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

2021-02-01

Lockheed Martin,A Partner in Progress for the Middle East

Lockheed Martin has had a presence in the Middle East for over five decades. Along with physical defence products and technological solutions, Lockheed Martin (LM) also works with its Middle East partners across several capacity building programmes that are formulated to assist the region with their development goals as they navigate an increasingly complex world.

The company has had a footprint in the United Arab Emirates for four decades and has been a committed partner to Saudi Arabia since 1965. In the UAE, Lockheed Martin runs a diversified portfolio in defence, advanced technology and knowledge transfer programmes, whereas in Saudi Arabia, it has moved beyond defence systems by providing products and services, technical support and educational expertise for the Kingdom’s defence industry, as the country works towards ensuring that Saudi Vision 2030 becomes a reality. Nation Shield talks to Robert (Bob) S. Harward, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Middle East:
 
The 15th edition of the IDEX exhibition is being held in Abu Dhabi this month. Could you please share your thoughts on the show, and on your strategic partnership with the UAE over the last few years?
IDEX is a significant event for the global defence industry. It serves as an excellent opportunity to strengthen relationships, review the latest technologies and interact with key decision-makers on critical issues.
 
As for our long-standing partnership with the UAE, Lockheed Martin is extremely proud of the work we have done with the government over the past four decades. As we continue to help enhance the performance and capabilities of the UAE Armed Forces, we look forward to finding new ways to work together as the regional threat landscape evolves.
 
Over the years, we have moved beyond just supplying defence systems to partner with the government on projects related to advanced technology, knowledge transfer, and training. Together, we have helped to enhance the nation’s security and helped make the UAE military the most capable force in the region.
 
The COVID-19 crisis has caused unprecedented challenges. How has LM managed the situation? Was the military industries sector affected?
We are experiencing a testing time globally. The rapid spread of COVID-19 and its wide-ranging impact has been unprecedented, causing severe disruption across society and a tragic loss of life. 
 
Since the start of this crisis, Lockheed Martin has been guided by three clear priorities. Protecting our people’s health and safety, continuing to perform and deliver for our partners, and using our know-how and resources to assist the countries we operate in.
 
I’m proud of how we’re weathering the storm. While there have been some slowdowns in certain areas, we have invested heavily in protecting our global supply chains and deployed proactive measures to position ourselves for the fastest possible recovery. 
 
Here in the UAE, we have been impressed by how rapidly our partners and key stakeholders were able to transition to remote working and teleconferencing protocols, embracing digital transformation in a way that was not thought possible a short while ago. This has ensured that major initiatives remain on track. 
 


What are the most prominent/notable areas of cooperation and current projects between the UAE and LM?
Lockheed Martin cooperates with key entities across the entire spectrum of the UAE’s defence industry. We’re helping the nation defend its interests for generations to come with next-generation fighter jets, advanced air and missile defence technologies, the ultimate command and control systems, and state-of-the-art simulation and training support. 
 
The nature of our relationship with the UAE means we are continually collaborating on projects of significance and national importance. 
 
Are there upcoming projects between the UAE and LM in the near future?
Our technology offer in the country is growing to include some groundbreaking capabilities in energy, cybersecurity, and space solutions that are well-aligned to contribute to the UAE’s economic diversification vision. 
 
In terms of human capital development, our Center for Innovation and Security Solutions in Masdar City is an excellent example of cooperation that helps build up the skills and expertise of young minds in the UAE, to create a pipeline of future scientists and engineers. 
 
We have noticed that LM is training a number of UAE nationals. Are the training programmes still ongoing?  How many students are enrolled?   And how does it work? 
At Lockheed Martin, we recognise and applaud the great importance the UAE’s leadership places on its people’s development. All nations must equip their citizens with the skills needed to compete in the high-tech global economy, but in the defence industry, talent is not just an economic issue but an issue of national security.
 
Lockheed Martin’s Center for Innovation and Security has hosted merit-based internship programmes since 2017. We have implemented a series of technology development programmes and have trained over 100 engineers and industry professionals. In the coming years, we hope to grow that number into the thousands with our partners’ help at Tawazun, EDGE and Mubadala.
 
Our strategy is to train and mentor students and young engineers to run the programmes we provide and develop capable young engineers and scientists who will serve as vital elements for the UAE defence industry’s future.
 
Are there plans to employ UAE nationals in the company in the near future?
Lockheed Martin trains and employees UAE nationals and will continue to employ UAE nationals as our country programmes evolve. Our ultimate aspiration is to see Emiratis design, test, operate, and maintain the cutting-edge platforms we provide. 
 
As we prepare for the next 50 in the UAE, how do you see the UAE’s progress in the next 50 years?
The UAE’s strength is in its visionary leadership and their ability to set and achieve challenging goals that help set the standard for the wider region. The UAE’s leaders are always forward-looking, innovative, and responsive to people’s needs. They focus on social development and maintaining a sustainable and diversified knowledge-based economy to guide the nation’s success. 
 
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has said that the UAE will celebrate the day when it exports its last barrel of oil. By that time, we believe that the nation will be a leader in innovation and technology across the key pillars of the global economy. The future is bright, and we are proud to partner with the UAE on the path forward.  
 
Lockheed Martin is exhibiting at stand 01-A11
 
 

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