THE INTERNATIONAL DEFENCE EXHIBITION AND CONFERENCE, IDEX, IS THE MOST STRATEGICALLY IMPORTANT TRI-SERVICE DEFENCE EXHIBITION IN THE WORLD.
The bi-annualdefense Expo kicked off today in Abu Dhabi with an impressive show of domestic and international weapon systems and an impressive dynamic demonstration.
The event demonstrated the rapid response of a well equipped military force battling a threat of irregular force.
This scenario is not imaginary in this region.
Many countries are grappling with this situation in recent years – Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Libya. Others – likeand Jordan, succeeded to push it back beyond their borders.
Held under the patronage of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces,2017 is held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, where 1,235 companies show the latest defense hardware they can offer.
Besides, 125 naval defense companies are participating in the NAVDEX maritime event co-located with IDEX.
The biggest participation is from local companies, which show a 17 percent increase from 2015.
The largest exhibitor is the Emirates Defence Industries Company, EDIC, a joint venture between Mubadala Development and Tawazun Holding.
Video courtesy of ArmyRecognition
At the epicenter of world’s conflicts, and with endless financial resources to support defense acquisition, the Gulf States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are among the largest military spenders.
While in past years the UAE was a ‘passive customer,’ whose weapon systems were used mainly for parades and exercises since 2011 things have changed as the UAE joined the coalition forces in Libya, and more recently in Yemen.
In the recent years, the military forces of the UAE are gaining combat experience and induct modern equipment to replace older and less capable systems.
The growing military industrial capability in the UAE is part of the emirate’s strategic diversification from oil-dependent industry, by increasing self-sufficiency in military industry, growing the industrial base and developing a knowledge-based economy and skilled workforce.
The UAE forces are fighting alongside Saudi troops in Yemen.
These military forces are becoming experienced in combat against the Houthis – a tough, well equipped Iranian proxy.
This UAE-Saudi coalition suffered significant losses to Houthi missiles – in the air, on the ground, and at sea, and has increasingly fielded improved capabilities, from precision attack to missile defense and heavier armor – to defeat Houthi forces from strongholds they have captured in Yemen.
More Armored Vehicles Bought Locally
The growing needs for weapon systems, and armor protection, by military and security forces, attract many manufacturers of armored vehicles.
Several companies have established here production lines for armored vehicles and others like the Nimr Automotive group has grown to provide combat systems to the UAE military and are currently looking at some European countries for growth.
The Ukrainian arms exporter Ukroboronprom is also present here, promoting new capabilities in military robotics developed in Ukraine.
On the first day of the show, Tawazun unveiled the, a locally designed 8×8 armored vehicle designed to fulfill the requirement of the UAE land forces.
In 2011has been nominated the gatekeeper of a tender to procure hundreds of 8×8 AFVs for the Army. (named after the horse of the prophet Mohamad) is modular platform designed for a gross vehicle weight of 30 tons and can mount various turrets and weapon stations and carry 11 troops offering the high level of protection from mines, IEDs and ballistic threats including anti-tank missiles.
In 2015 the company unveiled the UAE introduced a locally designed 8×8 platform called, that challenged many of the foreign contenders.
The current vehicle – Radban – was designed by the Turkish companyas an amphibious armored infantry vehicle.
It was developed by Al Jasoor, a joint venture between UAE-based Heavy Vehicles Industries, owned by Tawazun Holding (51%), and Otokar UAE, a subsidiary of Turkish company Otokar (49%).
The vehicle will be assembled in Abu Dhabi, at existing manufacturing facilities at the Tawazun Industrial Park.
The $660 million contract represents the largest Turkish defense export on record and one of the largest export orders of combat vehicles reported in recent years.
A contract worth AED 2.4 Billion (about US$660 million) was awarded to, for the procurement of some 700 8×8 APCs.
It was part of a total 4.416 ($1.2 Billion) contracts announced today at the opening of theexpo.
The program Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces attended the rollout ceremony.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Nimr Automotive, another rapidly growing member the EDIC group is a manufacturer of combat vehicles that unveiled here the Rapid Intervention Vehicle (RIV) – the latest member of the Nimr vehicle family.
Nimr Automotive as the original vehicle manufacturer, collaborated with UK-based MIRA, an independent engineering company to develop the RIV in response to requests from the Special Operations community.
For example, the vehicle is equipped with underbody blast protection and modular applique armor packs for ballistic protection, increasing the crew survivability without compromising on mobility.
The RIV can be transported by CH-47 helicopters underslung or inside the chopper. “It addresses a critical mission need for a high-speed, easily transportable vehicle that can quickly respond to tactical situations in remote sites,” said Fahad Saif Harhara, NIMR Automotive’s chief executive.
The RIV is designed “for elite units to successfully carry out covert operations without alerting enemy or insurgent forces.”
He added that the new vehicle provides the company with a competitive edge.
“It addresses a critical mission need for high speed, easily transportable vehicle that can quickly respond to tactical situations in remote sites” he added.
In December 2016 the Armed Forces of the UAE inducted two new vehicle types delivered by Nimr – the Abjan class helicopter-transported special operations vehicle (SOV) and heavily armored Jais (previously N35) mine protected multi-purpose fighting vehicles, in 4×4 and 6×6 configurations.
Days later the N35 was sent to support UAE forces fighting in Yemen.
“The vehicle is a major milestone for Nimr” said Harhara, “It’s the largest vehicle in our range, providing exceptional mobility and protection on the modern battlefield.”
In the past two years, Nimr has witnessed growth through expansion of its capabilities and vehicle range, development of greater production capacity and new strategic global partnerships.
One of these was recently announced with Czech manufacturer VOP CZ, targeting the Eastern-European defense market.
A foreign contender pursuing the sale of special operations vehicles to the UAE is Supacat, showing the new HMT 400 Desert – a new variant of the Jackal at2017.
The vehicle has been configured to fully comply with the UAE Presidential Guard’s requirements for a new special operations vehicle, including tactical CH-47 internal loading, and has undergone successful tactical trials and testing by UAE forces over the summer.
The HMT series, widely known as `Jackal`, has been battle proven in service with various elite special forces worldwide.
HMT 400 Desert has been adapted to enhance performance in the desert’s harsh environment and climatic conditions.
It has no armor, and the lighter gross vehicle mass improves the power-to-weight ratio and increases mobility over deep desert sand.
Further desert features include cooling, a central tire inflation system and lightweight bead locks to enable the vehicle to be operated at the lowest tire pressures.
Supacat has recently demonstrated the flexibility of the HMT series in developing additional variants and conversions to meet wider and emerging requirements.
These include HMT in the Recovery, Logistic Support, and Gun Towing roles as well as a single 4×4 to 6×6 convertible feature.
Innovation From Abroad
Among the innovations introduced at2017 by international players are the unmanned combat vehicle from Ukraine and light reconnaissance/attack aircraft from South Africa.
Theis a 6×6 unmanned tactical multipurpose vehicle developed by the Ukraine-based SpetsTechnoExport (SFTE) company (part of the Ukroboronprom conglomerate).
The unmanned vehicle has a hybrid all-wheel drive, independent suspension and hydraulic brake system to enable high mobility offroad, including on rocks, snow or sand.
The vehicle is remotely controlled from a mobile unit that can remain at a distance up to 10 km away.
The unit can also operate in complete radio silence at ranges up to 5 five kilometers using fiber optical cable.
Thewas displayed for the first time last year, at the Kiev Defense Show and was shown to defense officials in an operational demonstrated December.
The most recent configuration on display at2017 carries a weapon station mounting a 12.7 mm machine gun and three Barrier anti-tank missiles.
Effective at ranges from 100 to 5,000 meters.
Following the successful sales of South African defense products in the Middle East, the South African Paramount Group is planning to expand its activities in the UAE, with the introduction of a new light reconnaissance aircraft –.
This new aircraft is tailored for Middle Eastern operators, blending the speed and maneuverability of fast jets and loitering and attack capabilities of combat helicopters.
Paramount is negotiating sales of Mwari with some customers in the Middle East and is expecting orders over the next 12 months.
According to the chairman Ivor Ichikowitz his company is cooperating withto integrate an advanced mission system for the Mwari.