At the Dubai Airshow EDGE showed off its myriad products ranging from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to smart weapons. It also announced a torrent of partnerships and contracts as well as launching a dozen new products
Mohammed Bin Zayed, president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) created EDGE in 2019. now a defence mammoth with 6,000 employees and more than 25 subsidiaries, with sales of US$5 billion this year, 35% of which were exports.
EDGE’s Vice President, International Business, Miles Chambers, told EDR On-Line that the company exports to 20 countries from South America to the Asia Pacific regions. To expand its portfolio it looks to start up technologies and partnerships. Chambers said that the company was always looking at making investments in autonomous capabilities, guided munitions, and electronic warfare.
One of the most productive partnerships has been that with South Africa’s Denel Dynamics. Chambers said that the rise of precision-guided munitions (PGM) has changed the landscape of modern warfare. Established in 2012, AL TARIQ is the first UAE-based precision-guided munitions manufacturer.
AL TARIQ, is now part the missiles and weapons cluster within the EDGE Group, and manufactures munitions that deliver fire-and-forget accuracy with high success rates and minimal collateral damage in the battle space. It designs, develops, manufactures and integrates air-to-surface missiles. Its technology partner and shareholder, Denel Dynamics, is South Africa’s largest government-owned defence manufacturer, specialising in tactical missiles, precision-guided weapons, unmanned aerial vehicle systems and space solutions. The partnership with Denel Dynamics has helped increase production capacity over a short span of time. EDGE’s prime focus has been on enhancing its production expertise and ensuring continual innovation while also working on production process improvements and establishing engineering functions to offer world-class products.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems is another company partnered with EDGE, to integrate EDGE’s smart weapons onto its MQ-9B SkyGuardian UAV that the UAE plans to acquire. This collaboration marks the first time UAE-made smart weapons will be integrated onto a US unmanned platform.
In the land domain, earlier this year (2023) EDGE acquired a majority stake in Estonia-based Milrem Robotics, Europe’s leading developer of robotics and autonomous systems. The transaction will see Milrem Robotics join EDGE as a new entity within its Platforms and Systems cluster.
EDGE has recently opened an office in Brazil and at the Dubai Airshow it announced the sale of extended range National Surface Anti-Ship Missiles (MANSUP-ER), and the sale of the shorter-range version of the advanced system that it developed with its Brazilian partner company SIATT, to the Brazilian Navy.
The MANSUP-ER has been developed to meet the defence requirements of both the UAE Navy, the Brazilian Navy’s frigate programme, and for international export. EDGE is currently in advanced discussions with a number of potential customers for the long-range surface-to-surface missile, which features adaptive sea-skimming capabilities, has a range of 200km, and is fitted with inertial guidance and active radar homing.
Among the many contracts announced during the Dubai Airshow was for one of EDGE’s subsidiaries, the Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investments (ADASI), that designs and manufactures next-generation unmannedsystems for air, land and sea including the Garmoosha, a VTOL UAV designed to carry payloads of approximately 120 kg with an endurance of 8 hours and a range of 150 km. It is in production and EDGE has a contract to deliver an undisclosed number to UAE armed forces in 2024.
EDGE Group entity, Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB) also ordered six HT-100 multi-role VTOL UAVs for integration onto the vessels of one of its major export programmes. The HT-100 can be used for various mission profiles such as surveillance and reconnaissance, inspection, and mapping and cargo and can fly for up to six hours at a speed of 120 km/h, and has a Data link range up to 200km. The HT-100 was designed and manufactured by the Swiss-based company ANAVIA of which EDGE acquired 52% majority shareholding in November 2023.
As part of its UAV cluster, several systems were in the pipeline including the medium-altitude, low-endurance drone called REACH-M, with a reportedly has a 350 kg payload capacity and 24-hour flight endurance. Mile Chambers told EDR On-Line that the UAV is still under development and is expected to undergo final flight testing by 2024.
Photos by D. Oliver