Several Israeli arms majors, including Israeli Weapons Industries (IWI), Israeli shipyards and Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) will be participating in the International Defence Exhibition (IDEX) to be held in Abu Dhabi from February 21-25 2021.
The names of these Israeli arms suppliers figure in the list of IDEX 2021 exhibitors released by the show organizers so far.
This will be the first time Israeli firms would be participating in any of the Arab Middle East’s weapons shows- such as the Dubai Air Show, IDEX and events in Jordan and Lebanon.
The IDEX arms fair- dealing with land and naval systems is considered the biggest in the Middle East with firms from the United States to China and Russia vying for a share of the UAE’s arms budget, the biggest in the region after that of Saudi Arabia.
Booking for the fair has been robust despite fear of the COVID-10 pandemic with tens of firms listed either directly or through country-specific pavilions. Country pavilions include that of the United States, Russia, China, Israel and South Korea among others.
In addition to arms sales to the UAE, the new friendship treaty between the UAE and Israel should make the UAE the starting point for Israeli arms firms to tap the Arab Middle East market.
The UAE on its part is trying to become a weapons manufacturing hub and partnering with Israeli firms should hold it in good stead as it seeks to increase its non-oil revenue. Abu Dhabi based company, EDGE is being marketed as a one-stop-shop for manufacturing partnerships in the UAE.
In addition to some of the Israeli biggies such as IAI and IWI, some of the others companies listed in the Israeli Pavilion include Imco Industries and ISM Safes.
While the show was announced only last month, the number of exhibitors registered so far is not surprising- considering that IDEX is one event where contracts are announced daily during the show period.
Weapons originating from the UAE have been found in use in the Libyan civil war and the UAE has participated on the side of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen against the Iran-supported Houti majority. This indicates a robust market for the re-supply of munitions to the UAE.
The UAE is known to acquire cutting edge weapons despite the cost and its recent US approval of F-35 jets and MQ-9 drones is a testimony to that policy. Since many Israel-made weapons can be fitted on to US-made platforms in service with the UAE, Israeli companies should be looking forward to lucrative deals from the UAE.