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IDEX 2015 and Its Multiplier Effects

Mehmood Ul hassan Khan


The 12th International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) 2015 were held in UAE, Abu Dhabi during February 22-26, 2012. According to official of IDEX around 1,200 companies from 56 countries, 159 official delegations, 100,000 visitors and18 exhibitors were present, representing the strength of international business competition in the growing market of the Middle East. According to Staff Major General Obaid Al Ketbi, Chairman, IDEX organising committee this year IDEX saw 6 new countries participating these include: Japan, Republic of Bosnia, Latvia, New Zealand, Slovenia, and Azerbaijan.


The next edition of IDEX will take place from 19 to 23 February 2017, has already received great interest from exhibitors and visitors. UMEX, the latest edition to IDEX, will also return to Abu Dhabi in 2016 as a stand-alone exhibition and conference, opening its doors to visitors and exhibitors keen on staying abreast with the latest trends in the field on unmanned systems defence sector.

IDEX: Strategically Important Tri-Service Defence Exhibition

The International Defence Exhibition and Conference, IDEX 2015, is the most strategically important tri-service defence exhibition in the world. IDEX is the only international defence exhibition and conference in the MENA region demonstrating the latest technology across land, sea and air sectors of defence. It is a unique platform to establish and strengthen relationships with government departments, businesses and armed forces throughout the region.

Defence Innovation and Technology Conference (DITEC)

The 25th and 26th of February was dedicated to discuss and highlight breakthrough defence technologies and innovations of the future at the inaugural Defence Innovation and Technology Conference (DITEC). It was hosted by Abu Dhabi Technology Development Committee (TDC) and endorsed by the Ministry of Defence of the United Arab Emirates. DITEC featured the world’s foremost experts in the field of defence research, technology, and innovation.

Main Focus of DITEC-2015

The focus of DITEC 2015 was to discuss defence innovation, advanced technologies, and R&D programs. Opportunities and best practices for collaboration between governments, industry, and academia to advance innovation were also discussed. Other key highlights of DITEC were the exploration of ways to apply military innovations and technology in the civilian sector, intellectual property protection, and future requirements for military forces worldwide.

Ideal Combination of IDEX, NAVDEX & UMEX

It is undoubtedly one of the world’s leading joint defence exhibitions, and certainly the largest in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Middle East and Africa (MENA). It showcased the very latest technology, insight and innovation that currently denes the modern defence industry. Its scope, importance and utility has already been enhanced due to the introduction of NAVDEX in 2011 (3rd edition) and the first edition of the Unmanned Systems Exhibition (UMEX). IDEX, NAVDEX and UMEX are the regional largest military, naval, maritime and unmanned system exhibition.



The exhibition also offered the marine vessels NAVDEX, showing many innovations in the field of sea-protection to secure the coastline, in addition to other developments in the maritime defence sector from major manufacturers of ships, frigates and submarines.

Main Theme

It was dedicated to the theme of maritime security in all its forms, NAVDEX showcased naval defence systems, maritime security equipment, and all elements of military operations from over many worldwide, defence-related contractors. Exhibits included dynamic displays on the waterfront alongside the Exhibition Centre as well as the numerous static and interactive stands within the building itself and across the Arabian Gulf waters.

The third edition of NAVDEX-2015 witnessed 20 exhibitors, spread over 3,401 sq. meters. It saw 11 visiting, 3 UAE navy ships that included the Baynunah, HMS Shoreham, USS Carl Vinson and FS Andromede among others. Visitors engaged with 99 international and local companies from 23 countries participating spread over 7 national pavilions at NAVDEX.



His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai explained the multiplier effects of IDEX by saying “The UAE does not look at the exhibitions of Abu Dhabi International Defence, IDEX, and Dubai Civil Aviation, as platforms for arms, but rather it considers them in purely commercial, tourist and technical terms, to showcase all that is new in the military technology of defensive weapons to protect the land and national wealth”, stressing that the two exhibitions are twin and complementary to each other in the qualitative development and global fame.

IDEX: A Hub of Defence Strategies & Equipment

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed continued, “IDEX is gaining widespread importance and fame among countries and manufacturers and producers companies of weapons and defence equipment, because it represents a window to these countries, for international companies to see through it to the region’s markets. It represents a platform to showcase the latest products of manufacturers and the military-industrial technology companies to researchers about all that is new from countries and governments in the region to provide their armed forces with equipment and defensive weapons they need to defend and protect their territorial integrity, their independence and their national wealth.”

Multiplier Effects of IDEX

He rightly highlighted that the continuity of IDEX in its momentum and development, and the size of the turnout of countries, companies, factories, and individuals, also demonstrates its success as an economic, technical and touristic event worldwide, which has its place at the level of trade and the global exhibition industry and it has its weight as a civilized Forum in which its visitors can be briefed on the civilization of our people and to the oldest and latest historical landmarks of our country and our Islamic Arab customs and cultures.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan


His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, assured that the UAE is moving ahead steadily to deliver more developmental achievements and gains at the hands of its citizens and powered by its ability, strong determination and confident vision thanks to Allah and to the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

IDEX: A Resounding Success and Evolution

He indicated that hosting IDEX, which has a history of resounding success and evolution, underpins the supremacy of the UAE in the event management industry and the high trust the world has placed on the UAE’s ability not only in hosting major and large international events but also in its leadership when it comes to organisation, management and participation.

Sheikh Mohamed underscored that the UAE has proven its leadership in organising and hosting international exhibitions and conferences, thus taking an advanced position globally.


IDEX success is a witness of great power of Abu Dhabi and UAE in holding regional and international specialised events. It has been the policy of the UAE to promote its own local military/defence production industry for the best solutions of its protection from any kind of aggression since its inception. The International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) have now counted amongst the most established and prestigious international defence shows/exhibitions which provided an excellent opportunity for the manufactures to share expertise and technological achievements and enhance their global presence.

Large Participation

The grand opening ceremony of IDEX 2015 was attended by a high-profile officials, foreign delegations and ministers. Large numbers of senior civilian and military officials along with defence ministers, chiefs of staff, top commanders as well as VIP guests, dignitaries, diplomats and leaders of the world defence industry attended the opening ceremony today.

UAE local Companies Participation


More than 170 local companies of the UAE participated in the IDEX 2015 that occupied 12500 sqm from the total area of the exhibitors which came to 13300 sqm while national pavilions came to 42 pavilion that spread over the area and Tawazun was one the most important companies as the total area of its pavilion was 3312 sqm. The United States stood first occupying an area of 4698 sqm.

IDEX and UAE Economic Diversification Drive

It was another giant step towards economic diversification as desired by Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. It highlighted UAE advancements in the fields of aerospace and defence. Local companies of the UAE especially Abu Dhabi achieved significant progress in these areas, establishing the foundations of an industry that would support economic development for decades to come.

Along with sectors such as finance, trade and tourism, defence is rapidly becoming a key plank in efforts to wean the economy away from dependence on hydrocarbons. The defence sector is one of the main cornerstones of the UAE’s diversification efforts,” said Ali Majed Al Mansoori, the chairman of Abu Dhabi’s Department of Economic Development.

IDEX and UAE Domestic Defence and Military Industries

Due to IDEX UAE has now become the forefront of defence and military industries in the region which would reduce the country’s dependence on oil and on imports from foreign countries of such weapons. Its military industries had established international reputation with capabilities ranging from air to land to maritime and manufacturing. Its military Industries have pursued more sophisticated, high tech capabilities, benefiting from joint ventures with major international companies that has led to technology transfer and helped increase Emirati experience and skills.

Salient Features of UAE Defence Industries

The UAE defence industries cover the production of a wide range of products including portable arms, ammunition, naval vessels (construction and repair) and inflatable boats, aircraft systems (unmanned, structural parts, spare parts, engine maintenance and repair, ground support equipment), vehicles and vehicle superstructures. The IDEX 2015 was a great boost for its local defence industry. It helped to create partnerships without running into too many bureaucratic hurdles. Sellers and buyers meet directly and they finalised the deals on spot.

It boosted its domestic defence industry which can compete and match with regional or any international companies. It provided an ideal platform to UAE local defence industry. Its defence exports may be increased in the GCC & MENA because a larger number of the UAE local defence manufactures participated in the IDEX 2015.

It further developed its service sector. Facilitations process with regard of fairly economical cost as compare to individual company trips in the exhibitions may also be speeded up. It facilitated manufacturers and suppliers of defence and security technology in securing contacts and contracts within the Middle East and surrounding regions. The chances of transfer of technology would become higher afterwards.

Creation of Emirates Defence Industries Company (EDIC)


The UAE is boosting its defence sector through the creation of a new state champion, Emirates Defence Industries Company (EDIC), and offset agreements with major international arms companies to help develop sector-specific expertise. EDIC is made up of 11 companies worth Dh3.2bn and accounting for 4,800 workers that were formerly the subsidiaries of Mubadala, Tawazun and Emirates Advanced Investment Group (EAIG), including Al Taif Technical Services, Tawazun Dynamics and Global Aerospace Logistics.

The country devotes about US$20 billion of its budget to military spending. That puts it in 15th place among the world’s big military spenders. But national security is not the only reason for this level of expenditure.

Organizational Features

EDIC consists of Mubadala, Tawazun, and Emirates Advanced Industries in December 2014. The merger “creates significant opportunities for industry growth. It means that “the domestic defence industry will produce increasing numbers of state- of-the-art products for export, which will boost the country’s manufacturing and skills base”.

Sixteen business units, including the Advanced Military Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Centre, previously owned by Mubadala, and Caracal Light Ammunition, previously owned by Tawazun, is the part of the new entity.

IDEX-2015 and UAE Deals & Agreements and MOUs

According to officials, UAE announced 33 deals worth AED18.33 billion (USD4.99 billion) at the IDEX 2015 a significant jump on the AED14 billion in orders announced at the previous show in 2013. It ordered another two Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifters for AED2.273 billion. The UAE already has six C-17s in service. It also ordered nine helicopters from AugustaWestland for AED732 million. Six will be for search and rescue purposes and three for VIP use. All the aircraft would be AW139s.

IDEX-2015 and UAE Armed Forces

Moreover, the UAE Armed Forces has signed 20 deals valued at Dh9.48 billion with local and foreign firms to buy drones, military vehicles, two satellites, fast patrol boats and other hardware. Maj-Gen Obaid Al Ketbi, spokesman for the UAE General Headquarters, said that the UAE Armed Forces signed a deal with Al Taif Technical Services, a government-owned entity, to provide repairs and maintenance to the vehicles in a contract worth Dh2.2 billion.

BAE Systems and Dassault Aviation

The UAE is still in talks with both BAE Systems and Dassault Aviation over the possible multi-billion-dollar purchase of fighter jets. European companies Airbus and Thales signed a Dh3.745 billion deal for the UAE to purchase two satellites and their land control stations.

Abu Dhabi-based company Nimr Automobile Company

Abu Dhabi-based company Nimr Automobile Company received an order to supply 500 Nimr 8×8 armored military vehicles and develop another 500 vehicles in a deal valued at Dh1.2 billion.

Airbus Defence and Thales Alenia

Airbus Defence and Thales Alenia have been awarded contracts to supply military satellites worth Dh3.745 billion, while Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems has been given a contract to supply drones valued at Dh490 million.

Abu Dhabi Ship Building Company

Another government-owned firm, Abu Dhabi Ship Building Company, won a deal worth Dh870 million to build two naval vessels for the UAE Navy.


Ammroc, a Mubadala unit that provides repairs and maintenance to fighter jets, cargo aircraft and helicopters, will supply spares and provide overhauling, repairs and maintenance to the aircraft fleet in a contract worth Dh200 million.

Abu Dhabi-based private company Al Jabr Land Systems

Abu Dhabi-based private company Al Jabr Land Systems got a deal to supply spares valuing Dh83 million, while Rosnbauer International, an Australian firm, will supply 14 fire tenders in a contract worth Dh24 million.

Abu Dhabi-based company Al Fattan Ship Building

Al Fattan Ship Building, an Abu Dhabi-based company, has won a contract to build eight patrol boats in a deal valued at Dh18.5 million, while Russian firm KBP Technical will provide anti-armor equipment for Dh22 million.

Elettronica Spa Italian

A deal was signed with Elettronica Spa Italian to provide technical backing, maintenance and development of mobile electronic defense equipment. The contract is valued at Dh96 million.

International Golden Group

International Golden Group, a leading arms supplier based in Abu Dhabi, got a contract to supply mortars worth Dh52 million, while Cubic Simulation Systems, got a deal to provide simulators valuing Dh21 million. A contract was awarded to the Abu Dhabi Airport Company to provide technical support for aircrafts worth Dh70 million.

Best Performers from UAE

UAE Local Companies Utility/Performance
Tawazun Tawazun Holding remained the most prominent during IDEX-2015. In a short period after its establishment in 2007, Tawazun managed to occupy a prestigious position in and out of the UAE as an industrial investment company.
ADASI Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investments (ADASI) is considered one of the UAE’s most important companies, operating in the field of defence industries and unmanned systems. The most imperative service provided by ADASI to the UAE Armed Forces is the Al Sabr programme, which provides the UAE Air Force with a fleet of autonomous aerial vehicles. ‪
ADSB Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB) is one of the leading companies in the field of construction, maintenance and repair and refurbishment of naval, military and commercial vessels. ADSB was founded in 1996 and supports the maintenance needed for the naval warship fleet of the UAE. The company holds an impressive portfolio of build and refit projects that are collectively worth at least Dh3 billion.
Al Taif It is one of the leading providers specialising in maintenance and repair services for land defence systems across the UAE and the Gulf region. Al Taif offers an integrated life cycle support for armoured combat vehicles such as tanks, as well as heavy ground support equipment.
AMMROC The Advanced Military Maintenance Repair Overhaul Centre (AMMROC) is a joint venture company owned by Mubadala Development Company, Sikorsky Aerospace Services and Lockheed Martin to provide the best services in the field of maintenance, repair and overhaul of military aircraft, and a wide range of fixed-wing rotary aircrafts in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.
Skyline Aviation Academy
It is one of the leading and pioneering organisations responsible for training pilots to fly commercial, military and vertical aircraft, which are headquartered at Al Ain International Airport. Skyline Aviation Academy has achieved more than 70,000 flight hours and up to 500 pilots and trainers have graduated.
Bayanat It was extablished in 1974. It is a leading company offering various services for military troops and civilians. It is a wholly owned Mubadala company that was born from the commercialisation of the UAE Armed Forces Military Survey Department. The company specialises in offering dedicated mapping and surveying solutions and was established after a long transformational process to change the military mapping services belonging to the Emirates Armed Forces
Strata shapes It is wholly-owned by Mubadala, Strata works to meet the demands of the 21st-century aerospace industry. Strata has formed strategic partnerships with aircraft OEMs and combines leading-edge technology, best-practice manufacturing processes, an integrated supply chain and a high-calibre workforce. Strata has made many partnerships with leading companies that manufacture aircrafts, including Eads/Airbus, The Boeing Company, Finmeccanica, Alenia Aeronautica, Sabca and FACC.
Source: Different Daily English Newspapers of UAE

Al Dhafra: Pride of the UAE Navy

The first warship model fully manufactured by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) “Baynunah” was also staged in NAVDEX-2015. The first type was built in France in 2004, however the UAE Ministry of Defence commissioned an upgraded vessel to be built in Abu Dhabi, to form the backbone of the UAE Navy.

UAE First Warship

Baynunah was the first warship of this model and size to be fully manufactured, not just in the UAE but across the Arab World. The warship embodies the vision realized by the UAE Ministry of Defence and Navy in the new millennium to innovate and evolve the Nation’s knowledge and skills development in the feat of building modern warships and other vessels. The Abu Dhabi Shipbuilding Company (ADSB) was selected as the manufacturer of the new version of Baynunah military ship, rolling out the first fleet in 2011.

Physical Features

The steel body length of Baynunah is approximately 70 meters and 11 meters wide, with a displacement of 950 tons, as well as a hull measuring 3 meters, providing the ship with the ability to navigate shallow water. The hull and lower parts of the ship are made using both steel and aluminum components to support the required balance and the ability to reflect radar waves.

A Modern and Innovative Engineering Design

Baynunah’s modern and innovative engineering design also credited the ship with the ability to resist gale-force sea waves, and is also characterized with high flexibility and the ability to maneuver using three jet engines and four diesel engines. Elsewhere, new technologies allow for water suction and compression which is then expelled quickly through the jet channels, a design attributed to jet aircraft, as opposed to conventional ships that rely on traditional fans. Baynunah is able to reach sailing speeds of up to 32 knots to cover more than 2,400 nautical miles in one outing.

Pakistan and IDEX-2015

Pakistan also participated in IDEX-2015. Pakistan’s Minister for Defence Production, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) of Pakistan Army General Raheel Sharif, and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah, along with other senior officials of the Pakistani Armed Forces visited the said event.

The delegation visited various stands of exhibitors before arriving at Pakistan Ordinance factory, POF, pavilion where Ambassador of Pakistan in the UAE, Asif Durrani welcomed the visitors.

Chief of Army staff visited the stalls of different countries including China, Pakistan and Russia and attended IDEX conference. During his visit he also held meetings with chief of UAE armed forces, General Hamad Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi and many other senior military officers of UAE. According to ISPR, General Raheel discussed affairs about mutual interest of cooperation and collaboration in defense sector between the two states along with the security issues in the region.

UAE military officers appreciated the participation of Pakistan in war against terrorism, especially the success achieved in operation Zarb-e-Azb. They also articulate their interest to boost the cooperation between two counties in the field of Military training.

Concluding Remarks

The defence industry is one of the core pillars of Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. The IDEX 2015 provided many opportunities to demonstrate the growing capacity of the defence and security industries sector.

The International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX 2015), the third Naval Defence & Maritime Security Exhibition (NAVDEX) and the first edition of the Unmanned Systems Exhibition (UMEX) concluded with deals worth Dh 18.328 billion.

The 12th edition of IDEX received an overwhelming and positive response from exhibitions, visitors and partners with almost 50 percent of indoor and outdoor exhibition space sold out for 2017. IDEX-2015 saw more than 100,000 visitors and 159 delegates participating in the event and the conferences. The number of exhibitors soared to 1,200 international and local companies participating companies from 56 countries. Filling 133,000m2 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), IDEX, NAVDEX and UMEX provided a platform to showcase emerging technology, equipment, trends and strategy.

IDEX has multiplier effects to UAE economy, tourism and service industries. It further brightens its national drive of economic diversification in right direction. It boosts its domestic defence and military production industries. It encourages science and technology knowledge among the Emiratis. It promotes its massive industrialization in the country. It strengthens its space orientation. It encourages Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in the different sectors of national survival and production.

IDEX has also some very important strategically posturing too. It is a clear-cut message to all bad wishers of the UAE to stay away from it because it is ever-ready for any kind of misadventure. Thanks to Allah and to the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

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