (Umex) and Simulation and Training Exhibition (Simtex).

It was one of three major deals made with Abu Dhabi companies at the global gathering, which runs until Thursday.

A Dh10m agreement was struck with Resource Industries to procure anti-drone guns.

The ministry also signed a Dh16m partnership with satellite developer, Yahsat, to provide communication bands.

The key investments were finalised by Tawazun Council, the UAE defence and security acquisitions authority for the Ministry of Defence.

UAE agrees almost Dh1 billion of deals at Unmanned Systems Exhibition

UAE agrees almost Dh1 billion of deals at Unmanned Systems Exhibition

The exhibition was opened by Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.

Sheikh Saif underlined the UAE's commitment to accelerating the growth of the national defence sector, during a tour of the exhibition areas.

He said the UAE was a global leader in the fields of defence and security thanks to its continued investment in pioneering technologies.

Majed Ahmed Al Jaberi, spokesman for the Tawazun Council, said two deals worth a combined Dh72m were completed with international businesses.

These were a Dh49m contract with Canadian Aviation Electronics for training centre simulators and a Dh23m deal with China's CETC International for anti-drone systems.

More than 18,000 people and 200 exhibitors are expected to attend the sixth annual Umex and Simtex event, which is being held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

More than 30 countries from around the globe are taking part, with nations such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Singapore, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Estonia, the Virgin Islands and Czech Republic participating for the first time.

The rise of unmanned systems – a term used to describe pilotless aircraft – both as a cutting-edge tool and a potential threat is high on the agenda for countries shaping defence strategies.

Drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become increasingly common for commercial, military and recreational use in many parts of the world over the past decade.

In 2024 alone, revenue from the unmanned systems industry could hit $4.2 billion, according to Statista, a global data and business intelligence platform.

Humaid Al Dhaheri, managing director and chief executive of Adnec Group, said the success of Umex and Simtex highlighted Abu Dhabi's position as a hub for new technologies and innovation.

“The Umex and Simtex exhibitions provide a platform for companies and institutions to showcase the latest developments in the field of unmanned systems and related technology,” he said.

“They support exchange and collaboration between companies and professionals, in addition to their significant impact in enhancing the UAE's capabilities in the technology field and promoting its position as a major hub for innovation and development.”

Updated: January 24, 2024, 11:50 AM