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IDEX: EDGE chief relaxed about arms ‘review’ as business booms

Posted 24 February 2021 · Add Comment

The CEO of the United Arab Emirates defence conglomerate, Edge, shrugs off concerns the media has over the current ongoing review of sales to the Gulf from the US and some European nations.

In just 15 months the company has become one of the top 25 defence businesses in the world and has developed weapons, uavs and other systems from scratch in a pragmatic way with products “bought off the shelf.”

“We went from scratch. These products did not exist,” said Fasial Al Bannai, in an exclusive interview with Arabian Aerospace.
“And the reason we were able to move that was we want to be a very practical company that is picking stuff from off the shelf using commercial technology, and combining it with military knowhow and really accelerating from concept to launch of a product that I think the result is the type of drones and solutions that you see on the ground today.”

But asked whether access to a supply chain might affect the Edge business, Al Bannai shrugged.

“I can't control what other countries decide, or politicians decide or whoever decides,” he said. “What we focus our energy on, is what we control. What we control is capabilities, we are building capabilities we are investing in, and partners that are working with us to further accelerate these capabilities. And many of the things you see here are things that we've accelerated ourselves with willing partners wherever, and frankly, that is where we're spending our time and energy in this regard, then everything else is a distraction.”

Al Bannai said involvement in projects like the F-35 (The contracted sale of the US fighter to the UAE is currently being reviewed by the Biden administration, could be a long-term thing.

“I think, F-35, or similar platforms, there are platforms that the country buys and these platforms live with you for 10 or 20 years. I mean, they're not things that you buy today, and you finish them in two years, and you know, they're gone. Which means whether it's the F-35 or another type of platform of course, an industry like ours, is very interested to get involved.

“Because there are a lot of opportunities for integration, there's a lot of opportunities for payload, there's a lot of opportunities for a host of services, including MRO and in that regard. So regardless of the platform, both F-35 or others, we are here to be positioned as an industry that will work or whoever is the provider of such a platform to the country, to be able to offer a whole host of services from basics of MROs all the way to integrating weapons and other kinds of payloads,” he said.


Faisal Al Bannai at IDEX today. Image Billypix

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