First 'Made in UAE' aircraft ready for launch

UAE Ministry of Defence has purchased 24 B-250 aircraft worth $618m

The first ‘Made in UAE’ light attack aircraft is ready to launch, according to officials at Dubai Airshow.

The UAE’s Ministry of Defence revealed that 24 B-250 aircraft, developed by Abu Dhabi-based Calidus, had been purchased for AED2.27 billion ($618m).

Major-General pilot Abdullah Al Sayyed Al Hashemi, assistant under-secretary of the Ministry of Defence for support services, said the deal involves spare parts and support for the aircraft.

He said: “To bring onboard an aircraft that is built in the UAE is very significant not just for the Ministry of Defence but for the whole of the UAE because it improves the defence industry business in the country. It shows that we are improving and going in the right direction as part of the strategic plan of the UAE.

“The UAE was looking for aircraft dedicated for multi-role tasks and this is equipped with a variety of capabilities. Most of the weapons and ammunition to be used for the B-250 aircraft will also be made in the UAE.”

The ministry also announced a further AED3.2bn ($871m) worth of deals on the third day of the show, taking the total purchases in the first three days to AED17.8bn ($4.8bn).

French company MBDA claimed the biggest contract of the day worth AED1.28bn ($348m) to supply ammunition and maintenance of Mirage aircraft. The ministry also signed an AED533.3m ($145m) deal with US giant Lockheed Martin to supply F-16 simulators.

MAG Ds Corp penned a deal worth AED220.3m ($60m) for sale and modification of Cessna 208s. While an AED220.38m deal was signed with Hanwha Corporation of Korea for ammunition.

Global Aerospace Logistics, a subsidiary of the recently formed Edge, won an AED214.3m ($58m) deal to upgrade the electronics system for the general headquarters; and the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council won an AED20m ($5.4m) deal for providing calibration, consultancy and training service.

An AED33m ($9m) contract to provide technical experts for control systems went to Northrop Grumman International Trading.

The ministry also announced an AED129.7m ($35.3m) contract with Abu Dhabi Autonomous System Investment for a UAV system and providing technical support.

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