United Arab Emirates conglomerate EDGE partners with China, US to unveil new local capabilities – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense

A static display of EDGE’s latest locally manufactured QX-5 drone at the Dubai Air Show (Chyrine Mezher)

DUBAI: The first two days of the Dubai Airshow served as a test for the UAE’s ‘Make it in Emirates’ initiative, with UAE-based EDGE Group unveiling key locally produced technologies and announcing new agreements with China and the United States.

EDGE, the biggest a local defense company in the Emirates, has deployed a series of in-house systems that the company says can be quickly put into production.

The first system was the GPS-Protect system, developed by the subsidiary EDGE SIGN4L. It represents the first anti-jamming system produced in the country, designed for integration into unmanned systems, guided weapons vehicles, ships and airplanes.

“The advantage of this system is that it can be used on all platforms, especially non-reusable ones like guided munitions,” said Filip Kostomlatsky, senior program manager at SIGN4L, at Breaking Defense.

The company plans to deliver the first unit to the UAE MOD by the end of this year. “We have already tested the device on precision munitions and GPS guided drones,” Kostomlatsky said. “We will now move on to larger platforms such as airplanes, an easier task given that we have more space to work.” He added that the company planned to “deploy tens of thousands of people over the next three years.”

The system uses a multi-element controlled receive pattern array antenna and provides resistance against one or more interfering signals. It also implements several mitigation methods and specialized digital signal processing algorithms to ensure the continued operation of systems that rely on satellite navigation when GPS jammers or other mechanisms are used to jam or disrupt the signals. satellite.

Switching to unmanned capabilities, the company launched two vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) drones, the QX-5 and QX-6, and the Rash 2H high-precision guided munitions system.

“The unveiling of new additions to the QX and Rash families, with the first prototypes of these lines launching just nine months ago, demonstrates our commitment to quickly bring new products and leading technologies to market,” said Faisal Al Bannai, CEO of EDGE. Group.

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The QX-5 is designed for an extended runtime of 16 hours, with a payload capacity of 25 kg. The QX-6 has an extended payload of 150kg, and depending on the payload configuration, it has a runtime of up to four hours. Both systems are equipped with autopilot and communication systems to perform missions autonomously.

And Halcon, a subsidiary of EDGE, unveiled the Hunter 5 and Hunter 10 tube drones suitable for reconnaissance and attack missions, operating at cruising speeds of 40 and 60 knots respectively. A latest drone unveiled at the Dubai Airshow was the Reach-S, a fixed-wing drone with a takeoff weight of 400 kg and a payload of up to 120 kg.

Halcon CEO Saeed Al Mansoori said the company places a strong emphasis on innovation and sustainability of its product line. “These drones represent the continued commitment to providing customers with the most advanced platforms that meet their evolving critical needs, and we are proud to have the ability to do so from our base right here in the UAE,” did he declare.

Halcon also announced a series of milestones for its SkyKnight air defense missile system, including the completion of the system’s naval missile concept design. A design and prototype of a SkyKnight naval launcher were on display at the show.

Returning to IDEX 2021, the UAE announced that it will provide its first indigenous rocket, artillery and mortar (C-RAM) missile system to Rheinmetall’s Oerlikon Skynex air defense system.

“The program is in the process of being developed over the next 4-5 years,” said Wim Strydom, Halcon’s COO at Breaking Defense. “We plan to introduce the SkyKnight into the larger Skynex system over the next 10 years.”

Although the main initiative of the company is to support national air forces and air defense units, it seeks to “establish a relationship with the United Arab Emirates Navy to see how it wishes to apply the SkyKnight in its environment,” a Strydom said.

Halcon also won a US $ 880 million contract with the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces for its Thunder and Desert Sting range of precision guided munitions, “a significant global advance for this type of weapon system. Said Saeed Al Mansoori, CEO of Halcon.

“It is with a great sense of responsibility to have been entrusted with this undertaking that we move forward with the certainty that the performance of our systems will fully justify the confidence of the United Arab Emirates armed forces in us”, he declared.

LAHAB, a sister company of EDGE, will be responsible for filling the Desert Sting warhead manufactured at Halcon’s production facility in Abu Dhabi.

China enters the arena

As remarkable as the technology is, perhaps the most important announcement of EDGE’s first day was that of its subsidiary GAL, which announced the opening of the first regional distribution center for aircraft logistics in Abu Dhabi with the Chinese state-backed defense contractor, China National Aero-Technology. Import and export company (CATIC).

Any deal between the United Arab Emirates, a longtime close partner of the United States, and the United Arab Emirates will raise eyebrows, given the competition between the two superpowers. Specifically, it comes at a time when UAE officials say the United States is pressuring them to sever ties with Chinese tech company Huawei or risk losing the F-35.

When asked what types of planes will be serviced here, the company declined to comment. “We look forward to serving customers in the region and helping with a faster delivery time for regional aircraft needs,” a spokesperson told me.

The new distribution center for the Middle East and Africa will improve the availability of aircraft spare parts in the United Arab Emirates and the MENA region. “We understand the challenges of distributing spare parts in the region,” Khalid Al Breiki, president of mission support and managing director of GAL, told Breaking Defense.

“The warehouse will dramatically improve access to these essentials, increase productivity and reduce the complicated logistics that arise when coordinating with international suppliers,” he added.

It will also increase speed and simplify component distribution for aircraft built by the OEM.

The 1,440 square meter facility, located at ADAFZ near Abu Dhabi International Airport, is expected to reduce the delivery time for aircraft spare parts from weeks to less than 48 hours.

“By extension, with spare parts positioned in the Middle East, repair times on aircraft can often be reduced from a few months to a few weeks,” added Al Breiki. “Customers not only save costs by avoiding maintaining their own expensive inventory of spare parts, but they will also save time by avoiding significant delays when sourcing spare parts from a company’s home country. OEM. “

GAL is also working to further capitalize on all of the repository-level capabilities that AMMROC, an EDGE entity, has developed in Al Ain over the past few years. “We are very excited about our collaborative efforts with AMMROC to support the development of additional capabilities, while maximizing our use of their existing advanced MRO capabilities,” he said.

GAL also won a three-year AED 11 billion performance-based logistics contract to provide UAE Air Force and Air Defense with maintenance, repair, overhaul services. and support.

Speaking to Noora Mohammad Belselah, project manager at GAL, she said the deal will put the company on the international map. “This allows us to provide services to clients outside of the GCC region. I see GAL developing first in the African region.

The PBL agreement enables military customers to search for aeronautical MRO services organized on a cost per flight hour model and facilitates continuous improvements.

Back to the roots

EDGE also announced new agreements with two large US companies, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

EDGE announced an agreement with its subsidiary Earth and Lockheed covering repair and maintenance services for modernized targeting and designation systems (M-TADS). Under the agreement, the two entities will explore ways to locate critical aspects of sustainment of the AH-64 Apache helicopters flown by the United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command.

The move, said Omar Al Zaabi, senior vice president responsible for program acquisition at EDGE, is “another example of how the two companies are using their capabilities and leveraging cutting-edge technologies to provide support for higher level repair and maintenance for the M-TADS Systems of the Apache Fleet of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces.

The group also signed a memorandum of understanding with Raytheon Emirates to expand collaboration for the development in the country of equipment and technologies supporting Raytheon’s Early Warning Radar System (EWRS). “This partnership lays the groundwork for additional work-sharing agreements on EWR and several major defense programs,” a spokesperson for Raytheon Emirates told Breaking Defense.

The agreement will allow companies to provide an EWRS, including localization for sustainment, training, manufacturing, and research and development.

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