x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Idex focus turns to growing local industry

This year's International Defence Exhibition (Idex) has spawned several educational and training programmes for Emiratis, an indication of the country's plans to develop a local skill set for the defence industry.

ABU DHABI // This year’s International Defence Exhibition (Idex) has spawned several educational and training programmes for Emiratis, an indication of the country’s plans to develop a local skill set for the defence industry.

The Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, a Dubai and Beirut-based think tank, this week announced the launch of a competition for Emirati university students to design, build, test and pilot unmanned aerial vehicles. The contest is being billed as the first of its kind in the UAE.

Engineers from the American defence giant Northrop Grumman, the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) and Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investment (Adasi), a local company, will assist the students. The competition will take place on May 4-5 in the capital.

The HCT launched a systems engineering specialisation on Tuesday as part of its Master of Engineering programme. The module will be delivered by Johns Hopkins University, and the agreement was arranged by another American defence company, Raytheon.

The first part of the arrangement will see Johns Hopkins provide the curriculum and an instructor. The learning institutions will launch the foundation course in the new graduate engineering programme this year.

Lockheed Martin also announced this week that it would set up a joint training programme with Knowledge Point, a UAE subsidiary, to provide military, security services and civil training to Emiratis in the industry, a process that would “support the Emiratisation policy through the transfer of knowledge, skills and technology into the UAE”, said Doug Greenlaw, a senior Lockheed Martin executive.

The UAE says that education and the transfer of expertise to local engineers is a crucial part of its armament strategy.

kshaheen@thenational.ae