Military and Strategic Journal
Issued by the Directorate of Morale Guidance at the General Command of the Armed Forces
United Arab Emirates
Founded in August 1971

2021-12-05

Dubai Airshow Concludes with Massive Deals Heralding Industry Growth

The Dubai Airshow 2021 was officially the biggest edition of the event since it first began in 1989, with US$ 78 billion worth of deals announced during the week. The event welcomed more than 104,000 attendees and witnessed a 50 per cent increase in trade visitors, which included global senior executives from 148 countries. The Airshow was bigger than the pre-pandemic 2019 edition in terms of visitor numbers and deals announced. It was also a significant milestone for the defence and space sectors which saw a range of deals and agreements declared.
 
The 17th edition of the event was held from 14 to 18 November at Dubai World Central International Airport, in conjunction with the UAE’s hosting of Expo 2020 Dubai and its celebration of its fiftieth year.
 
Industry specialists and leaders from across the aviation, aerospace, space, and defence sectors from all over the world were present at the show. The event featured over 20 country pavilions and new additions from the Czech Republic, Belgium, Brazil, Israel, and Slovakia. There were also civil and military delegations from more than 140 countries with more than 371 new exhibitors, over 80 start-ups along with a stunning aircraft display of over 160 commercial, military, and private jets including the latest Boeing 777x, Bombardier’s Global 7500 and many more.
 
The event also hosted 387 senior military and civil delegations along with more than 50 hours of thought-leadership content across cargo, sustainability, air traffic management and aerial mobility presented by 250 plus industry speakers.
 
Off to a Flying Start
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence visited Dubai Airshow 2021 on its official opening day. The event was officially inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai who led the Royal Tour. 
The UAE’s Ministry of Defence announced 22 deals worth AED 22.5 billion during the first four days of the air show, awarded to local and international companies. The deals of the first day amounted to AED 5,239,207,000.00, second day was AED 11,284,837,000.00, and the day three deals stood at Dhs4,257,401,000.00. On the fourth day, the Ministry of Defence announced the conclusion of seven deals worth AED 1,742,429,000.00 with local and international companies. This brought the total deals concluded during the first four days to 23 deals, with a total value of AED 22,523,874,000.00.
 
Emirates Forges New Partnerships
Emirates concluded the Dubai Airshow on a positive note, culminating a week of investment announcements, new partnerships forged, and the strengthening of established connections as key aviation players from around the world came together in Dubai to mark a turning point in the industry’s recovery.
This year, Emirates’ presence at the show included participation in the opening flypast; aircraft static displays; an exhibition stand showcasing its latest cabin products, Emirates Flight Training Academy, and the Emirates Aviation University; and offering its hospitality for partners and invited guests in the Emirates Chalet.
 
At the Dubai Airshow, the airline announced a significant investment to retrofit 105 of its Boeing 777 and A380 aircraft with its Premium Economy product, in addition to other cabin enhancements. The entire 18-month retrofit programme, starting in 2022, will take place in Dubai and reinforces the UAE’s status as a centre of aviation excellence. Emirates also signed an agreement with Panasonic to deliver a suite of in-flight entertainment (IFE) solutions for its Premium Economy retrofit programme.
Emirates helped to open the flying display of the first afternoon of the airshow with a special fly past comprising of an Airbus A380 and the Boeing 777 adorned with the special UAE 50th and Expo 2020 Dubai liveries, joined by partner UAE commercial airlines, and followed by the UAE’s air-display team, Al Fursan.
 
Tawazun Makes Key Announcements
Tawazun Economic Council (Tawazun) and Airbus signed a MoU at the show, under which the latter will establish a wholly owned facility in Abu Dhabi. The MoU comes as part of Tawazun’s endeavours to attract and promote long-term partnerships with leading defence and security, aviation, and aerospace manufacturing companies. 
Matar Ali Al Romaithi, Chief Economic Development Officer of Tawazun, Mikail Houari, President of Airbus Africa & Middle East and Michel Carzan VP Airbus Helicopters Industrial Cooperation signed the MOU at Tawazun’s stand. According to the MoU, Tawazun and Airbus will explore potential cooperation opportunities in the areas of refuelling solutions for Military Air Systems, Unmanned Aerial Systems, Helicopter Flight Lab and R&D for UAS/VSR700-, as well as other potential cooperation opportunities of mutual interest. 
 
Tawazun also announced that it signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) to purchase 100 VRT500 helicopters from Aeroter at a total value of 216.9million Euros (Approx. AED913 million), for use across some government entities. The delivery is expected by the end of 2023. 
 
Furthermore, Tawazun and Bahrain Defense Force (BDF) signed a MoU to boost cooperation in defence industries and to exchange information and expertise on industrial participation and offset programmes. Under the MoU, Tawazun and BDF will jointly work to build synergies aligned with the strategic goals of the defence and security industry, and to develop a common mechanism for implementing programmes related to implementation of the industrial participation programmes in the two countries. The two sides will also cooperate to identify opportunities for joint projects in the supply chain domains, as well as cooperation in R&D areas.


 
UAE Orders Additional A330 MRTT
The UAE Air Force & Air Defence ordered two additional Airbus A330 Multirole Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft increasing the country’s MRTT fleet up to five aircraft. With deliveries starting in 2024, this agreement will also cover the upgrade of the country’s current A330MRTT fleet to the latest enhanced version. 
“This repeat order, added to the growing MRTT customer base, confirms the suitability of our platform as the world’s tanker of reference,” said Bernhard Brenner, Executive Vice President Marketing and Sales at Airbus Defence and Space.
 
Leonardo’s AW609 in the Spotlight
Leonardo presented its AW609 tiltrotor for the first time in the region at the show. With a stand and an outdoor static area, the company welcomed visitors to see some of its most advanced technologies, including the only tiltrotor in the market set to receive civil certification. Other high-tech equipment on display included advanced electronics, helicopters, and defence technologies.
The AW609, on display, was flown to Dubai for the opening ceremony of the helicopter terminal, built by Leonardo in partnership with Falcon Aviation Services at the Expo 2020 Dubai site. Here the company also launched ‘Agusta’, reinvigorating the iconic helicopter brand as the marker for Leonardo’s VIP transportation products and services. 
 
Bombardier Showcases Global 7500 for the First Time
Bombardier highlighted its Global 7500 for the first time in the Middle East. According to Bombardier, the Global 7500 aircraft is the world’s largest and longest-range business jet. It comes with a luxurious interior with four living spaces, including a full-size kitchen and a dedicated crew suite. 
It also boasts of a Smooth Flex Wing, which Bombardier calls a technological marvel engineered for maximum control and agility at all speeds, providing the smoothest ride in the industry. Global 7500 also has an industry leading nautical range of 7,700 and a top speed of Mach 0.925, as well as an exceptional short-field performance unrivalled in business aviation. 
 
Collins Aerospace Offers Upgrades
At the show, Collins Aerospace highlighted that even decades-old aircraft can continue performing for years to come thanks to retrofit modifications. Collins offers 21 different solutions to help operators modernise current C-130 aircraft, including upgrades for wheels and brakes, propellers, avionics, seating, mission equipment, and ground systems and support. In addition to upgrades, Collins also provides long-term sustainment solutions to help customers streamline their MRO operations.
For example, Collins’ C-130 brakes can allow for up to 2,000 landings per overhaul — compared to 250 landings per overhaul experienced by operators of the C-130’s current system. That lifespan is eight times longer, significantly reducing maintenance time and cost. 
 
Rafael Focuses on AI and Big Data
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems participated for the first time at the Dubai Airshow and was represented by a large delegation. With a vast array of aerial products, solutions and capabilities, Rafael focused on aerial defence, satellite intelligence, and communications.
Many of Rafael’s systems are already operational worldwide and the company has proven itself to be a global leader in defence solutions. Since the Abraham Accords, Rafael has been able to work with its partners in the region under the policy of Israel’s Ministry of Defence. It has embarked on a Joint Venture with the Abu Dhabi-based G42 technology company and emphasised the synergising of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data in its systems.
 
Throughout the week, Rafael showcased some of its most advanced operational and combat-proven aerial defence solutions, which are supported and enhanced by AI. Various other world-leading technologies were also on display throughout the airshow, with another emphasis on the fields of satellite intelligence and communication. For example, the LITENING, which is the world’s most widely used targeting and navigation pod, was highlighted.
 
Russia Highlights Latest Missile Artillery Developments
Rosoboronexport, the organiser of the Russian joint stand at the show, presented major defence products and various military equipment most in demand on the world arms market. The Russian portfolio included the latest Tornado-family of multiple rocket launch (MRL) systems. The system, developed by Rostec Technodinamika holding was recently delivered to the Russian Land Forces. 
The Tornado-G 122 mm and Tornado-S 300 mm MRL are among the latest missile artillery developments available to the international defence sector. Underscoring Russia’s more than 50 years of experience in manufacturing MRLs, the latest systems are capable of guiding the missiles in flight while maintaining a balance of gunpowder-to-mass ratio with increased range of fire. 
 
Saab Steals the Show with Cutting-edge Sensors 
Saab is a world-leading provider of sensors. The company’s sensor technology is being used by customers in the air, on land and at sea to keep their borders and people safe from harm.
The world of digital radar is here and with it comes a vast range of potential software solutions to complement, upgrade or even replace existing hardware for sensors and radars. For Saab to keep leading and succeeding, it must keep innovating, which was evident at its stand. Saab takes the long view and develops new concept capabilities for future products and capabilities that can improve existing products.

 
 
KSA’s AEC Displays its Capabilities
Advanced Electronics Company (AEC), a Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) company, presented its portfolio of latest solutions and technologies within its defence and aerospace sector, including Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services, Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I), operations centre, electronic warfare (EW) products and solutions, drones, and simulation systems, among others. 
 
A broad range of technology and system products of the Aeronautics and Defence Electronics business divisions of SAMI was on the booth. In addition, the booth showcased several exhibits from the Aircraft Accessories & Components Company (AACC), a subsidiary of SAMI, including MRO services for aircraft hydraulics and secondary power systems (SPS) for multiple platforms, as well as the repair and maintenance of civil aircraft landing gear, and enhanced Non-destructive Testing (NDT) and helicopter maintenance capabilities.
 
Airbus Secures A32neo Order from Indigo Partners
Airbus has secured orders for 255 additional A321neo aircraft from Indigo Partners’ portfolio of airlines.
Indigo Partners is a private equity fund focused on worldwide investments in air transportation. The aircraft ordered under the agreement will be operated by Wizz Air, Frontier, Volaris and JetSMART under the joint agreement. The firm order was signed at the show and brings the total number of aircraft ordered by Indigo Partners’ airlines to 1,145 A320 aircraft.
Volaris and JetSMART will also convert 38 A320neo to A321neo from their existing aircraft backlogs.


 
Akasa Air Orders 737 MAX for Indian Market Launch
Boeing and Akasa Air, a brand of SNV Aviation, announced an order of 72 737 MAX aircraft by the new Indian carrier in a deal worth nearly US$9 billion at list price.
Akasa Air’s order includes two variants from the 737 MAX family, the 737-8 and the high-capacity 737-8-200. Stan Deal, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO added: “The 737 MAX, with its optimised performance, flexibility and capability, is the perfect airplane to establish Akasa Air in the Indian market and ensure it effectively grows its network.”
 
BlackSky Delivers Real-time Geo-spatial Intelligence
Companies large and small are adopting new business models that enable Space as a Service, from Satellites as a Service, or Ground Stations as a Service, all of which promise the benefits of space without the demands of satellite manufacturing, government regulations, launch integration or space data delivery, said Andy Stephenson, BlackSky Vice President of International Business Development & Sales. 
In a conversation on the sidelines of the show, he said: “BlackSky is focused on real-time Geospatial Intelligence as a Service delivered through subscription-based offerings enabled by cloud technology – it’s easy to do, customers understand it, at an affordable price point making access to space a reality. We monitor activities and facilities worldwide by harnessing the world’s emerging sensor networks and leveraging our own satellite constellation. We process millions of observations from our constellation as well as a variety of space, IoT, and terrestrial based sensors and data feeds. Our on-demand constellation of satellites can image a location multiple times throughout the day (morning to dusk). We monitor for economic and pattern-of-life anomalies to produce alerts and enhance situational awareness.” 
 
Rolls-Royce Signs Replacement Contract
Rolls-Royce plc has signed an agreement with Silk Way West Airlines to provide replacement engines for five of its RB211- 524 powered Boeing 747-400F aircraft that will support their operations until 2026. The agreement will provide the cargo airline with a minimum of 20,000 flight cycles of engine life for the next five years and provides them with a cost-effective solution for maintaining their fleet at its current level of operability. 
 
Elbit Systems Establishes a Company in UAE
Israel based, Elbit Systems has established a company in the UAE, named Elbit Systems Emirates (ESE) to foster long-term cooperation and oversee customisation of solutions for the operational needs of end-users. The company is also hoping to lead the transfer of technologies to local partners through its local presence. 
 
At the show, the company exhibited its solutions that facilitate multi-domain networked warfare, airborne precision fires, aircraft vision systems, and airborne protection systems. The multi-domain networked warfare display included an integrative communication network solution for air, sea, and land from the tactical level and up to the Joint Operations Command, the E-LynX family of software-defined radio systems, and the HattoriX fire support solution.
 
Timothy Hawes, Managing Director at Tarsus Middle East, organisers of Dubai Airshow 2021 concluded: “It has been a truly incredible Dubai Airshow. The event has been a real testament to the resilience, robustness and adaptability of the aviation and aerospace industries to come back with such strength after the pandemic.”
 
Dubai Airshow 2023
The Dubai Airshow is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The next edition will take place in 2023 at Dubai World Central (DWC), Al Maktoum airport.
 
 

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