Initial Focus on USVs and EO/IR Sensors
The defence industries of Israel and the United Arab Emirates have been quick to embrace the opportunities provided by normalisation of relations between the two countries, following the August 2020 Abraham Accords, and firms have been using the Dubai Airshow this week to announce new strategic partnerships.
EDGE Group, the conglomerate made up of more than 20 UAE-based advanced technology firms, signed two MoUs with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) on 18 November at the airshow. One will see the two entities collaborating on a series of new 17m unmanned surface vessels (USV), with the ADSB shipyard the EDGE entity leading the work; the other will establish a maintenance centre in the UAE for a selection of ’ (IAI) advanced optronics systems and surveillance payloads, from which the systems will be marketed locally. No timescales, contract values or potential end-users have been specified for either project.
Faisal Al Bannai, EDGE Group’s CEO and Managing Director, explained “It is an important milestone for EDGE to forge collaborations with leading defence players such as IAI to strengthen our advanced technology portfolio. Through this strategic alliance, we can ensure optimal autonomous operational solutions that minimise risk to human life, address key challenges for various industries, and enable a secure future for all. These developments will open many doors for us in local and global markets, military and commercial alike.”
Boaz Levy, IAI’s CEO, commenting on both agreements, also highlighted the opportunities afforded by the partnership. “Localization and cooperation are central and critical to our UAE strategy’s success. [The shipbuilding] MoU brings together the best technological knowhow from both companies – EDGE Group’s and ADBS’ naval and commercial vessel expertise, and IAI’s expertise in autonomous systems, robotics, and artificial intelligence – for a joint ‘Made in UAE’ effort, maximizing both companies business opportunities and growth.”