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United Arab Emirates (UAE) advanced technology group EDGE, in conjunction with various business entities operating under it, have announced a number of contracts secured from the UAE armed forces at the IDEX 2023 defence exhibition, which is running in Abu Dhabi from 20-24 February 2023.

EDGE entity Halcon announced on 22 February it had secured an AED 1 Bn (EUR 0.26 Bn) contract from the UAE armed forces to supply Al Tariq-LR precision-guided munitions (PGMs). These are long-range versions of the Al Tariq family of modular, all-weather, day/night PGM kits that convert unguided aerial munitions into smart, longer-range PGMs.

Saeed Al Mansoori, Senior Vice President of EDGE’s Advanced Concepts business unit, said of the contract: “Our commitment is focused on providing a long-range PGM solution that enhances pilot safety while allowing high levels of operational flexibility.”

EDGE also announced on 22 February it had signed a contract worth AED 4 Bn to provide tactical communications and datalink solutions to the UAE armed forces over the next four years. Waleid Al Mesmari, Senior Vice President for EDGE’s Electronic Warfare & Cyber Technologies business unit, said the contract “will fortify the UAE’s current capability with improved network communication that increases voice and data services linked into a broader range of UAE armed forces for both domestic and international operations while also ensuring national tactical datalink sovereignty”.

On 21 February EDGE’s Halcon announced three separate munition contracts with the UAE armed forces: a deal worth AED 4.7 Bn to supply Desert Sting 25 (DS-25) lightweight, air-to-surface, precision-guided glide weapons; a contract worth AED 1.1 Bn to deliver Hunter 2-S, Hunter 5 and Hunter 10 loitering munitions; and a contract worth AED 2.14 Bn to supply Thunder P3 Light PGMs.

Among the EDGE entity weapon contracts with the UAE armed forces announced at IDEX 2023 was a deal worth AED 4.7 Bn to supply Desert Sting 25 lightweight PGMs. (Photo: EDGE/Halcon)

DS-25 glide weapons are designed to be deployed on multiple racks carried by aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The Hunter family of fixed-wing loitering munitions are designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and aerial strike missions, while the Hunter 2-S is an autonomous UAV featuring advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to perform co-ordinated missions in a swarm. The deal for Hunter loitering munitions, according to Halcon, is “a significant milestone for EDGE, as it includes the first UAE-made defence solution to integrate advanced AI”.

The Thunder P3 Light PGM kit is designed to be integrated with the MK series of general-purpose bombs and, under the announced contract, will be fitted with a semi-active laser seeker.

EDGE entity ADASI, meanwhile, announced on 21 February that it had signed an AED 1.33 Bn contract to supply its Shadow 25 and Shadow 50 loitering munitions to the UAE armed forces. The jet-powered Shadow 25 has a 2.36 m wingspan, a payload of up to 25 kg and offers a range of up to 250 km and an endurance of 40 minutes. The pusher-propeller-powered Shadow 50 has a 3.47 m wingspan, a payload of up to 50 kg and offers a maximum range of 295 km and an endurance of nine hours.

The quantities of munitions ordered were not disclosed.

Peter Felstead