Abu Dhabi: In light of the ongoing conflict in Yemen, Emirates Defence Industries Company (EDIC) is focused primarily on serving the domestic market’s needs, according to Fahad Al Mhieri, Director of Business Development.

Despite that, he added he was also looking for business further afield.

“Whilst we are focused on serving the UAE and our partners in the armed forces, we see potential across the GCC,” he said on Sunday morning at Idex, the military exhibition taking place in Abu Dhabi this week.

On the first day of the exhibition, the firm unveiled a rapid intervention vehicle (RIV), under its NIMR business unit. The RIV has blast protection located underneath its body and modular armour to secure its four man crew.

NIMR Automotive, a subsidiary of EDIC, produces wheeled all-terrain military vehicles, for a diverse scope of mission requirements.

“We are developing our capabilities in line with the needs of the UAE’s armed forces. We have even licensed weapons, for example, from foreign suppliers, and altered them in small ways to fit the feedback of our armed forces,” Al Mhieri said.

“Our capabilities are getting a lot of exposure at the moment, and there is a lot of interest” he said, referring to Operation Restoring Hope, the Saudi Arabian-led coalition in Yemen. EDIC has multiple business units at play, including NIMR vehicles, in the conflict.

“But this is how all of those key players such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon basically came to be who they are today. It’s about being able to grab different aspects, such as precision guidance munitions or aeronautics, and we are growing these capabilities to fit GHQ’s (the UAE’s armed forces) needs.”

Adding multipliers

He said that they would no longer be looking to expand via joint ventures, instead prioritising domestic manufacturing and ensuring the various business units were working effectively with one another.

“We won’t be doing JVs anymore. This year, it’s all about communicating, and adding multipliers to our business units. In the past, if we wanted to branch out, we’d JV (joint venture) with other companies, and the overheads were massive.”

“Last year was a rough year with mergers, and pulling everything in together, plus new initiatives internally to coordinate.”

However, according to Al Mhieri, the outlook for 2017 is “definitely positive”.

Commenting on the size of Edic’s presence at the event, which dwarfs the stands of established US players such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin, Al Mhieri said “we’re hoping to become one of those one day”.