Abu Dhabi Skyline
Abu Dhabi's Edge wants to create as much of self-sufficiency as is possible in the defence realms it is in. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Abu Dhabi: The global impact of COVID-19 will mean that countries will look at becoming more self-sufficient in meeting needs in critical areas such as defence and procurement of related goods, according to Faisal Al Bannai, CEO and Managing Director of Edge.

“I would say the pandemic gave all of us a wake up call in terms of planning for the unexpected. How do we look at supply chains - not just from an operational point of view for the military, but buying goods from across the world. A major lesson that got most of the world to wake up is realising that this component [is one].

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"I don’t really produce locally, I have to import this from all over the world, and nobody really thought about this before because you could order it and it’s just a flight away.” Al Bannai said becoming more reliant locally was not just about making the products, but to have the "building blocks ready in place".

“It’s more of subsystems and the components, so it’s really looking at which further building blocks we need to own here. Whether it’s a certain type of board manufacturing or chip, where without it you don’t have a product.” 

Faisal Al Bannai
Faisal Al Bannai of the Edge Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Gaining the Edge

Commenting on Edge’s own plans and in particular related to drones, Al Bannai said the defence technology group would have announcements to make early next year. “The drone and the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) industry is here to stay and grow. I think the reason driving all these things is it enables much more complex missions down the line without putting human beings in the loop.

“We mentioned when we launched [Egde], UAV, drones and autonomous capabilities are a strategic need for our future. We are a small population and we really want to use technology as a force multiplier for us. And to really catch up and be among the leading nations when it comes to these capabilities.”