UAE defence contractor EDGE Group is celebrating its three-year anniversary and marking its swift rise as a global advanced technology group spanning both the defence and civilian realms. In this short period, EDGE has become a hugely successful and widely recognised global player, disrupting industry norms and challenging existing solutions with greater speed and efficiency.
The group’s accelerated product development roadmap is built on a strong industrial blueprint which has seen it increase the number of its products by 400 per cent since launch. EDGE has a portfolio of over 100 products and solutions, with over 70 of these having been launched and developed since its inception in November 2019. Its order intake in 2022 was in excess of AED18 billion. Of this figure, AED5.5bn, or 30 per cent of total order intake, was in export sales – a 500 per cent year-on-year increase.
EDGE’s objectives are to achieve national sovereignty over critical defence systems, to diversify the local economy through international exports, and to create a hub for industry talent. It aims to be a world leader in the development and manufacture of technologically superior products and solutions, with a clear focus on Autonomous Systems such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs), Smart Weapons such precision-guided munitions and directed-energy systems, and Cyber Technologies, including electronic warfare, intelligence, and secure communications.
Today, EDGE is made up of an impressive portfolio of 20 complementary companies consolidated into four clusters, capable of manufacturing a range of advanced products and solutions covering autonomous systems, precision munitions, land systems, small arms, shipbuilding, secure communications, intelligence, electronic warfare, precision manufacturing, and training. Its expanding global footprint now covers a diverse list of markets across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Americas, and Asia, with plans to expand further as new sales and/or mutually beneficial partnership opportunities arise.
His Excellency Faisal Al Bannai, Chairman of EDGE, said: “EDGE’s astounding accomplishments in this short period of time should be viewed with a great sense of pride. We have achieved this thanks to the forward-looking leadership of the UAE and through our own spirit of collaboration. By being highly adaptable and fluid in the way we operate, and possessing a start-up mentality strengthened by existing economies of scale, we have been able to develop an extensive and innovative catalogue of superior products with great speed and agility. As we have highlighted previously, this is just the beginning for EDGE, and our aim is to significantly up-scale our sophisticated UAE-made future technology and defence capabilities to be a global leader in several areas, particularly in the domains of Autonomous Systems, Smart Weapons, and Electronic Warfare, Intelligence, and Secure Communications.
“Together we are playing a pivotal role in the growth of the UAE’s advanced industrial manufacturing sector, continuing to forge closer, mutually beneficial relationships with a diverse set of international partners for sustainable growth, and investing in talent and in sound infrastructure to make EDGE a great place to work, learn, and contribute.”
EDGE has concluded more than 20 major export deals and has signed more than 60 strategic partnerships with some of the world’s biggest industry players, including Raytheon, CATIC, Lockheed Martin, L3Harris, GIFAS, STRATA, Boeing, Leonardo, IAI, ICOMM, Embraer, and SAMI, among others. An example of this collaborative success is EDGE entity HALCON, a leader in the manufacture of precision weapon systems and solutions, who entered into a partnership with Germany-based Rheinmetall AG, which selected HALCON’s SkyKnight, the first UAE designed and manufactured counter-rocket, artillery, and mortar (C-RAM) missile system, to be part of its highly regarded Oerlikon Skynex Air Defence System.
The group employs highly skilled staff originating from over 75 countries, and it continues to offer well-paid, specialised job opportunities with good career development paths for talent to thrive within the advanced technology and defence sectors. EDGE has also embarked on a program to recruit more skilled Emirati women, particularly in areas historically dominated by men, such as manufacturing and engineering. Currently, the group has an engineering workforce of approximately 1,100 engineers, 35 per cent of whom are Emiratis. Of this percentage, half are women.
Mansour AlMulla, EDGE Group Managing Director and CEO, added: “As we grow and reach new markets overseas, we will continue to apply the latest technologies across our operations to improve our offerings, grow our portfolio organically and inorganically, support the nation’s economic vision of diversifying the economy by growing our exports of UAE-made technological and manufacturing capabilities around the world, continuously invest in our people and work with the local ecosystem and partners to deliver on our mandate.
“While we are tremendously proud of our successes over the past three years, technology is evolving and proliferating at such a rate that it is vital EDGE remains ahead of the curve to ensure future prosperity. We are fortunate to be rising from deep foundations and are able to meet these challenges, seize the opportunities they present, and exponentially grow from them.”
EDGE’s growth strategy is supported by the advanced programmes and initiatives offered at its recently launched state-of-the-art Learning & Innovation Factory (LIF), an Industry 4.0, operational excellence, and advanced technology learning and demonstration centre that combines theory, technology, and practice under one roof to drive modernisation and encourage new approaches to the group’s day-to-day challenges across all its portfolio companies.