IDEX 2009: The Other Purchases
Begun in 2001, IDEX in the United Arab Emirates has become the Middle East’s biggest defense show. The UAE is a significant buyer in its own right, as illustrated in “UAE Announces Deals at IDEX 2007,” which covered a range of deals for advanced aerial tankers, radios, mortars, mine-resistant vehicles, pistols,fast patrol boats, and more. During IDEX 209, the UAE made headlines again with multi-billion deals for C-17 and C-130J aerial transports, and major deals for new M346 advanced jet trainers and Dash-8 maritime patrol aircraft.
Defpro recently covered a number of IDEX 2009 deals that received less notice. The article below strips out the smallest deals, and adds a number of details and additional background:
$255 million equivalent to Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB), to build 12 new 26.5m long Ghannatha Class boats for the UAE Navy, and retrofit the 12 existing fast patrol craft/ troop transport boats into fully armed fast attack craft. The total contract is valued at AED 935.4 million (about $255 million) – AED 771.1 million for the new vessels and AED 164.3 million for the retrofit. The first vessel will be delivered in 18 months, with a craft delivered each 3 months thereafter; the first 3 will be built by Swedeship Marine, which the other 9 will be built by ADSB.
ADSB and their Abu Dhabi Systems Integration (ADSI) joint venture with Selex Sistemi Integrati will handle weapon integration. One version will carry MBDA’s Marte Mk2N lightweight anti-ship missiles, with a 70km range and enough punch to make these small ships a real threat to enemy vessels. Another variant (rumored to involve 6 boats) will employ Patria’s 120mm Nemo automatic mortar turrets, creating a flexible form of naval fire support that mirrors similar efforts in Finland. A $52 million equivalent contract will add 18 of Rheinmetall’s MLG27 27mm autocannon remote weapon systems to various vessels of the Ghannatha Class, giving them small vessels very accurate and lethal close-in fire options. See also: Patria release | Jane’s report | Rolls Royce release re: waterjets.
$120 million equivalent to Turkey’s Yonca-Onuk partnership for 34 rapid-intervention boats to equip the Abu Dhabi’s Critical National Infrastructure Authority (CNIA). The CNIA protects the emirate’s onshore/offshore petroleum facilities, power generation and water desalination stations, gas transportation and distribution networks, airports, seaport, etc. Yonca-Onuk makes a variety of boats, from small “Kaan 15” to the 100 foot long MRTP 33 Fast Attack Craft.
$117 million equivalent to Italy’s Fincantieri, Cantieri Navali Italiani SpA for an anti-submarine corvette based on Italy’s 1,500t Cigala Fulgosi Class/ Comandanti Class. The UAE has requested significant modifications, including a retractable helicopter hangar, and delivery within 20 months. An option reportedly exists for a 2nd corvette. See also Defense News report | Aug 2009 announcement.
$243 million equivalent to Euro-Art International EWIV for 3 COBRA Counter Battery Radars mounted on MAN SX-series trucks. COBRA uses an active phased array antenna, which offers a number of performance and reliability benefits. It is operated by Germany, the UK, and France, and 2005 desert trials in the UAE reportedly went very well. EWIV release.
$215 million equivalent to The International Golden Group (IGG) to supply lightweight Remote Weapon Stations (RWS) for the UAE’s armored vehicles. The country currently operates Leclerc tanks and BMP-3 tracked APCs, and has ordered AMW wheeled APCs from Patria. The local firm will license technology from “a German company,” which is very likely to be KMW (FLW 100/200). Initial builds will take place in Germany, but production is slated to transfer to Abu Dhabi.
$192.2 million to Harris Communications for unspecified communications sets. Harris is a major global producer of tactical radios.
$172.8 million equivalent to Thales Nederland for their SOTAS digital intercom system, to be installed in the UAE’s Fench Leclerc tanks.
$125 million equivalent to Rheinmetall Defence Electronics, to build and support a Combat Training Centre for the UAE Armed Forces. The system will reportedly be based on Germany’s GÜZ [in German].