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UAE’s IDEX arms show brings Russia, China and billion-dollar deals


DUBAI – Abu Dhabi’s biennial arms show generates billions Military Products and Technology Agreement Political allies and rivals alike showcased their wares on the neutral Emirati capital market following the fifth and final day of the event on Friday.

Some $5.46 billion in deals were signed in the first four days of the International Defense Exhibition (IDEX) and Naval Defense Exhibition (NAVDEX) 2023, UAE government news agency WAM reported.

More than 1,300 exhibitors from 65 countries participated in the largest military expo in the Middle East and North Africa, with attendance growing continuously for 30 years.

By the end of the event, EDGE Group, the UAE’s state-owned military arms and related technology conglomerate, which was also a strategic partner in the event, secured most of the deals for $5 billion.

One of its biggest deals was an export agreement worth more than US$1 billion with the Angolan Navy to build and export a fleet of 71-meter frigates, WAM reported.

A nearly $2.5 billion contract was signed with the UAE Armed Forces for EDGE’s Thunder and Desert Sting 25 precision-guided munitions, among other technologies.

The UAE Ministry of Defense announced that it will sign an agreement with China National Aviation Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC) to purchase 12 L15 aircraft, with an option to purchase 36 more aircraft of the same type in the future.

The Israeli Defense Ministry inaugurated its first national pavilion on the first day of events on Monday, according to the Israeli foreign ministry.

More than 30 leading Israel Defense Industries showcased their technologies, including air defense systems, rocket and missile systems, unmanned aerial systems and more.

Israel’s first involvement comes two and a half years after the September 2020 signing of the Abraham Accords, which initially normalized relations between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain.

Russian defense industry The West also sent representatives to IDEX despite sanctions over its war on Ukraine, Bloomberg reported on the first day of the event.

The country, which is actively at war, displayed more than 200 weapons ranging from munitions to air defense systems and tanks, which Russian officials said had been “tested in real combat conditions”.

Russia has shown off its latest Tor-M2 air defense missile system, which is capable of neutralizing drones and other complex aerial targets, state-owned news agency ITAR-TASS reported.

Alexander Mikhailov, head of the Military-Political Analysis Bureau, told the agency that the international interest in his mission’s work proved that Russia was a more reliable military-technical partner than its Western rivals.

He added that Russia was selling military technology at a lower price and without geopolitical obedience.

Defense spending in the UAE reached $22.5 billion last year, according to the UAE Defense Market, Budget Assessment, Drivers and Market Trends 2022 report.

This amount is expected to reach USD 28.6 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 4.8%.

The UAE Armed Forces is strengthening its military capabilities in response to perceived threats, such as Iran, the main driver of the growing defense budget, the report said.


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