United Arab Emirates (UAE) officials placed large orders for military vehicles in 2013. During the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Dubai in February 2013 alone, UAE leaders announced multiple contracts to help outfit its armed forces with modern, military vehicles.
Orders of note at IDEX 2013 included UAE contracts for 750 mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) all-terrain ground vehicles (valued at roughly $382 million USD) from Oshkosh Corp., and for an undisclosed number of Predator variant unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), worth nearly $200 million USD, from General Atomics. The latter deal marked General Atomics’ first sale of an unarmed version of its Predator UAVs in the Middle East.
General Atomics offers several different Predator variants, which have been sold and/or exported to military customers in Morocco, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Italy. The company is the largest UAV manufacturer and exporter in the U.S.
Israel is another large manufacturer and exporter of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), a leading aerospace company in the region, offers fixed-wing and rotor-based UAS that include micro, Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE), and single-, double-, and quad-rotor platforms. IAI has been in business since the 1950s and is showing no signs of slowing down with additional market share in ground control station (GCS), electro-optical, avionics, and sensor payload technologies.
“The UAV market is evolving; it is becoming an increasingly international market as it grows,” admits Teal Group Director of Corporate Analysis Philip Finnegan. Indeed, this mil/aero geek sees a wealth of companies and regions working to grow their share of the growing UAS market.