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$6.4bn in contracts signed at major defence expo

A general view of the 2023 International Defence Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi on February 22, 2023

The UAE signed defence deals worth a total of AED23.34 billion ($6.36 billion) over five days of a major defence expo in the capital Abu Dhabi, with big wins for local companies despite a strong showing by international firms.

Contracts worth 2.2 billion dirhams were signed at the International Defence Exhibition (Idex) on Friday, of which AED1.6 billion went to local firms, a statement on state news agency WAM said.

The week-long industry event saw participation from major players from the United States and Europe, and a strong Israeli presence.

Russian firms also participated despite Western pressure on Gulf states to help isolate Moscow, with whom they have energy and economic ties.

Abu Dhabi defence firm Edge, with a book value of roughly $5 billion last year, was awarded a AED4.7 billion contract on the second day of the event for its subsidiary Halcon to supply Desert Sting P5 systems.

The deals were signed by the Tawazun Council, the UAE’s defence and security acquisitions authority, on behalf of the ministry of defence, the UAE Armed Forces, security agencies and Abu Dhabi Police.

Organisers said 65 countries were taking part in Idex this year including major US defence conglomerates such as Raytheon Technologies, Lockheed Martin and Boeing.