x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Technical answer to UAE personnel shortage

The Navy is investing in technologically advanced vessels to better secure its waters.

ABU DHABI // The Navy is investing in technologically advanced vessels to better secure its waters.

Rear Admiral Ahmed Al Sabab Al Teneiji, the former chief of the Navy, has highlighted the role of technology in overcoming manpower challenges faced by developing nations.

"Manpower in the UAE is constrained, and not just in the Navy," he said at a maritime security conference in the capital last year.

"There is recruitment, of course, but we have one source and only so many users. We are not a large country so it's important to think about technology rather than attracting more people.

"We can overcome this problem using technology advances."

Navy commander, Rear Admiral Ibrahim Salem Al Musharakh, agreed that technology could compensate for manpower.

"The Navy has to operate with a limited number of men, so we need to operate ships with advanced technological capabilities to compensate," he told the conference.

"In the past we needed units small enough to be used in shallow waters but large enough to hold weapons that maintain the security of the UAE and its offshore installations.

"Now, the challenge is different. Other threats have to be considered from a variety of unconventional sources that challenge all navies today - like piracy and terrorist threats."

The UAE's naval might was of vital importance because of its strategic location near the Strait of Hormuz, Rear Admiral Al Musharakh said. Concern about Iran's threats to shut the Strait and attack vessels that sail through it frequently heighten tensions in the region.

amustafa@thenational.ae