UAE spends billions on home-grown arms at defence truthful

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates splashed out billions on arms from home-grown companies at a defence truthful in Abu Dhabi this week, underlining a shift away from Western suppliers.

By the top of the five-day present on Friday, the Gulf state had signed greater than 50 offers value $6.3 billion, the official WAM information company stated.

They embrace not less than $5.9 billion signed with native companies on the Worldwide Defence Exhibition (IDEX) and the Naval Defence and Maritime Safety Exhibition (NAVDEX).

It highlights the UAE’s sturdy assist for home companies together with EDGE, a consortium that was arrange in 2019. The oil-rich monarchy additionally centered on native firms when it spent $5.7 billion on the biennial arms present’s earlier version in 2021.

The UAE has decreased arms imports by greater than 40 % over the previous decade, taking it from the third to the ninth largest importer globally, in line with the Stockholm Worldwide Peace Analysis Institute.

The UAE was the second largest recipient of US arms between 2012 and 2016 however dropped to eighth place between 2017 and 2021, SIPRI stated.

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Throughout this era, with Sandhurst-trained air drive pilot Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan holding the reins of energy since 2014, the US ally dubbed “Little Sparta” has fought in Yemen, skilled troops in Somalia and backed forces in Egypt and Libya.

‘Strengthen self-sufficiency’

The newest offers sign the UAE’s “rising emphasis on native programmes moderately than overseas ones”, stated Jean-Loup Samaan, a senior analysis fellow on the Nationwide College of Singapore’s Center East Institute.

“The UAE sees its defence business as an instrument to strengthen self-sufficiency,” Samaan stated, explaining it desires to “lower its reliance on Western safety companions” and diversify its financial system away from oil.

The UAE is now the 18th largest world arms exporter and the third high provider within the Center East behind Israel and Turkey, in accordance SIPRI.

In 2019, EDGE turned the primary Arab firm to enter SIPRI’s listing of the highest 25 largest arms-producing and navy companies firms.

Nevertheless, the UAE stays reliant on exterior firms for a lot of its navy {hardware}. In December 2021, it spent about 17 billion euros ($18 billion) on 80 Rafale fighter jets from France.

Georges Berghezan, of the Brussels-based GRIP analysis centre, stated the nascent UAE arms business additionally is determined by abroad suppliers for elements and parts, in addition to overseas personnel.

“Though the Emirates are already the principle arms exporter within the Arab world, it might be unrealistic to think about that they might compete with the principle arms exporters, not less than within the forseeable future,” Berghezan informed AFP.

EDGE additionally signed offers with overseas companions this week, together with a $1 billion-plus contract with Angola to construct a fleet of 71-metre corvette warships.

The consortium additionally inked a partnership licensing settlement to develop small arms for the Indian market.

EDGE “represents the target of Abu Dhabi to create one main actor when it comes to the event of native navy capabilities”, Samaan stated.

“It goals to develop into a regional actor of the arms market.”