x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Raytheon sets up unit for UAE partnerships

Raytheon is pusuing joint ventures with UAE firms in the fields of data management, missile maintenance and satellite imaging.

Paris // Raytheon, the US defence giant, has formed a subsidiary to drive forward the company's joint ventures in the UAE spanning satellite imaging, encrypted data management and missile maintenance.

The new company, called Izdehar, or "prosperity" in Arabic, is expected to help the publicly traded contractor comply with US regulations for setting up joint ventures abroad. It comes at a time when US defence companies are increasingly partnering the UAE's nascent defence industry as an offshoot of defence sales.

"Izdehar is designed for us to hold the 49 per cent joint venture stakes in those companies we form in the UAE by way of offsets obligations," said Kevin Massengill, a vice president of Raytheon and its regional executive for Middle East and North Africa.

The subsidiary is being registered in the US state of Delaware and is designed to help Raytheon build up partnerships with companies including Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB), Emirates Advanced Investments (EAI) and Yahsat satellite communications company.

Raytheon is one of the biggest US defence and aerospace technology suppliers to the UAE military, with contracts that include a multibillion-dollar deal for the Patriot defensive missile shield system in 2008.

Its work with Yahsat includes a plan to sell satellite data. "The idea is to create a company that sells imagery to the worldwide market," Mr Massengill said.

It is setting up a missile maintenance company with ADSB to service the UAE military's arsenal of naval missiles rather than sending the armaments back to the US for usually lengthy and costly repairs.

The plans are similar to a Raytheon proposal to team up with EAI and Lockheed Martin of the US to form a company that services the UAE's Patriot missilesscheduled for delivery next year.

Both ADSB and Yahsat are owned by Mubadala Development, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government.

Raytheon is also in talks with another Mubadala subsidiary, Injazat, to set up a company that handles classified data network information on behalf of the UAE Government.

Most of Raytheon's business in this field comes from security agencies in the US including the CIA and the National Security Agency, and comes as high-tech companies, such as Sony and Lockheed Martin, have been the target of cyber attacks.

The work involves managing "petabytes of classified data" on behalf of its government customers, added Mr Massengill.

A petabyte is equivalent to 1,024 terabytes - the first 20 years worth of observations by the Hubble Space Telescope has amassed about 45 terabytes of data.

Typically, forming joint ventures abroad "is a process that a big regulated US company finds difficult," Mr Massengill said.

igale@thenational.ae