Billion-dollar deals signed at the UAE’s IDEX 2019

Tuesday 19/02/2019
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan attends the International Defence Exhibition & Conference in Abu Dhabi, February 17. (Reuters)
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan attends the International Defence Exhibition & Conference in Abu Dhabi, February 17. (Reuters)

The United Arab Emirates signed arms deals worth approximately $3.3 billion at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) and the Naval Defence and Maritime Security Exhibition (NAVDEX) in Abu Dhabi.

Deals were signed with 57 national and international companies, spokesmen for the exhibition said. Among the international firms was US company Raytheon, which was awarded a $1.6 billion contract to supply rocket launchers to the UAE Air Force.

“The threats in the region are all growing very fast,” Raytheon Emirates Chairman Taylor Lawrence told UAE newspaper the National.

Lawrence said Raytheon’s development of missile defence for the United Arab Emirates was driven by the need for “more security for the people and the fact that ballistic missile threats are proliferating throughout the countries [in this region] and are coming from a lot of different directions.”

Defence spending has been soaring in the Middle East. A report from IHS Jane’s published February 14 said there had been an increase in arms expenditures in the Gulf from $82.3 billion in 2013 to $103 billion in 2019. IHS forecast spending will total $110.8 billion in 2023.

Other US firms that signed deals with the UAE government included Lockheed Martin and Hesco.

UAE media hailed the event as a success because the value of contracts for IDEX and NAVDEX totalled more than $3 billion.

“National companies have reason to rejoice. On day two of IDEX and NAVDEX 2019, national companies received 18 of the 24 deals, while the remaining six were awarded to international companies,” said the Gulf Today in an editorial February 19.

“The event has once again proved to be a unique platform to establish and strengthen relationships with government departments, businesses and armed forces throughout the region.”

Themed “‘Defence for Security and Safety,” the event is organised by the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence and the UAE armed forces.

In the past 25 years, the event has seen the number of exhibitors frequenting IDEX increase fourfold and the number of participating countries rose 250% in the same period.

This year’s exhibitions showcased defence developments featuring technology trends from the Fourth Industrial Revolution, artificial intelligence and the role of technology in advancing the defence sector and relevant industries.