Ebrahim Hamad Al Suwaidan, an electronics engineer from Saudi Arabia, listens as Todd Morrow of Lockheed Martin describes the US army’s latest air defence missiles. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The UAE Armed Forces have announced contracts worth Dh8 billion during the first three days of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex) 2011, on military purchases and supplies to strengthen the country's security systems and boost its research and development capacity.

On the third day of the conference, Major-General Obaid Al Katbi, head of the Idex 2011 organising committee and its spokesman, said the UAE Armed Forces had awarded contracts worth Dh4 billion in military equipment, in addition to the Dh4 billion announced earlier.

Indigenous focus

To help strengthen relations with UAE companies, the new announcement focuses on major defence spending with UAE firms.

The companies that received contracts included Emiraje Systems of the UAE, which will install a command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) unit for $550 million (Dh2 billion).

A contract worth Dh423 million was the second highest deal signed by the UAE Armed Forces yesterday with a French firm, Nexter Systems, which will provide technical support for the LeClerc tank.

The third highest contract involving Dh392.6 million was to purchase detection and surveillance equipment, as well as the supply of assorted weapons, ammunition and global positioning systems, through a UAE-based company, the International Golden Group (IGG).

"The UAE Armed Forces has identified specialised committees in various fields to close out these deals. As mentioned in Monday's meeting, we always study whether a specific contract will benefit the UAE, and don't have any cancellation from any of our delegations regarding deals," Major-General Al Katbi said.

He added: "Most UAE-based companies that we have today are talking about high tech and joint ventures with international companies in order to assure high quality and improvements in R&D."

These are part of the defence supply contracts aimed at modernising the UAE's defence to prepare it for defending the country from any external threats.

The Gulf states are expected to spend as much as $100 billion on defence until 2020, according to research organisation Frost and Sullivan.

Empowerment drive

  • DEAL 1: Recon pods and relevant equipment for F-16 airplanes

Parties Involved: Goodrich Company of the United States

Value: Dh297.3 million

  • DEAL 2: Purchasing detection and surveillance equipment as well as weapons and ammunition

Parties: IGG of the UAE Value: Dh392.6 million

  • DEAL 3: Four military excavators

Parties: JCP Sales Limited

Value: Dh12.3 million

  • DEAL 4: Purchasing 10 boats and 24 turrets

Parties: Al Fatan Ship Building Company of the UAE

Value: Dh94.5 million

  • DEAL 5: Technical support contract to for the LeClerc tank

Parties: Nexter Systems of France

Value: Dh423 million