The United Arab Emirates has opened its International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi, attracting defense companies from around the world.
On the first day of the military exhibition, the Emirati armed forces announced AED4.97 billion ($1.35 billion) in contracts signed with foreign and domestic firms, followed by AED7 billion ($1.91 billion) in contracts on the second day. The bulk of these contracts have gone to international companies – such as an AED5.7 billion contract with Raytheon to provide missile launchers – but around AED2.5 billion ($680.59 million) has gone to local defense firms, like the International Golden Group (IGG), demonstrating the rising potential of the Emirati defense industry to meet the armed forces’ needs.
UAE daily The National referenced IDEX planners as saying earlier in the month that the total number of contracts awarded at IDEX 2019 will exceed the AED19.7 billion ($5.36 billion) awarded at IDEX 2017.
The UAE is particularly targeting air defense. The country is purchasing further Patriot missiles from Raytheon and is in talks with Lockheed Martin and other contractors on the Falcon air defense system to replace the military’s Hawks.
In addition, the Emirati military is also looking to upgrade its Pantsir-S1s, purchased from Russia in the past. Rosoboronexport CEO Alexander Mikheev told reporters, “The Emirates is successfully operating the Pantsir-S1 missile system, and we received a request on a further modernization program. The work experience of Russian systems, including this system, has shown its high effectiveness.”
The UAE is also purchasing Russia’s Kornet-E anti-tank guided missile system, under an AED147 million ($40 million) contract.
Besides missile systems, the UAE has ordered Paramount Group’s Mbombe 4. Four of these vehicles were ordered at a cost of $2.7 million; presumably, if the vehicles meet Emirati needs, further purchases could be made in the future. Paramount Group has worked with customers to establish production lines in their countries and a similar contract is possible with the UAE on the Mbombe 4.