DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Eleven months after its establishment, the Emirates Defence Industries Co. (EDIC) is looking to develop, strengthen and deepen relationships with its international partners through increased value in the United Arab Emirates beyond local assembly, its chairman told Defense News in an exclusive interview.
Al Shemmari said the changing geopolitical and security environments require new defense capabilities.
EDIC was founded Dec. 2, 2014. Over the last year, the company has been working through integrating the different companies under its mandate.
Al Shemmari's goal is "to develop existing partnerships and identify new commercial ventures, bringing new products and services to the UAE."
"In essence, we are a hub that can facilitate the UAE's relationships with international OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), ensuring that our businesses and operations are strategically aligned with the needs of GHQ (the UAE armed forces' General Headquarters)," he said.
According to Theodore Karasik, a Gulf-based senior adviser for Gulf State Analytics, EDIC will be able to achieve its mandate and goals.
"EDIC is focused on the UAE's long-term feasibility as a major exporting hub and not just a logistical two-way hub in the global supply chain. In other words, EDIC's localization strategy is to project outwards to foreign buyers," he said.
UK-based independent Gulf military analyst Matthew Hedges said that the UAE intends to foster the development of a knowledge economy for its national defense industry, but he foresees three main challenges.
"To be able to fully operate and run a world-leading defense industry, the UAE will also have to promote the education and cooperation of expatriates residing in the UAE to contribute to the wider good. Key to this will be the connection between EDIC and the UAE's educational institutions," he said.
"EDIC can only learn from their experience and knowledge," he said. "There does have to be a mutual understanding between the partners as to what each other is bringing to the table and how they can mutually benefit, Masdar [an eco-city in development] is a great example of this with international firms contracting the institute to undertake research to further their own capabilities.
"It is a show of confidence in the UAE ability."
Awad Mustafa is a Middle East and Africa correspondent for Defense News.