American defence contractor Harris has provided details to Gulf News on their $189 million (Dh693.63 million) contract to provide an integrated battle management system to the UAE Armed Forces, announced yesterday at Idex.

In its biggest deal to date in the UAE, American defence contractor Harris will subcontract work to Systematic, utilising their SitaWare Headquarters and SitaWare Frontline software “to provide fully integrated command and control capabilities across multiple land force echelons,” the company said in the statement.

“The software’s open architecture is enabling the UAE Armed Forces to develop new capabilities and customise their system using local expertise,” the statement added.

In addition to Systematic, Harris will also contract work to the International Golden Group, a UAE-based company, for design and integration activities related to the Nexter Leclerc main battle tank.

Fellow Emirati outfit Al Taif will be responsible for the installation of equipment in vehicles, whilst DRS will provide an advanced voice, data, video and vehicle networking solution.

Finally, DRS and SAAB will provide electronic components for the vehicles, Harris said.

“This has been a very good week for us. This deal is the largest one we’ve ever done with the UAE,” Christopher Tucker, Vice President of International Business Development, said in an interview with Gulf News on Tuesday morning, confirming all of the details in the statement.

The contract is to digitise much of the equipment used by the Emirates’ Land Tactical System (ELTS).

“We are going to provide a digitised battlefield management system for the Emirati land forces,” Tucker added.

He noted that it was a major milestone for the UAE’s armed forces, as it will move them away from an analogue command and control system to a digital command and control system instead.

The purpose of this system is to simplify and add detail to the picture the commander has of the battlefield situation, enabling him to make clearer decisions based on more accurate information.

“This is a major modernisation step for the Emirati land forces,” he said.

“We’re very proud to be partnered with the armed forces to provide this capability.”

The deal, worth nearly $200 million, is nearly equal to Harris’ entire revenues for the Middle East in fiscal year 2016. The agreement is part of an economic offset programme with the UAE government.

Tucker noted that growing Harris’ business in the Middle East was a key priority, stating “the Middle East has traditionally been a strong market for Harris. We predominantly do business through our tactical communications business, with a large number of customers across the region.”

“We are adjusting to the economic challenges that some of the countries in the region face in terms of oil prices and allocation of budgets, but we expect to continue doing strong business here,” Tucker noted.