The first participation of EDGE, the UAE main defence group, at LAAD Defence & Security was a clear sign of the interest that the Middle East conglomerate gives to Latin America. This was further confirmed by the announcement made on day one of the Rio de Janeiro exhibition, that EDGE was opening a regional office in Brazil’s federal capital, Brasilia.
On its first appearance at Rio the group was present with 10 of its companies, which showcased around 50 solutions and products that included autonomous air and land systems, naval systems, precision-guided munitions, small arms and ammunition, and electronic warfare.
“In fact EDGE was looking at Latin America since inception,” Rodrigo Torres, President and Group CFO, himself of Brazilian nationality, told EDR On-Line. Three were the main reasons for such an interest. Firstly the commercial potential of defence and law enforcement of this geographical area. Secondly the fact that Brazil has a number of well developed companies, such as Embraer, SIATT, AVIBRAS, and others that produce at good prices and are not subject to same export restrictions found in the United States and Europe. And finally the presence of numerous suppliers capable to offer quality products at attractive prices, which would allow EDGE to widen its supplier base.
Considering requirements in the area, “there are a lot of compatible roadmaps among Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Chile, that would allow joining forces for developing new products,” Mr. Torres highlighted, adding that the common research and development teams might be created.
He also underlined that in some cases Brazilian defence companies are more advanced than the EDGE group ones, and as an example he cited AVIBRAS with its missiles.
As highlighted by the Group CEO at IDEX EDGE aims at being disruptive in terms of prices, offering high quality products at much lower costs compared to competitors. “Until now brazil acquired its systems mostly in the United States and in Europe, but now they have a new source that can provide them similar performances at one third of the price, and delegations of the Brazilian Army and the Brazilian Air Force that visited us on day one of LAAD were quite surprised by that,” the Group CFO underlined.
Considering the EDGE portfolio, he explained that the three main areas on which EDGE is focusing, electronic warfare, precision weapons, and autonomous systems, correspond to the priorities of Latin American countries. “We can also bring scale,” Mr. Torres stated, “one of the problems being the customer base,” but partnering with the Middle East group should ensure sufficient sales to make common operations profitable.
Photos by P. Valpolini