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The 10th edition of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) 2011 was recently held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The IDEX 2011 was showcased under the kind patronage of the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). The grand opening ceremony of IDEX 2011 was attended by a high-profile officials, foreign delegations and ministers. Large numbers of senior civilian and military officials along with 66 defence ministers, 64 chiefs of staff, top commanders as well as VIP guests, dignitaries, diplomats and leaders of the world defence industry attended the opening ceremony today. IDEX and NAVDEX 2011 attracted over 60,000. For the first time since IDEX’s inception in 1993, exhibitor numbers reached to 1,000 mark recording 18.2 per cent growth over IDEX in 2009, to reach 1,060 exhibitors.

Exhibitors demonstrated a comprehensive range of highly technical maneuvers and operational abilities for the latest land vehicles, UAV’s, UGV’s and sea craft. From small arms to long range artillery, various types of ground transportation, tanks and armored personnel carriers, light aircraft to state-of-the-art fighter aircraft, fast patrol boats to submarines, computers to radars, etc most items have to be showcased in the IDEX 2011.


The UAE succeeded to achieve a global reputation for staging and organising security and defence exhibitions; this soft image is due to its grand success for hosting IDEX and the Dubai Air show. IDEX is now counted amongst the most established and prestigious international defence shows/exhibitions which provide an excellent opportunity for the manufactures and far and wide to share expertise and technological achievements and enhance their global presence.

UAE Armaments Companies/ Manufacturers

More than 169 manufactures of the UAE actively participated in the IDEX 2011. Mubadala Development Company was the largest UAE exhibitor. According to many regional as well as international military experts that United Arab Emirates has been put on the armaments industry map by the successful holding of successive IDEX UAE achieved substantial contracts in IDEX 2011. Major General Obaid Al Katbi Head of Committees and Spokesman for IDEX 2011 shared that the value of these deals reached to Dh18.4 billion.
Details are given below as:

A large portion of the Dh14.5 billion worth of contracts awarded by the UAE Armed Forces in the IDEX 2011were granted to UAE-based military companies. In efforts to upgrade the country’s naval vessels, fire control systems, tanks, armoured vehicles, and ammunition, the UAE government has spent billions of dirhams on attracting international military expertise to the UAE. Apart from turning diverse Blackhawk choppers into gun ships, a deal worth approximately Dh1 billion, the government has also invested in training UAE-based pilots, technicians, and navigators on military products.

UAE Armed Forces Deals

UAE Local Worth Dh million Details
IGG 786 For the purchase of the 120mm mortar system designated RG 31m was also accorded.
NIMR 736 For the purchase of 1,000 NIMR vehicles
Al Fattan Ship Industry 356.7 For the purchase of 18 boats
Abu Dhabi Ship Building 107 To provide technical support for naval boats

Atlas Telecom 63 For the provision of Tetra Communications systems, a secure radio network
HCT 103 UAE Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) to include aviation programmes and maritime sciences in bachelor degree’s, in efforts to develop human resources
Foreign Manufacturers
Atlas Electronics 469. To maintain and develop mine sweeping units.

Aero-maritime Systems 71.8 To purchase and set communication systems for boats.
Diehl BGT Defence 84 For the purchase of German ammunitions
Penhard Defence Company 22.5 For the purchase of spare parts for Penhard vehicles
Piaggo Aero Industrie 63.2 to provide plans known as P180 Avanti II
Source: IDEX 2011 different official press releases

Other Major Contracts

• Dh252 million signed with Booz and Company to transfer logistics
• Dh230.9 million signed with IGG to purchase 30 MK 47 calibers, 40 mm
• Dh136.7 million to be spent on ammunition for 80mm vehicles, as well as the installation of gas bombs, 80mm calibers on BMP-3 vehicles
• Dh126.8 million spent on maintenance of tanks and armours.
• Dh64.8 million to train pilots, technicians, navigators on black hawks
• Dh53.2 million to provide arms for ehicles through IGG
• Dh45.5 million equipment installed on radars through Raneen Wireless Development
• Dh39.3 million to buy ammunition through Hanawa Cooperation

Biggest Purchases

Worth Dh. million Details
993.5 It will be used to install 23 Blackhawk aircraft, the UH60M, with weapons
853.6 Signed with Emirates Response Service and ASSETCO in their bid to provide the armed forces with firefighting services, human resources, equipment and maintenance
551 To provide air cargo services through Maximus National Company.
336.7 To purchase four AW 139 aircraft for VIPs through the Abu Dhabi Aviation National Company.
Source: IDEX 2011 official press releases

Performance of UAE based Companies/Manufacturers

After another successful holding of the IDEX many regional as well as international military experts and war strategists are of the opinion that UAE defence companies have matured enough to capture the regional markets. Now, UAE is likely to become a defence or military equipment manufacturer in the Middle East and help the Mena (Middle East and North Africa) countries meet their future defence needs. The UAE has already been exporting military supplies to the rest of the Mena region for the past three years. The shipbuilding industry of the UAE is making its inroads in the regional markets. It has already supplied ships to Oman and Bahrain, and Caracal has already sold handguns to a number of Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan.

Star Performers

Company/manufactures Details

Tawazun and Mubadala

Both actively participated in the IDEX 2011 and succeeded to open avenues of joint ventures and grabbed many meaningful contracts. Tawazun has manufactured some spare parts for military aircraft and exported them to various parts of the Mena region; Nimr vehicles have also found buyers through the Bin Jabber Group. Tawazun Holding, the government-owned investment company that specialises in defence manufacturing, technology and capability development, is among many companies that have been working to build a manufacturing base in the UAE. During IDEX 2011, it had announced it will acquire 26 per cent of the shares in International Golden Group (IGG). Both have complementary strategies, networks and business models that enable them to align to develop our mutual capabilities in the future. Furthermore, it signed a contract with the UAE Armed Forces worth Dh736 million for 1,000 NIMR vehicles. It also bought an ammunition factory earlier this year from Adcom Systems, a group of 30 plus companies specialising in the manufacturing of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), aerial targets and air traffic radars in the UAE.

Historic Perspectives

Since its inception in 1993, IDEX has grown tremendously to become a globally recognised tri-service defence exhibition and the largest event in the Middle East and Africa. The International Defense Exhibition & Conference, or IDEX, is a biennial arms and defense technology sales exhibition. According to many prestigious regional and international defence journals IDEX is the largest arms exhibition in the Middle East. The business conducted at the 2005 IDEX totaled 2 billion US dollars.

Year on year IDEX continues to attract a growing attention of international decision-makers and key military and government representatives. The strong representation of individuals from the GCC and MENA countries make IDEX a primary mechanism to reach these influential audiences.

Originally launched on February 14th, 1993, with the active participation of more than 350 companies, representing 34 countries, one of the key features of IDEX’ success has been the active participation of a wide range of military delegations. The second in the series, in March 1995, saw the participation of more than 600 companies from 55 countries, with more than 45,000 visitors during the five-day show. The third IDEX, in 1997, was honoured by the visit of H.H. President Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan – the late President of the UAE and Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces – who toured the entire exhibition. IDEX 1999 saw further growth, with 848 companies from 41 countries receiving 70 military delegations.

The fifth IDEX, in 2001, built on this success, attracting 865 companies from 43 countries and numerous delegations led by Heads of State, Ministers of Defence, Chiefs of Staff and Heads of Military Procurement which underlined its unique position in the region and further enhanced the status of the UAE as the host nation. IDEX 2003, the sixth event, maintained the show’s reputation as an important platform for the announcement of military contracts and as a reflection of the strategic importance of the region. In 2005 IDEX continued the successful series with the seventh edition. The event continued to see growth across the show with substantial visitor numbers, exhibitors and delegations participating at the event.

Consolidation in the defence industry was mirrored in exhibitor attendance at IDEX 2007 but the list of international delegates continued to grow and contracts worth more than $545m (Dhs2bn) were announced, including $380m (Dhs1.4bn) signed by the UAE Armed Forces. IDEX 2009 was the 9th edition of the event, took place on the 22-26 February 2009 in Abu Dhabi, UAE at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

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