ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates has launched a government-owned company meant to position the country as a global player in advanced technology that can address the threat of hybrid warfare and streamline the local defense industry.
The crown prince of Abu Dhabi and the deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, led the inauguration ceremony of the new entity, known as Edge.
“The solution to address hybrid warfare lies at the convergence of innovations from the commercial world and the military industry. Established with a core mandate to disrupt an antiquated military industry generally stifled by red tape, Edge is set to bring products to market faster and at more cost-effective price points,” said Faisal Al Bannai, CEO and managing director of Edge.
With a combined annual revenue of $5 billion, Edge employs more than 12,000 individuals, and it will consolidate a number of companies and other entities totaling 25 subsidiaries. Those subsidiaries include Nimr, AMMROC, Abu Dhabi Ship Building, Al Tariq, Caracal, Emirates Advanced Research and Technology Holding, ADASI, Al Hosn, Al Jasoor, Al Taif, APT, Beacon RED, EPI, ERS, ETS, GAL, Halcon, Horizon, Jaheziya, Knowledge Point, Lahab, Remaya, and Sign4l.
Edge will also adsorb Emirates Defence Industries Company, Tawazun Holding as well as Advanced Investments Group.
“The conglomerate will manage effectively the five clusters it has, through the chief executive of each entity who will report to the chief executive of the cluster within the conglomerate,” Al Bannai told Defense News. Those five focus areas are platforms and systems; missiles and weapons; cyber defense; electronic warfare and intelligence; and mission support.
The executive said ongoing contracts signed by the subsidiaries before Edge’s creation will continue as usual.
"With respect to new contracts, they will be signed by Edge if they are strategic deals, and others will be signed by the subsidiary entity depending on the type of the contract,” he added. “EDGE will invest extensively across [research and development], working closely with front-line operators to design and deploy practical solutions that address real-world challenges.”
Lockheed Martin’s Middle East chief executive, Robert Harward, praised the creation of Edge as “a great opportunity for Lockheed Martin and other partners to engage with the UAE in a new and innovative way.”
“Today’s announcement is indicative of the UAE’s growing defense and technology ecosystem,” Harward said. "We look forward to working with Edge and helping them expand their capabilities through effective partnerships.”
The conglomerate will develop partnerships with original equipment manufacturers and defense contractors, small and medium enterprises, and academia, according to an Edge news release. The company also said it will seek industry experts and talent from around the globe to help on a wide spectrum of modern product development related to its five clusters.
The company also plans to develop technologies that advance autonomous capabilities, IT hardware, the internet of things, advanced propulsion systems, robotics and smart materials, with a focus on artificial intelligence across all its products and services.
Agnes Helou is a Middle East correspondent for Defense News. Her interests include missile defense, cybersecurity, the interoperability of weapons systems and strategic issues in the Middle East and Gulf region.