Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 7 December 2019

Surprising array of weapons on hand

Engraved gold and chrome plated pistols, sub-machine guns and rifles were on display at the Pakistan Ordnance Factories booth.
Gold and chrome plated weapons displayed by Pakistan Ordnance factories at Idex in Abu Dhabi. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
Gold and chrome plated weapons displayed by Pakistan Ordnance factories at Idex in Abu Dhabi. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

ABU DHABI // Not in the market for a Baynunah-class corvette or an armoured personnel carrier? Idex may still have something for you.

How about a gold-plated rifle, robotic suit or diamond-studded electric motorbike?

Gold and chrome-plated pistols, sub-machineguns and rifles were on display at the Pakistan Ordnance Factories booth at Adnec on Monday.

“Normally we present them to high-level dignitaries but some clients also buy them as collector’s items,” said Usman Bhatti, the company’s director.

“We have different designs we choose from for engravings and we can also engrave the client’s name. Officials from Middle East countries are very fond of these.”

The luxury weapons can cost close to US$1,000, or Dh3,670.

“The chrome is slightly cheaper and they haven’t been used in combat yet. That would spoil them so it’s mainly for collectors,” Mr Bhatti said. “So far we’ve given chrome-plated rifles to Bahrain’s guards for drills.

“We’ve also given them to some VIP dignitaries in Pakistan on behalf of the president or the prime minister, and we plan on opening a sales office in Dubai at the end of March to do business with Middle East countries.”

One of South Korea’s latest military developments is $40,000 of wearable robotics, the Lower Extremity Exoskeleton for Soldiers.

Developed over seven years, the suit helps soldiers to carry up to 70 kilograms.

“The technology used is a hydraulic power pack, a sensor-processing board and a control algorithm,” said Nam Kyu-min, a research engineer who developed the robot at LIG Nex1’s robot research and development lab in South Korea.

“It is the first prototype and hasn’t been used yet.”

The company is developing technology related to exoskeletons, human-robot interface and sensor and control systems. Such technology is expected to also benefit firefighting, rehabilitation and agriculture.

Swiss company Air-Ion Technologies was wowing visitors with its plans for an electric motorcycle, called the Feline.

“We just created a mock-up and we’re going to start building in Switzerland, which should take 12 months,” said Yacouba Galle, the vice president of design and marketing.

He said the bike would be made of chrome, titanium and carbon.

“Electric motorcycles exist but the front fork of this one is inspired by the front gear of airplanes,” Mr Galle said. “We thought it would be more stable because the wheel is pulled, not pushed.”

Its materials make it an expensive purchase at more than €200,000, or Dh780,420, for the basic bike.

“This is because it’s very rare,” said Gerard Gilles, Air-Ion Technologies’ chairman. “All the technology comes from aerospace. When you buy a Rolls-Royce, you don’t ask the price.”

Mr Galle came up with the design after spending 10 years as a motorcycle test rider.

“So my vision is a bit different to other designers,” he said. “I saw a gold Harley-Davidson in Monaco once for $1 million. We can also add diamonds and gold to the bike but it would be a pity to add gold to it.”

With its light weight of 150kg, maximum speed of 280kph, digital dashboard and option to add a clock made by Swiss watchmakers, the Feline has been nicknamed the Bugatti of bikes.

“Any additional options will increase the price,” Mr Galle said. “The electric version takes 30 minutes to charge for a range of about 200km.”

More than 1,100 local and international defence manufacturers and contractors this week took part in Idex, which covered more than 133,000 square metres.

The exhibition started on Sunday and will run until Thursday.


Updated: February 20, 2017 04:00 AM