IDEX 2021: First COVID-Era Defense Show Kicks Off « Breaking Defense

EDGE Group showcasing latest technologies at the International Defense Exhibition (IDEX) 2021

ABU DHABI: Amid strict safety measures, Abu Dhabi kicked off its defense shows, promising they would be no less striking than previous editions unburdened by quarantine, COVID-testing, global travel restrictions and all the other challenges of the COVID era.

The bi-annual five-day events, International Defense Exhibition and Naval Defense Exhibition (IDEX and NAVDEX 2021), feature more than 900 exhibitors from 59 nations with 35 national pavilions. Among the new countries participating are North Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Luxembourg and Portugal; Israel backed out a week ago due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

“84% of companies exhibiting will be internationally based, while 16% will be UAE based entities which demonstrates the vast international interest in IDEX and NAVDEX,” said Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, managing director and group CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC), the shows’ organizers.

As part of the naval exhibition, 17 maritime units from 10 countries are stationed at the pier of ADNEC Marina and dedicated areas in Mina Zayed, Abu Dhabi’s port area. Units include the American guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones, and the UAE’s Shouty coast guard boat, among others.

On opening day, the UAE armed forces signed 19 defense contracts with local and international firms, with the larger part going to domestic companies.

“Worth $1.37 billion, 22% of the deals were signed with seven international firms while 78% went to 12 local companies,” Staff Brig. Gen. Mohammed Al Hassani, official spokesman for IDEX and NAVDEX, said in a press briefing.

Among the deals: 12 B-250 light attack aircraft by UAE-based Calidus to the armed forces; armored vehicles by UAE-based Nimr to the land forces; seeker 400 unmanned aerial systems by South-African Denel SoC lTD to the command of presidential Guard; and the production of the GATRT-T air communication system by French Thales to the UAE Air Force and Air Defense Command.

The show hopes to support the growth of UAE’s defense industry and forge new relationships with major international companies.