GLOBAL DEFENSE MARKET
DUBAI AIRSHOW NEWS: UAE Defense Company Unveils 11 New UAV, Munitions Systems
Laura Heckmann photo
Dubai, United Arab Emirates — A commanding presence nestled in the corner of the sprawling Dubai Airshow exhibit floor, the EDGE Group, a UAE defense technology giant, was hard to miss. Namely because of its 11 new autonomous systems and precision guided munitions on display, making their debut at the airshow.
The 11 systems range from unmanned aerial systems to guided munitions and flying jammers..
One of the more eye-catching displays on the EDGE show floor was the REACH-M, its new fixed-wing, medium altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial system. The REACH-M has an endurance of 24 hours, autonomous take-off and landing capabilities and a payload of 350 kilograms.
With a wingspan of 17 meters, the aircraft is designed to eliminate small to medium threats on the ground and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, Lamia Al Marzooqi, engineer, advanced concepts at EDGE, said on the sidelines of the airshow. The aircraft has a maximum takeoff weight of 1,500 kilograms. REACH-M is among three new autonomous aircraft that debuted at the airshow.
The other two unmanned aerial systems unveiled were the HT-100 multirole unmanned helicopter, designed for logistics and intelligence, reconnaissance and intelligence missions, and Sinyar, an autonomous aircraft based on the Polish FLARIS LAR 01 single jet engine.
Among the eight new missile, guided munition and jammer systems were the NASEF-20 and NASEF-125 subsonic missiles and the precision guided munition MANSUP-ER.
MANSUP-ER has a range of 200 kilometers adapted sea skimming and endurance of up to 17 minutes, speeding up to 954 kilometers per hour and featuring an active radar seeker with all-weather capability. It can carry a 150 kilogram warhead, Marzooqi said.
EDGE announced that it will supply its MANSUP anti-ship systems to the Brazilian navy, signing a letter of intent at the show. EDGE said in a press release the deal is worth approximately AED 0.6 billion, or about $163 million.
Co-developed with the Brazilian navy and Brazilian Smart Weapons and High-Tech System specialist SIATT, MANSUP-ER systems “have been developed to meet the defence requirements of both the UAE navy, the Brazilian navy’s frigate program, and for international export,” the company release stated. MANSUP systems are currently undergoing testing from Brazil’s naval fleet.
EDGE also announced Nov. 15 a landmark deal with the UAE Ministry of Defence, having signed a letter of intent with UAE Armed Forces for the purchase of extended range MANSUP-ER and the shorter range variant of the advanced anti-ship missile. The total value of the deal is AED 1.102 billion, or just over $300 million, the company said.
Also among the newly-displayed systems was a series of tactical drones called the Hunter series — swarming drones used to “identify and destroy the jamming sources,” Al Marzooqi said.
One featured member of the jammer system family was the Hunter 2-SJ, featuring targeting capabilities through radar signal detection and artificial intelligence for information battle sharing. It has a payload of up to 2 kilograms, total available flight time of 45 minutes, an operational altitude of 2,000 meters and a communications range of up to 50 kilometers. The wingspan is up 2.2 meters with a length up to 1.5 meters. The SM has a wingspan of 4.85 meters, a payload of up to 23 kilograms.
Al Marzooqi said EDGE’s new collection is a reflection of “where the world is heading towards,” with the proliferation of autonomous systems and the need to both defend and compete. She noted many of the new systems boast an increased range, and that the benefit of autonomous systems lies in the ability of operator to control the system from a safe distance.
As quickly as the drone landscape is changing, Al Marzooqi said the company's strategy of adopting tech from other companies allows them to ensure they are not missing out on innovation.
She said EDGE is working with customers from the initiation until the moment a concept is applied with “actual environmental conditions with the customer or the client before we pass it on to another entity to work on the commercialization and to production,” she said.
The company’s mission statement describes it as a “catalyst for change,” and “dedicated to bringing breakthrough innovations … to market with greater speed and efficiency, to position the UAE as a leading global hug for future industries.”
Every entity, or “cluster,” she said, is specialized in a particular area, from production to cybersecurity to platform development. Different entities lead to cutting edge technology development, she said — reflected on the show floor.