x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Growing fleet of exhibitors dock at Idex's expanded naval section

Idex 2013: Two years ago, there were only 60 companies showcasing their products and services, yet this year there are 80 companies from 15 different countries.

The Abu Dhabi Class corvette naval warship on display at Idex. Sammy Dallal / The National
The Abu Dhabi Class corvette naval warship on display at Idex. Sammy Dallal / The National

Navdex, the naval and maritime security section of Idex, has grown in size.

Two years ago, 60 companies showcased their products and services at the event, but this year 80 companies from 15 different countries are participating.

The display area is also much larger - at 6,500 square metres - and a naval jetty has been developed as well as a floating jetty that can hold up to 15 small boats.

"The daily activities of Navdex has good entertainment starting from 12.30pm to 1.10pm, which includes daily shows of products from different national companies and ending with jetskis," said Col Nasir Al Yafei, the Navdex spokesman.

Among the ships being showcased for the first time to the public are the Baynunah class vessels, built in the UAE by Abu Dhabi Ship Building and the Abu Dhabi class, built in Italy by Al Fattan-Fincantieri.

"The need for these ships are in accordance with the needs and requirements of the UAE Navy," said Col Al Yafei. "We feel proud and thrilled of the opening of this exhibition, which included many local companies."

He added: "Navdex gives a good opportunity for students of different universities a variety of choices to know companies of different sections, such as engineering, marketing and administration.

"And it is a chance for the Armed Forces officers to increase their knowledge in the latest technology, weapons, platforms and tools."

The exhibition also features a number of speakers, such as Ibrahim Al Musharrakh, the commander of the UAE Naval Forces, vice admiral Jon W Miller, commander of the United States fifth fleet, and vice admiral P A Jones, fleet commander of the UK royal navy.

"They talk about different aspects of maritime security and the relationship of shipbuilders, local companies and their role to support the navy," said Col Al Yafei.

The Abu Dhabi class 90-metre anti-submarine ship is the biggest warship owned by the UAE Navy. Designed and built in Italy, it took just 18 months to complete - a record in shipbuilding.

"It is a unique ship because it was an integration of air defence systems, surface defence systems and underwater defence systems," said Amro Gamil, a manager at Al Fattan. "This ship is also presenting the first of its class to serve within the UAE Navy fleet."

The combat system found in the Abu Dhabi class ship is similar to the one found in theBaynunah class, yet more developed and advanced, with a multifunctional radar and unmounted sonar.

There are three other boats on display at Navdex's outer jetty, one of them being a 10-metre surface vessel powered by an outboard engine fitted with video cameras. It provides harbour monitoring and protection from a ground station, Mr Gamil said.

The 15-metre patrol boat, which is used to conduct coastal search and rescue missions, and the 13.5-metre interceptor, which deals with coastal threats, are the other Al Fattan ships on the jetty.

"These boats have an important role in providing security all over the coastline of the United Arab Emirates," said Mr Gamil.

aalkhoori@thenational.ae