For the 13th time, the world’s defence companies and decision-makers in the air, land and naval sectors are gathering here in Abu Dhabi at the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s premier defence and security exhibition.
Organised under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in collaboration with the UAE Armed Forces, and with the strategic partnership of Emirates Defense Industries Company (EDIC) and principal partner Tawazun, IDEX and NAVDEX have grown in strength and stature with every edition.
Staff Major General Pilot Faris Khalaf Khalfan Al Mazrouei, head of the organising committee, said: “We are confident that the co-located events will provide an excellent platform for the local defence industry to gain valuable insight and understanding to further develop the sector. They also provide the UAE Armed Forces with a unique opportunity to review the latest developments taking place globally in this important military field.” He added: “These exhibitions complement the critical role played by our armed forces in collaboration with all government and national entities in supporting different economic sectors in line with the vision of our leadership.”
This year, perhaps more than previously, the region is faced with declining defence budgets as a result of the collapse in oil prices, while also having to deal with numerous and complex threats in the shape of Iranian ballistic missiles, the rise of Daesh, and cyber threats to asymetric warfare. The threat of piracy in the Gulf and the Arabian Sea also remains a lingering concern. All these challenges are in the forefront of strategic thinking in MENA states, as well as in those of their US and European allies.
As a result, the equipment and system requirements for the region’s armed forces are constantly changing, with an increasing emphasis on using offset agreements and joint ventures to improve indigenous defence-industrial capabilities, with the added benefits of localisation of expenditure and greater domestic employment.
An examination of the region’s capabilities shows that the UAE has become one of the leading indigenous producers of military equipment, with companies and joint ventures from MRO providers to shipbuilders, unmanned vehicle systems houses, vehicle manufacturers, C4I services and equipment providers, and munition manufacturing.
IDEX is the perfect venue at which to discuss and tackle present and future challenges.