ABU DHABI --- His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has launched a new advanced technology conglomerate for the UAE defence industry. Formed by consolidating 25 entities, Edge is now the UAE's largest defence company, which will ensure a secure future for everyone, a top official said.
Faisal Al Bannai, CEO and managing director of Edge, said in his maiden speech that the new company is necessitated as the world is increasingly engaged in hybrid warfare where battles are fought in cyberspace. He reminded everyone how drone strikes in August halted production at the world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia. "These are the future threats we face. This is the new security reality."
Al Bannai said there was a need to speed up efforts to find innovative solutions.
"Edge is a crucial milestone in the progress of the UAE. It will bring advanced and innovative technologies and services to the market with greater speed and efficiency."
Edge is a commercial entity but owned by the Abu Dhabi government. All companies under Edge cater to the defence and security sector. It includes subsidiaries from Emirates Defence Industries Company, Emirates Advanced Investments Group, Tawazun Holding, and other independent organisations. There may be some joint ventures with international partners.
"The current revenue is over $5 billion. Edge now represents 12,000 talented individuals, who work across 25 companies in five clusters - platforms and systems, weapons and missiles, cyber defence, electronic warfare and intelligence, and mission support."
A glittering event offered a sneak peek into what could hold ahead - quantum robots with armed forces on the battleground, electromagnetic weapons destroying enemies at touch of a button, hypersonic aircrafts with ability to strike anywhere in the world in less than two hours.
"As a single integrated group we have ambitious plans. Edge will be guided by three defining principles - talent, partnerships and disruption delivered in real sense of speed and urgency. We will attract best minds from across the globe. We will work closely with everyone. We will build strategic partnership. We will be willing to co-invest and co-develop. Edge is about practical product development, creating R&D environment, fast decisions without waiting for bureaucracy. This will help the UAE to achieve national sovereignty on critical defense solutions to protect it."
Edge's customers are the UAE Armed Forces and security agencies, and international customers - both from Arab world and other countries. The company will implement advanced technologies such as autonomous capabilities, cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things, advanced propulsion systems, robotics and smart materials, with a focus on artificial intelligence across all its products and services.
Tareq Abdul Raheem Al Hosani, chief executive officer of Tawazun Economic Council, the UAE's Defence Enabler, said: "We are invested in managing the uncertainty that technology brings by adapting our focus and capabilities towards a sustainable defence and security industry. EDGE will help us transform our domestic capabilities, while growing our engagements on defence and security exports."