BEIRUT — A United Arab Emirates company has unveiled its first locally made vertical-takeoff-and-landing drone.

The Garmousha drone, made by ADASI, a subsidiary of the government-owned conglomerate Edge, was on display at UMEX 2020, a conference dedicated to unmanned technology that took place Feb. 23-25.

Defense News asked Adasi CEO Ali Al Yafei about the system’s place in the Gulf’s UAV market as well as interested parties, but the executive provided little detail, saying: "Our main competitors are based in China, USA and Europe. Our client list is confidential.”

“We have received considerable interest from many prospective international clients, and are currently engaging with them. We are still at an early stage in the process. Any further announcements will be made in due course,” he added.

Aimed at further advancing air operations and enhancing performance, the new Garmousha drone is a light military aircraft designed to carry about 100-kilogram payloads. It reportedly has a 6-hour endurance, or 150 kilometers. It’s also equipped with a high-definition camera.

The drone can be used to detect gas pipeline leaks, survey infrastructure, and perform search-and-rescue operations. Its advanced capabilities are expected to reduce the overall cost of operations and allow militaries to save manned helicopters for critical missions.

The Garmousha can simultaneously carry a wide variety of payloads, including a stabilized electro-optical sensor for day and night intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

“Drone technology is revolutionizing our world, creating safer and cheaper alternative to manned aircraft," said Faisal Al Bannai, the CEO and managing director of Edge. "As an unmanned system, the launch of the sophisticated Garmousha drone helps advance ADASI’s vision for the future of defense, while strengthening the company’s position as the regional leader in autonomous systems and services.”

Al Yafei said the rotary-wing drone "can be modified according to our customer’s requirements. There is an additional option for a diesel engine, if requested. Additional advanced technologies can be integrated onto the system for either commercial or military use.”

Agnes Helou was 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.

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