Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 June 2019

Idex 2019: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed watch spectacular opening display

Performance jets screamed overhead as the annual defence exhibition began in front of the UAE Vice President and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince

The UAE's leaders and visiting heads of state watched a spectacular opening ceremony as Abu Dhabi's annual defence show got under way on Sunday.

A Khaleeji bagpipe band and a stunning aerial display by the seven jets of the Al Fursan performance team were part of the morning's events.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander of the Armed Forces, were among the hundreds of spectators at the purpose-built parade ground at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

Sheikh Mohamed tweeted images of himself alongside Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, while Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the Crown Prince of Dubai, was also in attendance.

Among the foreign dignitaries was the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Organisers of the event expect UAE defence deals to exceed Dh19 billion in the coming days.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed, Vice Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, described Idex in a tweet as a "unique economic, technological and military event that brings the world together again in the UAE".

He posted a video of UAE Founder Father Sheikh Zayed touring what appears to be an earlier version of the event.

Updated: February 17, 2019 06:19 PM