UAE says $6.4bn in contracts signed at major defence expo

International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi
A general view of the 2023 International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX), at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, February 22, 2023. Abdulla Al Neyadi/UAE Presidential Court/Handout via REUTERS

DUBAI, Feb 24 (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates signed defence deals worth a total of 23.34 billion dirhams ($6.36 billion) over five days of a major defence expo in the capital Abu Dhabi, with big wins for local companies despite a strong showing by international firms.

Contracts worth 2.2 billion dirhams were signed at the International Defence Exhibition (IDEX) on Friday, of which 1.6 billion dirhams went to local firms, a statement on state news agency WAM said.

The week-long industry event saw participation from major players from the United States and Europe, and a strong Israeli presence.

Russian firms also participated despite Western pressure on Gulf states to help isolate Moscow, with whom they have energy and economic ties.

Abu Dhabi defence firm EDGE, with a book value of roughly $5 billion last year, was awarded a 4.7 billion-dirham contract on the second day of the event for its subsidiary Halcon to supply Desert Sting P5 systems.

The deals were signed by the Tawazun Council, the UAE's defence and security acquisitions authority, on behalf of the ministry of defence, the UAE Armed Forces, security agencies and Abu Dhabi Police.

Organisers said 65 countries were taking part in IDEX this year including major U.S. defence conglomerates such as Raytheon Technologies (RTX.N), Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) and Boeing (BA.N).

($1 = 3.6724 UAE dirham)

Reporting by Louise Heavens; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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