At the Cutting EDGE

An advanced technology conglomerate to transform UAE’s defence industry was unveiled recently

Sumit Kumar Verma | Abu Dhabi

CEO and managing director, EDGE, Faisal Al Bannai

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan inaugurated EDGE, a government owned advanced technology conglomerate that is planned to transform the UAE’s defence industry and place it as a global player. The ceremony took place at the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi on November 5.

EDGE is an advanced technology group that develops disruptive solutions for defence and beyond. Solving real world challenges, it is dedicated to bringing innovative technologies and services to market with greater speed and efficiency.

With the digital era creating unprecedented challenges and opportunities, EDGE is positioned to disrupt capabilities across a wide breadth of industries. It has started with breakthrough innovations in the high investment defence sector and a priority on national security.

With an annual budget of USD 5 billion, EDGE is consolidating more than 25 entities, including subsidiaries from the Emirates Defence Industries Company (EDIC), Emirates Advanced Investments Group (EAIG), Tawazun Holding, and other independent organisations, and employs more than 12,000 peoples. EDGE offers its services in five domains, namely platforms and systems, missiles and weapons, cyber defence, electronic warfare and intelligence and mission support.

EDGE will be headed by Faisal Al Bannai as the CEO and managing director. The former is founder of Axiom Telecom, the largest distributor of mobile devices in the Middle East and thereafter DarkMatter Group, a global cyber security service provider.

Faisal Al Bannai said, “EDGE will invest extensively across R&D, working closely with front-line operators to design and deploy practical solutions that address real world challenges.”

“The solution to address hybrid warfare lies at the convergence of innovations from the commercial world and military industry. Established with a core mandate to disrupt an antiquated military industry generally stifled by red tape, EDGE is set to bring products to market faster and at more cost-effective price points,” he added.

Answering a question, Al Bannai said, “The consultation mentioned in the presentation is to deliver a few key objectives. One, to help UAE achieve national sovereignty on critical defensive solutions to be able to protect itself. Two, to be able to be part of the anchor piece in the UAE strategy spot of announced strategy in terms of moving to a knowledge economy, being ready for the last barrel of oil coming out of the country”.

In contributing to innovation and advanced technology growth, EDGE will develop deeper partnerships with world-leading industry original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and defence contractors, the SME sector and academia alike. Accelerating the rate of innovation, it will also be attracting elite industry experts and talent from around the globe, to help on a wide spectrum of modern product development, ranging from ideation to building cross domain capabilities over its five core business clusters: Platforms & Systems, Missiles & Weapons, Cyber Defence, Electronic Warfare & Intelligence, and Mission Support.

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Inaugurates EDGE

The company is set to implement advanced technologies such as autonomous capabilities, cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things, advanced propulsion systems, robotics and smart materials, with a focus on artificial intelligence across all its products and services.

Commenting on EDGE, His Excellency Tareq Abdul Raheem Al Hosani, Chief Executive Officer of Tawazun Economic Council (the UAE’s Defence Enabler) said: “We are invested in managing the uncertainty that technology brings by adapting our focus and capabilities towards a sustainable defence and security industry. EDGE will help us transform our domestic capabilities while growing our engagements on defence and security exports.”

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