The Business Year

Close this search box.
With the UAE focused heavily on developing sovereign defense capabilities and boosting knowledge transfer, defense companies are finding myriad opportunities to participate in the booming sector.

Tim Allen

CEO, Houbara Security & Defence LLC

Houbara’s principal strategies to enhance the operational effectiveness of local defense are concentrated in three areas. The first one is threat representation or providing realistic targets both for sensors and weapon systems, which allow our customers to train against different types of threats and also test and evaluate the performance of their equipment. The second area is supporting UAE with test and evaluation of military capabilities at all stages of the lifecycle, including during early R&D. It could be new equipment being acquired, or equipment that has already been fielded that requires a deeper understanding of its true capabilities. This is an area of specialization for our UK parent company, QinetiQ. The third area is in the supply of specialist products, which are developed by QinetiQ to support niche areas of defense capability such as secure communications and robotics. In order to encourage sovereign capability to develop, we also want to focus on developing Emirati human capital, and that revolves primarily around knowledge transfer.

Mohamed Bin Bouta Al Harsousi

CEO, CyberGate Defense

CyberGate was founded with the objective to enhance the cybersecurity space across the Middle East. The digital transformation is constantly evolving, and we have had to adapt to new ways of solving challenges and predicting impending requirements in terms of new technology such as the cloud, having shared models, cloud service providers, hosting applications and data remotely, and much more. Over the years, CyberGate has developed extensive capability around those sectors, in addition to professional training services. From inception, our goal has been to enable knowledge transfer to local graduates as much as possible to empower the sector with upskilled resources that can be of value to those initiatives across the UAE. SMEs are often overlooked by many players in today’s market, and we want to ensure that we offer our technology and services at a competitive cost per agent to as many businesses as possible to not only grow CyberGate, but also grow cybersecurity and resiliency in the UAE and GCC.

Andreas Schwer

CEO, Electro Optic Systems (EOS)

Our decision to set up operations in the UAE is based on the strong ties between the Australian and Emirati governments, stable government, wise leadership, and significant growth potential. Abu Dhabi’s shift toward high-end strategic products and components, including high-energy laser weapons, space activities, and the military sector, presents opportunities for our business. The UAE government is open to funding strategic investments and partnerships to achieve common goals. We are active in three major domains: defense, space, and communications. As a listed company on the Australian Stock Exchange, EOS is bound to uphold the highest standards of governance and ethics, not only domestically but also internationally. We are perhaps one of the few companies ready to localize production and share intellectual property (IP) with our clients to set up local capabilities. We recently developed a fully localized very heavy machine gun in the UAE, with all the IP located there. We have similar programs underway in other countries.

Ahmed Mohamed Alhameli

Senior Vice President, PAL Aerospace

PAL is the OEM of a key UAE Special Mission Aircraft fleet. While PAL has had a long-standing presence here since 2006, we decided to incorporate officially as a UAE company with our Emirati partner and set up permanent offices in Abu Dhabi in 2012. Since then, PAL has been providing world-class in-service support to our customers, including aircraft maintenance, supply chain management, engineering services, and aircrew and tactical training. With the UAE’s distinct commercial opportunities and geographical advantages, we quickly recognized that Abu Dhabi is an ideal location for growth and expansion in the defense and aerospace sector. Building on our strong foundation of special mission aircraft in-service support and training, PAL established a fully certified logistics center at the Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone in 2019 with added capabilities, including the manufacture and assembly of key special mission aircraft components for global export. In addition, we see tremendous opportunity to accelerate the development of PAL’s proprietary mission management software in the UAE.



You may also be interested in...

SCC Yousif Al Mutawa

UAE - Real Estate & Construction

Yousif Ahmed Al Mutawa


CEO, Sharjah Sustainable City


UAE - Finance

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Faisal bin Sultan Al Qassimi


Chairman, United Arab Bank (UAB)

Gov Relation

UAE - Economy

Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Bin Khalid Al Qasimi


Executive Chairman, Department of Government Relations

View All interviews



Become a sponsor