France's MBDA to open missile engineering center in UAE

The logo of MBDA Missile Systems is seen at Euronaval, the world naval defence exhibition in Le Bourget near Paris, France, October 23, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - France's MBDA and Dassault Aviation AVMD.PA plan to open a missile engineering facility and a flight testing center in the United Arab Emirates, the UAE's defense and security industry enabler Tawazun Economic Council said on Saturday.

The announcement comes on the eve of the biennial Dubai Air Show which begins on Sunday as the UAE steps up efforts to bolster its indigenous defense capabilities.

Tawazun will sign an agreement with MBDA to set up the French company’s first missile engineering center in the region, it said in a statement, adding the center will establish expertise in development and engineering of weapon systems.

Tawazun will also sign an agreement with Dassault Aviation to set up a flight testing center in Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, it said.

“The facility will play a pivotal role in laying the foundation for future programs of flight testing in the region, to support integration and development for the defense sector,” it said.

Tawazun also announced an agreement between Italy's aerospace and defense giant, Leonardo SPA LDOF.MI and Abu Dhabi Aviation Training Centre (ADATC) for the latter to house the AW169 and AW139 pilot training simulators.

As the first and only regional center to have such capabilities, “the simulators will offer timely, cost-effective and integrated training solutions within the UAE,” it said.

Earlier this year, Tawazun signed agreements to set up wholly-owned subsidiaries with France's Thales Group TCFP.PA and Sweden's SAAB SAABb.ST.

Reporting By Stanley Carvalho, editing by Mike Harrison