Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 5 July 2020

Idex 2019: Lockheed Martin, Diehl and Saab target UAE as launch customer for Falcon Missile

Defence firms unveiled the Falcon short and medium range missile at Idex

A Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 60 Desert Falcon. Lockheed Martin is the largest arms producer in the world: in 2018 its share of total Top 100 arms sales was 11 per cent and its arms sales grew by 5.2 per cent. Bloomberg News
A Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 60 Desert Falcon. Lockheed Martin is the largest arms producer in the world: in 2018 its share of total Top 100 arms sales was 11 per cent and its arms sales grew by 5.2 per cent. Bloomberg News

US defence firm Lockheed Martin and security firms Diehl Defence and Saab have unveiled Falcon, a short and medium range air defense system, for which they hope the UAE will be the first customer.

The new missile system was developed in response to a request from the UAE, which seeks to replace Lockheed’s Hawk Air Defense System, the company said at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) show in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

“Our international customers are looking for the next generation short and medium range air defense solution – Falcon is threat-driven and ready now,” said Scott Arnold, Lockheed Martin’s vice-president and deputy head of Integrated Air and Missile Defense.

The Falcon missile is an example of Lockheed’s work with customers to “identify potential gaps and find rapid-response solutions to take on today’s evolving threats”, he added.

Diehl is the defence arm of German technology firm Diehl Group, while Sweden-based Saab provides military defence and civil security products and solutions.

Falcon integrates Diehl’s 40-kilometer range infra-red imaging system tail and vector-controlled interceptor and vertical launcher, with Saab’s 360-degree Giraffe radar system and Lockheed’s SkyKeeper command and control battle manager, the US firm said in a statement to media on Monday.

It is especially designed to counter threats such as unmanned aerial systems carrying lethal payloads, cruise missiles, and fixed and rotary winged aircraft capable of delivering ordnance at extended ranges.

Bob Harward, chief executive of Lockheed Martin Middle East, told The National on Sunday the firm aims to double the size of its Middle East business by tapping into what it estimates to be $10 billion (Dh36.7bn) worth of defence opportunities in the region.

UAE requirements for Lockheed’s services in 2019 will likely centre on command and control systems, F16 fighter jets, armed Black Hawk helicopters and infrared portable air defence systems, as well as aerospace products, the chief executive said.

Updated: February 18, 2019 01:36 PM

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