General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, greets students from the military school in Al Ain while visiting Idex. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The UAE Armed Forces announced the purchase of Dh11.8 billion worth of military equipment over three days at the 2011 International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex) which ends today.

Major General Obaid Al Katbi, head of the Idex 2011 organising committee and spokesman for Idex, discussed deals totalling Dh8 billion during press briefings on Monday and Tuesday.

At a third press briefing yesterday, he announced an additional purchase of military supplies worth Dh3.7 billion, which according to Idex organisers will be further increased through a fourth announcement to be made today.

Out of the 19 deals adding up to Dh3.7 billion, the highest in value went for multiple contracts to help upgrade the UAE Armed Forces networks and provide them with human resources.

The Dh889.7 million contract was signed with C4 Advanced Solutions, a 100 per cent Emirati-owned technology services company based in Abu Dhabi.

Fighter pilots

US company Vision System International will help provide the armed forces with helmets for their fighter pilots, worth Dh118.6 million.

The Italian company Alena Aermacchi SpA will deliver four Aermacchki MB339 aircraft worth Dh108 million. The light attack aircraft features a cannon pod, conventional and guided bombs, air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles.

When Gulf News asked General Al Katbi whether the UAE intended to become an export military hub for the MENA region after diverse partnerships at Idex 2011, he replied: "Becoming a military hub for the MENA region requires planning.

"We're always keen on encouraging and cooperating with Arab countries, there's mutual cooperation in all fields, and the UAE likes to be number one, and to stand out as a leader in different fields," Al Katbi said.

"The UAE is not only focused on military products. We are placing a big effort on manufacturing products locally through joint ventures with various international firms who invest with our UAE-based companies."

Open market

Asked whether the UAE Armed Forces had a quota for purchasing UAE-based military supplies, General Al Katbi replied: "There is no quota, however we encourage our locally-based companies to provide us with excellent and well tested products, which they do. "It's an open market, and there is no focus on one particular country. The armed forces focus more on quality," he said.

"It just happens to be that UAE-based companies have improved their skills and marketing approach, and are now on par and in competition with the international market."

Shopping list: New deals

Technical support for Chinook and AW139 helicopters
Vendor: Agusta Westland of Italy
Value: Dh110.2 million

Purchasing Ram missiles
Vendor: Abu Dhabi Ship Building
Value: Dh800.5 million

5 surveillance systems
Vendor: 3DI Technologies of the USA
Value: Dh23.9 million

Human resources for medical services
Vendor: Global Medical Solutions of the UAE
Value: Dh600 million

Security services
Vendor: Emirates Gateway of the UAE
Value: Dh98 million

Communications systems
Vendor: Thales Communications of France
Value: Dh16.1 million

Operation and maintenance of satellite ground stations and training for Emirati operational personnel
Vendor: Yahsat
Value: Dh551 million

Munitions
Vendor: Rheinmetall Waffe Munition of Germany
Value: Dh37.7 million

Helmets for fighter pilots
Vendor: Vision System International of USA
Value: Dh118.6 million

Artillery and munitions
Vendor: East Gate of the UAE
Value: Dh36.2 million

Linking recon pods for F-16 block 60 fighters
Vendor: Lockheed Martin of the USA
Value: Dh67.7 million

Equipment for field hospitals
Vendor: Zeppelin Mobile Systems of Germany
Value: Dh29.7 million

Ammunition
Vendor: IGG of the UAE
Value: Dh7.6 million

4 Aermacchi MB339 airplanes
Vendor: Alena Aermacchi SpA
Value: Dh108 million

Munitions
Vendor: Maschinenfabrik Liezen Und Gisesserei of Austria
Value: Dh35.5 million

200 light vehicles
Vendor: IGG of the UAE
Value: Dh100 million
Naval corvette maintenance
Parties involved: Drydocks World Dubai
Value: Dh25.7 million

Upgrade networks and provide human resources
Vendor: C4 Advanced Solutions
Value: Dh889.7 million

Aviation recruitment outsourcing
Vendor: Global Aerospace Logistics
Value: Dh44.3 million

Total yesterday: Dh3.7 billion

Total to date: Dh11.8 billion