By Paolo Valpolini
The official inauguration of the new United Arab Emirates Defence and Technology cluster took place on 5 November in Abu Dhabi, at the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
In his speech the CEO of the newly inaugurated company, Faisal Al Bannai, underlined how much speed will be the name of the game. Taking as an example the threat recently posed by commercial drones to oil facilities, systems costing less than 10,000 US$ putting at risk the stability of the world economy, he underlined that “looking how the commercial sector evolves, the defence sector should evolve at the same speed.” It does not come as a surprise that this initiative has been taken by the UAE, the digital regional leader and n.1 innovator in the Arab world. “Today’s event marks a paradigm shift,” he said, “as a new company aiming at developing advanced technology systems at great speed is born.”
Edge includes overall 25 companies organised in five core centres, platforms and systems, missiles and weapons, cyber defence, electronic warfare and intelligence, and mission support. “We will look at new generation direct energy weapons, and artificial intelligence will be embedded across the board,” Mr. Al Bannai continued.
“Edge will be based on three keywords, talent, partnership and disruption,” he said, underlining that the company will include 12,000 talents. The aim is to attract in Edge the best minds around the globe to work together with the local talents, Edge CEO stating that what the UAE do in the wide spectrum, attracting multicultural talents, should apply also to advanced technology. “We want to work close with n.1 companies, big or small,” is Mr. Al Bannai aim. “We obviously look at partnership, and our partners will find here a strategic meaningful plan.” Rapid development and rapid prototyping will be key in ensuring that speed constantly underlined by the CEO, who underlined how three types of partnership are foreseen, with general vendors, with commercial partners, and with strategic partners, the latter being full two-way partners. “We must disrupt and re-imagine capabilities,” he stressed, unveiling his secret weapon “that is the support of our country Leadership.”
“Be at the leading edge of technology and be at the leading edge of tomorrow,” were the last words of his opening speech.
Mr. Al Bannai then met the International Press providing more details on the new operation. To read this article please click here