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

2019-02-01

BAE Systems: Building Resilient Relations

Countries need to protect themselves against various threats, including physical and cyber. These threats are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and have the potential to harm governments, organisations, assets and infrastructure. International defence, aerospace and security company BAE Systems continues to work with its partners and customers across the Middle East region to provide them with vital resources to help them protect what really matters. Nation Shield talks to Julian Donald, BAE Systems’ Managing Director for the Middle East, about a wide range of defence issues and what the company is exhibiting at IDEX 2019. Excerpts:
 
By: Sakha Pramod
Photo: Faisal Al Quaisi
 
When we met at IDEX two years ago, you had just started your new role. What updates can you share with us? 
It’s been busy over these past two years in the Middle East. The region continues to be a complex and dynamic environment, with nations facing a variety of different threats and challenges. BAE Systems is proud to partner with governments and customers throughout the region, providing advanced capabilities across air, land, sea and cyberspace. Our technologies and solutions are purpose-built to meet their diverse requirements and ensure that we are able to provide the right level of support needed. The past two years in particular have seen increased interest in our fixed wing aircraft – the Eurofighter Typhoon and Hawk trainer jet.  As countries across the region look to upgrade their fast jet fleets, they are choosing Hawk as the ideal training solution. Hawk reduces the operational flying cost of pilot training, and that’s why it is the market-leader for fast jet training. 
 
In addition to providing fixed-wing aircraft, we have had success with our US-based Electronic Systems (ES) business. ES provides countries with the capabilities necessary to protect aircraft, tanks, and ships from missile attacks, among a breadth of military and commercial solutions for the aerospace and defence sectors. We have secured new contracts for our cyber business in the region which offer protection to national borders and critical infrastructure.
 
What can we expect from BAE Systems in the years ahead?
BAE Systems will continue to promote and sell Hawk training jets. We are in discussions with new customers looking to buy the aircraft as well as existing customers who want to upgrade their existing fleet to the new Advanced Jet Trainer, which takes airborne simulation technology to a new level with a next generation cockpit environment to prepare crew for frontline operations. 
 
Several products that BAE Systems has found recent success with are on show at IDEX including the M777 Ultra-lightweight Howitzer and the APKWS semi-active laser guided rocket which can be integrated on both rotary and fixed wing platforms.
 
We are also set to increase sales of our Electronic Systems’ products in the Middle East this year as well as quite a broad range of air, land and naval defence systems. 
 
 BAE Systems offers several land systems to countries across the Middle East, including renowned armoured infantry vehicles, such as Bradley. Our land-based air defence systems are set for increased growth in 2019.
 
This year, BAE Systems will continue to promote and expand its partnerships across countries in the Middle East region. We have been very successful working with our Kingdom Partner Companies (KPC) in Saudi Arabia over the past 15 years and we are exploring options to expand that model to other GCC markets. 
 
The KPC organisations continue to successfully deliver technologies, training and capability into the Kingdom from our home markets of the UK and the US, providing a win-win scenario for both BAE Systems and Saudi Arabia.
BAE Systems currently has a workforce of more than 6,800 in Saudi Arabia, of which more than 70 per cent are Saudi nationals. We look forward to sharing this great KPC success story with visitors to our stand at IDEX 2019.
 
BAE Systems has a significant presence at IDEX 2019. What are the highlights?
BAE Systems is proud to once again have an extensive range of product and services at IDEX, which is one of our key exhibitions. We will present a wide range of exhibits showcasing our capabilities on land, sea, air, and cyberspace. The aim is to offer a taste of each of these capabilities to the broad markets of the Middle East region.  
 
The Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasure (ATIRCM) and Common Missile Warning System (CMWS) advanced counter-measure systems that can be retrofitted to fixed and rotary wing aircraft will be featured alongside advanced displays including the DLE Head Up Display, which can be integrated on both new and existing fixed-wing aircraft. Naval protection is addressed with several solutions on the stand, including the 40Mk4 naval gun system, in addition to the Offshore Patrol Vessel solution which adds dynamic maritime protection capabilities. The Bradley Fighting Vehicle, a key land defence solution that has proven capabilities and the flexibility to match multi-role assignments, is also at IDEX.
 
The performance of the Eurofighter Typhoon, the most advanced multi-role combat aircraft on the market, continues to be a focus. Capability and integration of the Phased Enhancements programme, P1E to P3E, will be highlighted on the stand, along with continued evolution of the swing-role aircraft’s weapons, sensors and information management systems, ensuring the Typhoon meets future operational requirements.
 
Why are cyber and AI such important segments for countries in the Middle East? 
GCC countries face concerted, advanced and well-resourced cyber threats from adversaries, which can beat traditional cyber defences. We support governments as they encounter the most sophisticated of attacks. 
 
Our experience shows that usual signature-based detection packages don’t pick up on the ‘unknown unknowns’ and so our approach is to look at patterns of activity across the whole data spectrum and identify behaviours that stick out. Defence ministries, armed forces and the financial services sector are all on the front line facing these cyber threats and this is where we aim to help.
  
You talk a lot about the importance of partnerships. Can you give us some examples of these partnerships and how they work in the region?
BAE Systems continues to build and strengthen our local partnerships, which are a great way of developing offerings that are tailored to meeting local requirements.  It is clear that working with local expertise helps the company deliver technologies that provide more value to the customer on a long-term basis. There are currently five Kingdom Partner Companies (KPCs) in Saudi Arabia.  BAE Systems is proud to have more such partners and we are excited to announce a new UAE partnership in the aircraft sector at IDEX.
 
Can you tell us about your educational programmes here?
Our partnership with the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) and Strata Manufacturing PJSC to bring “The Make It Challenge” to the UAE has been very successful. The competition attracts and inspires the UAE’s best and brightest young student talents into careers in the critical areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). 
 
Our internship programme with Mubadala has been running well for almost five years now. During the 18 week annual internship programme, Emirati students work at our fast jet aircraft manufacturing facilities in the north of England. Rather than sitting in a classroom, the students have ‘real job’ responsibilities throughout the internship. They gather skills and experience which they then bring back to the UAE for the benefit of the country. We plan to expand the programme into other sectors such as space, which is of particular interest to the UAE. 
 

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