Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 July 2019

Idex 2017: UAE will count on technologies to keep terror threats at bay

Traditionally focused on territorial defence, regional militaries are expected to acquire more innovative and cyber-technologies.

The UAE will emphasise the development of defence capabilities through emerging and new technologies as part of a global effort to stay ahead of terror threats, according to Mohammed Al Bawardi, the Minister of State for Defence Affairs.

He also called for closer collaboration between private sector companies and defence institutions.

“[We want] to have technology as an important component in our defence capabilities,” he said.

Mr Al Bawardi was speaking on the inauguration of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference, (Idex) that starts at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre today and runs until Thursday.

Traditionally focused on territorial defence, regional militaries are expected by analysts to acquire more innovative and cyber-technologies. “Now we are seeing the acquisition of … intelligence-gathering platforms and precision-guided munitions and targeting pods,” said Reed Foster, an analyst at IHS Jane’s military capabilities division. He said that was part of a wider push to extend defence capabilities overseas.

The concern among local and international defence personnel is that these technologies are also available to potential attackers. “Our adversaries benefited from a lot of technologies and will continue to do so,” said Brigadier General Mubarak Al Jabri, the head of communications and information technology of the UAE Armed Forces.

Referring to ISIL in Syria and Iraq, he said that terrorists are using civilian technologies to fit their weapons and therefore using technologies in a disruptive and cheaper way.

It is time to integrate security intelligence among various government departments and different governments, he said.

“Preventing adversaries from gaining technologies is not the solution,” Mr Al Jabri said. “What you can do is to start building an international coalition to slow down the procurement and being ahead of them gaining technologies.”

About 100,000 visitors are expected at this year’s Idex, which has as its theme disruptive innovation in the defence and security sectors. Among defence personnel at Idex is Australia’s first defence industry minister Christopher Pyne. He is in the UAE seeking partners to build industry collaboration based on the development of technology and research.

“We are determined to use the defence dollar to drive a higher technology and advanced manufacturing future,” he said.

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Updated: February 18, 2017 04:00 AM

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