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

2018-12-09

The UAE is a True Partner in Every Sense of the Word..Lockheed Martin

On the side-lines of the Bahrain International Airshow (BIAS), Nation Shield had a conversation with Robert (Bob) Harward, Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret) SEAL, and Chief Executive, Middle East, Lockheed Martin International, about the future plans and the longstanding partnership between the company and the UAE. While R.C. “Rick” Groesch, Regional Vice President – Middle East, International Business Development, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, discussed the company’s regional Aeronautic programmes.
 
By: Sakha Pramod
 
Lockheed Martin had quite an impactful presence at the recently concluded BIAS. It held several aerial demonstrations of its F-16 fighter jet and exhibited its defence solutions for both land and air, at the show. The company has strong ties with Bahrain, as the country was one of the first in the region to adopt the F-16 aircraft for the Royal Bahraini Air Force more than thirty years ago. More recently, Bahrain has moved to adopt the current F-16 Block 70, as well as became the 18th nation to select the C-130J Super Hercules to fulfil tactical airlift needs. 
 
Enhanced Capabilities 
R.C. “Rick” Groesch, Regional Vice President – Middle East, International Business Development, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company told Nation Shield that through the U.S. government, Bahrain has opted for the F-16 Block 70 aircraft and were the first in the world to procure it. 
 
The F-16 Block 70 combines capability upgrades, most notably the advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar with a new avionics’ architecture, and structural upgrades to extend the structural life of the aircraft by more than 50 per cent beyond that of previous production F-16 aircraft. F-16 Block 70 software takes advantage of technologies not available when earlier Block F-16s were developed and produced. Operational capabilities are enhanced through an advanced datalink, targeting pod and weapons; precision GPS navigation and the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS).
 
He explained: “The difference between the F-16 Block 60 and 70 is that they are two different aircraft. The Block 60 was developed 15 years ago for the UAE. It has some equipment that is still top of the notch. It has got the electronically scanned radar, known as the AESA radar. The UAE has its own self-defence capability that was developed and integrated specifically for the country in concert with the U.S. government. So, the Block 60 is a unique one-of-a-kind aircraft. It is an 8,000-hour service aircraft.
 
“While the Block 70 is unique in the fact that it has had a leap in technology. It is equipped with the AESA radar, it has a different electronic warfare system, which has been designed and integrated to meet Bahrain’s needs. The Block 70 is what we call a 12,000 hour service aircraft. It is the only fighter in the world that has 12,000 hours. The norm is 8,000 in the U.S. inventory, so that’s 50 per cent more. The difference between Block 60 and 70 is that 70 is more maintainable because the parts and avionics are designed to run longer.”
 
The Power of Partnership
According to Robert (Bob) Harward, Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret) SEAL, and Chief Executive, Middle East, Lockheed Martin International, countries in the Middle East region face two existential threats. The first is Iran, with their ballistic missile technology, and their asymmetric threats, that they have demonstrated in Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen. The second is radical Islam. 
 
“In our partnerships, our products and our services are meant to mitigate the risks posed by those threats be it integrated air missile defence, air supremacy, or the use of space assets to provide intelligence and targeting information,” said Harward. “All those products and services, just as they support our defence objectives, play a significant role for Bahrain and the other players in the region.”
 
He highlighted that the UAE was the first non-U.S. customer to have the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System and also have the Patriot system, and these contribute significantly to the country’s defensive and offensive capabilities to deal with those threats. 
 
Harward said: “These systems give the UAE the ability to not only defend themselves, but also to take out those threats should it become necessary. At the moment, we are looking at offering space-based capabilities to enhance their targeting and situational awareness. We are also looking at ISR platforms, and are looking at the maritime domain be it command and control and how to deal with underwater threats and to enhance those capabilities. In fact, the whole range of Lockheed Martin products probably have been applied to the UAE more so than other countries in the world, and not just the region.”
 
Furthermore, he expressed that since the UAE has been fighting alongside the U.S. in Bosnia, Syria, Afghanistan, for many years, the country recognises interoperability, and understands how the U.S. operates and that has contributed significantly to its capabilities. “What differentiates the UAE is that not only do they have the best equipment in the world but they also have 20 years of experience in combat and have worked side-by-side with the U.S. They are a true partner in every sense of the word,” he added.
 
Harward concluded: “The UAE has become very sophisticated in their defence industry. Moreover, we are moving forward with plans to bring as much technology and industry to the UAE as possible and we are ahead of the rest of the region in doing that.

If you look at the offset programme we have had with the UAE for many years, it has paid big dividends to the country. This will only grow and serve as a model for other countries in the region. At the upcoming IDEX in Abu Dhabi, we will be showcasing our range of technologies and will also be bringing new applications such as our ops analysis capabilities, ISR programmes, among others.”

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