UAE's EDGE to test air defense missile system by end of year, unveils new drones

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UAE’s state-owned weapons maker EDGE will conduct a second missile firing of its air defense missile system SkyKnight before the end of 2021, the company said on Sunday as it unveiled new drones.

EDGE, a $5 billion state defense conglomerate, made the announcement at Dubai Airshow 2021, where it showcased a SkyKnight naval launcher design and prototype.

“The first-ever UAE designed and manufactured counter-rocket, artillery, and mortar (C-RAM) missile system, SkyKnight, was purposely designed to counter the full spectrum of modern threats, providing early warning signals and precise surface-to-air intercept capabilities,” the company said in a statement.

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CEO of EDGE Group entity, HALCON, Saaed al-Mansoori said: “The development of SkyKnight in its own right, and its inclusion in Rheinmetall AG’s Skynex air defence system are significant milestone developments for the UAE’s defense sector.”

EDGE’s mission is to supply the UAE’s armed forces with advanced weapons, with a focus on developing drones, unmanned vehicles, smart weapons and electronic warfare equipment.

The company was also awarded on Sunday an exclusive Performance-Based Logistics (PBL) contract to supply the UAE Air Force and Air Defense (AFAD) with maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), and specialized support services. The three-year contract is worth 11 billion dirhams ($3 billion).

EDGE also unveiled at the Dubai Airshow new additions to its advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs): QX-5 and QX-6, modern vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) drones, and Rash 2H, a high-precision guided munition system.

QX-5 is a drone UAV designed for an extended endurance of 16 hours, with a 25 kg payload capacity. QX-6 is a drone designed to perform missions autonomously without the need for remote control, with an extended payload of 150 kg to enable it to deliver cargo to remote and inaccessible locations. It can be leveraged for both military and commercial applications.

Rash 2H is a cost-effective, high-precision guided munition system capable of swiftly engaging small-to-medium-sized threats. The system is ideal for patrol missions, border security, and targeting high-value threats. Owing to its laser designation system, it ensures accurate target acquisition and tracking for both day and night operations.

HALCON unveiled the Hunter 10-Tube Launched drone, which features a take-off weight of 47 kg that can be fired from the back of an armored/artillery vehicle. It can carry a payload of 10 kg, flying at a maximum altitude of 2,500 meters. The drone is suitable for recon and attack missions.

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