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IDEX/NAVDEX Preview                                                                      MT 12/2018 · 39

            the UAE has been able to attract significant investment and technology   A new weapon was required for the MIRAGE (and for the planned F-16
            transfer from a range of companies from outside the country.  purchase) because the USA was unwilling to integrate longer range stand-
                                                                  off weapons on aircraft that it supplied to certain Arab nations, to avoid
            External Partners                                     upsetting Israeli sensitivities.
                                                                    The AL HAKIM was developed in the early 1980s by Ferranti (subse-
              The AMMROC originated as a 2010 Joint Venture between Mubadala,   quently taken over by GEC-Marconi Dynamics which, in turn, became part
            Lockheed Martin, and Sikorsky, and Lockheed Martin has also partnered   of MBDA) with Emirati funding, and is a modular weapon with two warhead
            with Khalifa University to launch the Centre for Innovation and Security   weights (500lbs and 2,000lbs) and a variety of guidance systems, inclu-
            Solutions in Masdar City in 2014. The centre is a high-tech,   re-configurable   ding imaging IR, TV guidance, and semi-active laser homing.
            collaboration space that allows the creation of enduring partnerships   The AL HAKIM is fitted with a solid fuel booster rocket giving it a
              between Lockheed Martin and its colleagues and customers in the UAE   stand-off range of 15km from a low-altitude release, up to 30km from a
            and the wider Gulf region.                              medium-altitude release and up to 50km from a high-altitude release.
              Lockheed Martin has described the centre as representing a new   In 2003, the UAE took delivery of 32 further MIRAGE 2000-9 aircraft, an-
            model for driving innovation and collaboration across industry, govern-  other unique-to-UAE variant which again represented the most advanced
            ment, and academia, while helping Khalifa University to teach the skills   version of the aircraft produced to date, with a suite of new weapons, sys-
            that will be critical to developing the next generation of scientists and   tems and capabilities. The aircraft were fitted with a new EW and counter-
            innovators.                                           measures system, new navigation and targeting pods and were equipped
              The centre can be used for a wide range of activities, including scenario   to carry the BLACK SHAHEEN cruise missile, a variant of the APACJE/
            development, advanced flight simulation, and virtual training. In November   KEPD 350/STORM SHADOW, as well as AL HAKIM and other weapons.
            2015, it hosted a Cyber-Security Challenge during which four UAE uni-  30 survivors of the earlier batch were upgraded to the same standards.
            versities competed in a day-long exercise to defend against a simulated   It was a similar story when the UAE selected the F-16, since the existing
            cyber-attack on an oil and gas operator.              USAF variants did not meet the Emiratis’ ambitious requirements.
              In March 2016, Boeing and the Mubadala Development Company an-  Instead, the UAE invested around U$3 billion, commissioning General
            nounced a new five-year strategic agreement for collaboration on R&D   Dynamics to develop the F-16 E/F Block 60 DESERT FALCON. This proved
            initiatives to further expand aerospace manufacturing capabilities in   to be the most advanced F-16 ever built, considerably in advance of the
            the UAE. Boeing will join the ARIC at Khalifa University and the Masdar   latest US versions of the aircraft. It was fitted with Northrop Grumman’s
            Institute of Science and Technology, and will participate in research in the   AN/APG-80 AESA radar (the first F-16 to be so-equipped, and the first
            areas of robotics and aircraft assembly.              AESA for a non-US air force), and also featured the Northrop Grumman
              BAE  Systems  has  forged  close  links  with  the  Abu  Dhabi  Education   AN/ASQ-32 IFTS, a repackaged internally fitted derivative of the normally
            Council (ADEC), and in 2016 began a five-year internship programme with   podded AN/AQS-28 LITENING targeting system.
            the Mubadala Development Company, aimed at providing young Emiratis   The F-16E/F entered service in 2005, and has subsequently been up-
            with world-class technical and engineering skills, including the integration   graded to carry the AIM-9X air to air missile and the DB-110 reconnais-
            of a robotics system for manufacturing tasks and the deployment of aug-  sance pod. The UAE is still a demanding customer, and when it was eval-
            mented reality technologies.                          uating new fighters, none of the aircraft it looked at could be simple, off
                                                                  the shelf variants of existing aircraft. The Emiratis wanted major changes
            Internal Innovation Demand                            to both the RAFALE and the TYPHOON, and any Emirati versions of these
                                                                  aircraft would have been significantly more advanced than home market
              But innovation in the UAE is not just a matter of ‘push factors’ – of   variants.
              local (and international) industry and agencies providing new technologies   Beyond fighter aircraft, the AFAD has invested heavily in innovative air
            and infrastructure – the Emirati military customer also exerts considera-  power capabilities, exemplified by its acquisition of interim Saab ERIEYE
            ble ‘pull’, demanding new capabilities that can only be provided through   and ‘definitive’ GLOBALEYE AEW&C systems, and by its procurement
            innovation.                                           of new aircraft for Special Forces support, including IOMAX AT802 and
              The UAE Air Force and Air Defence (AFAD) in particular is a demanding   ARCHANGEL  light  attack  aircraft,  and  weaponised  Cessna  CARAVANs
            and sophisticated customer. Despite its relatively small size, the air force is   and Northstar 407 helicopters.
            one of the world’s most respected air arms, a full-spectrum force enjoying
            a balanced and wide-ranging mix of capabilities, with global reach and   Indigenous Capability Development
            considerable combat experience.
              The AFAD has always demanded the best and most advanced equip-  As part of its plans for a post-oil economy push, the UAE is focused
            ment, frequently specifying advanced and highly customised derivatives of   on building a local manufacturing base (similar to India’s “Make in India”
            new fighter aircraft (for example), with previously unavailable capabilities.  programme) to decrease its dependence on Western arms manufac  turers.
              The UAE’s first purchase of 36 Dassault MIRAGE 2000 included eight   In  November  2015,  President  Sheikh  Khalifa  bin  Zayed  Al  Nahyan  an-
            unique single-seat reconnaissance variants and all aircraft were fitted   nounced plans to invest more than Dh300 billion (of which Dh40 billion will
            with a new Italian-made defensive avionics suite whose integration de-  be allocated to aviation research and Dh20 billion to the nascent space
            layed aircraft deliveries until 1989 and which made the Emirati MIRAGE   industry) to foster a knowledge economy and innovation, and prepare the
            the most advanced versions of the aircraft delivered up to that point. They   country for a world after oil. “The UAE is working towards establishing a
            were armed with the MBDA AL HAKIM family of precision-guided muni-  solid future for coming generations away from the fluctuation of energy
            tion, which were themselves developed specifically to meet a demanding   prices and markets,” said Sheikh Khalifa. “Creating sustainable wealth for
            Emirati requirement.                                  the coming generation will depend on science, knowledge, technology and
                                                                  innovation. The policy adopted today is a turning point in our journey to
                                                                  develop the UAE economically and socially.”
                    Roketsan’s CIRIT laser-guided rocket is operational   In 2014, the UAE revamped its local defence industry and created
                    on the UAE’s fleet of ARCHANGEL border partol aircraft,   EDIC, comprising  over  a  dozen  local,  government-owned  defence  and
                    seen here at Dubai Airshow 2015’s static display.   aerospace companies (Tawazun Dynamics, NIMR Automotive, and Thales
                    (Photo: AI)                                   Advanced Solutions among others) in a goal to be more self-reliant.
                                                                    To that end, the Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Technology Innovation
                                                                  Centre (ETIC) announced in July 2016 that it had tested an indigenous-
                                                                  ly designed and developed radar system that can detect hostile aircraft
                                                                  and missiles. While the status of the project remains unclear, the company
                                                                  recently revealed that, in addition to developing radars, it is also manu-
                                                                  facturing armed drones on a par with western UAV, naval vessels, missile
                                                                  boats and other military hardware. According to the Khaleej Times, ETIC is
                                                                  also working on several other projects, including installing an antenna on a
                                                                  drone to jam electronic signals in a specific area. The company is already
                                                                  in an advanced stage of developing a drone which can monitor moving
                                                                  vehicles in an area as large as four square kilometres, the report added.
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