Navigating Tomorrow’s Defence

EDGE Pioneers Disruptive Defence Solutions for a Secure Future

Khaled Al Zaabi
President- Platforms & Systems,
EDGE

Within a very short period, EDGE Group has witnessed exceptional international growth, consolidating our global position as an industry leader. EDGE boasts an impressive portfolio of 160 innovative systems & solutions developed in just 4 years, representing an incredible 400% increase in production and development since its inception. “ We are continuing to aggressively pursue our product development roadmap and we are fast becoming the partner of choice in the domains of autonomous systems, smart weapons, electronic warfare and secure communications for clients around the world. We are excited to be participating in our first-ever edition of Eurosatory, where we aim to demonstrate our comprehensive understanding of the European security landscape while showcasing our solutions which we tailor seamlessly to the requirements of the region,” said Khaled Al Zaabi, President- Platforms & Systems, EDGE. In an interview with Arabian Defence, he talks about EDGE’s latest operations, plans, and participation in Eurosatory 2024.

With increasing geopolitical challenges, how does EDGE Group envision the future of defence innovation and collaboration? Where does EDGE stand in the global defence arena?
While today’s security landscape has become increasingly volatile, it is important to understand that major geopolitical events are simply beyond our control. Instead, our focus has been to develop our partnerships across our global supply chain and act as the driving force for developing the UAE’s defence ecosystem.
I would also recall that our mandate – set by the UAE government – is strictly to identify the best technology providers and deliver the most advantageous capabilities to our customers.
With this objective in mind, we are consistently aligning our offerings with the rapid growth of defence innovation and evolving military strategies. We are also investing significant resources into the acquisition and development of autonomous systems, smart weapons, electronic warfare, and secure communications, to adapt and meet the specific needs of each customer in the region.
This approach has translated into exceptional growth in the last 4 years – since our inception – and I am proud to say that we are one of the world’s fastest-growing advanced technology and defence companies, with over 160 innovative systems and solutions developed in this timeframe and a global footprint spanning more than 50 countries across 5 continents.

Can you highlight some of EDGE’s recent developments or advancements in defence technology in the aerial and UAV sectors?
We offer an extensive range of over 36 autonomous aerial solutions, each developed to fulfill diverse mission objectives. While our suite of capabilities allows each of our customers to select the most suitable options tailored to their specific needs, what unites all of our products and services is their state-of-the-art development, quality, and performance; reflecting our commitment to driving cutting-edge solutions and meeting the evolving requirements of our international clients in the defence and security sectors.
Among our extensive cutting-edge UAV solutions, I would draw your attention to the REACH-M, a fixed-wing, medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned combat aerial vehicle designed for ISR and ground-attack operations; the REACH-S, a medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle for enhanced surveillance missions; the SINYAR, a large, jet-powered, fixed-wing unmanned aircraft developed after our acquisition of FLARIS, offering intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance capabilities; and lastly, our HT-100, an advanced multi-role unmanned helicopter acquired through our majority stake in ANAVIA, featuring a unique Flettner double rotor system for higher payloads and increased flight stability.

Cybertech and electronic warfare are crucial in the modern era and countries are heavily investing in these technologies. What are EDGE’s latest operations in these domains?
Cybersecurity and electronic warfare are pivotal technologies to master in today’s security landscape, as such we’ve made significant investments and taken actionable steps to reflect our offerings in keeping with this global trend.
Our acquisition of ORYXLABS has expanded our cybersecurity portfolio, offering award-winning solutions that effectively monitor IT landscapes and identify vulnerabilities.
Meanwhile, KATIM, our secure communications entity provides our customers with ultra-secure smartphones to post-quantum network encryptors, ensuring sensitive data remains secure and that important digital assets are not at risk from cyber-attacks.
In addition to this, we’ve developed advanced intelligence systems for law enforcement and homeland security, through our national security wing BEACON RED – which ensures the most advanced and comprehensive suite of training and services programmes on the market.
Finally, our entity SIGN4L, has been our go-to player for all electronic attack, protection and support products, in addition to intelligence solutions and cutting-edge counter UAV capabilities.
We are also rapidly expanding our partnerships in this area, with our recent joint venture with Spain’s Indra Sistemas (Indra). The agreement will see the new Abu Dhabi-based JV develop and manufacture next-generation radar systems in the UAE, opening a pipeline of orders for approximately 300 advanced radar solutions.
Delivering end-to-end maritime solutions and systems has been one of the mainstays of the EDGE group. What are the latest offerings in the sector and how do you evolve to meet the new demands and challenges in the industry?
We play a critical role in developing the most cutting-edge maritime systems available in the UAE and beyond. Our naval arm, Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB), has been specialised in the building, repair, maintenance, refit, and conversion of naval and commercial vessels for almost 30 years. As a result, we have one of the most experienced shipyards in the region. We are also one of the most advanced, adopting the latest naval technology – including autonomous capabilities – to maximise our fleet readiness and position our suite of products with the very best end-to-end maritime solutions.
One of our latest ventures includes the launch of MAESTRAL, a shipbuilding joint venture with Italy’s Fincantieri, one of the largest shipbuilding companies in the world, which will see the creation of a naval manufacturing pipeline worth 30 billion euros. We have already secured a 400 million euro order for 10 high-performance 51m Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs).
In addition to this, we also recently sold several HT-100s, our Swiss entity ANAVIA’s multi-role unmanned performance helicopters, for integration onto our vessels as part of one of our major export programmes with a key international client.
Another of our entities, SIATT, a high-tech system specialist, was also recently awarded a strategic pilot project to supply secure communications technology for the surveillance and protection of Brazil’s entire coastal infrastructure – playing an integral role in the national maritime protection programme.

What sets EDGE Group apart from other defence industry players, and what competitive advantages does it offer? How does EDGE Group contribute to enhancing the defence capabilities of its clients and partners globally?
What’s important to note is that we – in a very short span of time – have witnessed exceptional international growth, consolidating our global position as an industry leader. We boast an impressive portfolio of 160 innovative systems & solutions developed in just 4 years, representing an incredible 400% increase in production and development since our inception.
And we have no plans of stopping here. We are continuing to aggressively pursue our product development roadmap and we are fast becoming the partner of choice in the domains of autonomous systems, smart weapons, electronic warfare and secure communications for clients around the world.
Over the last two years, we have completed acquisitions of 13 successful companies, many of which specialise in the development and production of autonomous air, land, and sea systems.
I believe our meteoric success is attributed to our unique approach to defence, which prioritises the customer above all else. We provide our clients with the latest technology tailored to their evolving needs, all at competitive prices and with accessibility in mind. This achievement is also thanks to the diverse talent we recruit from around the globe, which helps us incorporate a wide range of skills and experience.

Can you tell us about EDGE Group’s participation in Eurosatory and what the company hopes to achieve at the event? What innovative defence solutions or technologies is EDGE Group showcasing at Eurosatory this year?
We are excited to be participating in our first-ever edition of Eurosatory, where we aim to demonstrate our comprehensive understanding of the European security landscape, while showcasing our solutions which we tailor seamlessly to the requirements of the region.
It is important to understand that operational readiness, international supply chain reinforcement, as well as access to advanced autonomous aerial systems and cyber defence infrastructure, is a critical priority for our European customers. With these regional needs in mind, we will be showcasing our extensive suite of land and aerospace systems – including next-generation UAVs and smart weapons, a broad range of arms and ammunition capabilities, and state-of-the-art cyber defence and electronic warfare capabilities.
Before we move on to another topic, let me add that our focus for Eurosatory is also to strengthen the partnerships we currently enjoy with some of the region’s major players, to reinforce our European presence through exports, grow local supply chains and assist in the development of national defence capabilities.
Of course, as a world-leading advanced technology and defence group, we are keen to discover and solidify new investment opportunities, especially in Europe, which we regard as a market of historic and important value within the defence and advanced technology sector. By deepening our European ties, we can be certain of accelerating knowledge exchange and providing further commercial and technological advantages, generated through mutually beneficial partnerships.

How important is Europe as a market for EDGE? Can you elaborate on the existing operations and collaborations in the region?
As I said, Europe is a market of significant value and interest for us, and you’ll find that our track record of investments and partnerships with European players strongly reflects this position.
One of our biggest European investments to date was our acquisition of MILREM ROBOTICS, our Estonia-based entity and one of Europe’s leading developers of robotics and autonomous systems. Our flagship products, the THeMIS UGV and Type-X RCV, represent some of the most cutting-edge multi-role defence platforms which can be deployed to support a wide variety of missions and reduce the number of troops on the battlefield.
Our other acquisitions of European companies include FLARIS, a Polish aviation company, which boasts the impressive SINYAR, a large, jet-powered, fixed-wing unmanned aircraft designed for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions.
We also recently acquired a majority stake in ANAVIA, a Swiss company and global leader in vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned systems. ANAVIA’s HT-100 is an advanced multi-role unmanned intermeshing-rotor helicopter that stands out with its unique Flettner double-rotor system.
Other European ventures include our recent agreement with Spain’s Indra Sistemas (Indra), to develop and manufacture next-generation radar systems in the UAE, significantly expanding our capabilities. As I mentioned before, we have also recently launched MAESTRAL, a joint shipbuilding venture worth 30 billion euros with Italy’s Fincantieri, as well as having already announced a first major order for 10 naval vessels.

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