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Thursday, December 02, 2021

Dubai Airshow 2021: Emirates Brandish a Sharp EDGE (Part 1)in-depth


I. The UAE’s national defense conglomerate, EDGE Group, and its subsidiaries have announced the ratification of 16 joint developments during Dubai Airshow 2021 (14-18 November 2021). These accords include memorandums of understanding (MoUs), service agreements, and government contracts. As a result, EDGE and its subsidiaries have closer ties with defense companies from the U.S, Israel, Brazil, France, and China. They also have landed two major customers: the Emirati Armed Forces and the Moroccan Air Force.

II. Defense giants Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and other U.S. companies took the lion’s share of these agreements (six) with EDGE. The Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) signed two MoUs with EDGE, one for optronics while the other for joint production of unmanned vessels. While the IAI-EDGE team-up is intriguing, it is no longer surprising given the number of agreements between Emirati and Israeli defense companies since the signing of the Abraham accords.

III. The inauguration of a Chinese-Emirati aircraft logistics hub near Dubai International Airport is another noteworthy development. Not only does this move underscores China’s growing role in the Emirates, but it also indicates that Abu Dhabi will not backpedal on its cooperation with Beijing.

IV. The EDGE Group’s activity during the Dubai Airshow is indicative of the wider trend of localizing defense technologies and switching from buyer to supplier that is engulfing the Gulf Cooperation Council. While only two years old, EDGE is pulling its weight in supporting the government’s “Make it in the Emirates” campaign.


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