IAI and UAE-based EDGE join forces to develop anti-drone tech

Technology will help detect, identify, classify, and intercept a broad range of UAV threats in first official defense collaboration of Israeli firm with Emirati counterpart

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Drone Guard technology developed by Aerospace Industries (IAI) (Courtesy)
Drone Guard technology developed by Aerospace Industries (IAI) (Courtesy)

EDGE, a UAE-based advanced defense technology group, has signed an accord with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the nation’s largest aerospace and defense company, to jointly develop an advanced system to intercept drones and other threats tailored for the UAE market.

The parties have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop an advanced Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System (C-UAS) solution, making use of IAI’s existing products to detect, identify, classify, and intercept a broad range of UAV threats.

A subsidiary of EDGE, SIGN4L, a provider of electronic warfare services and solutions for national security, will be working with IAI to develop the tailored anti-drone solution. EDGE, an Abu Dhabi-based conglomerate of private firms and government owned bodies, has 25 subsidiaries and employs 13,000 workers across five main sectors: defense platforms and systems; missiles and weapons; cyber defense; electronic warfare and intelligence; and mission support.

This is the first official defense collaboration between IAI and a UAE-based firm since the Abraham Accords were signed in September normalizing the relations between the nations. In July, IAI said it entered into a historic collaboration agreement with Group 42, an Abu-Dhabi based firm, on COVID-19 research, marking its first official civilian collaboration with a UAE-based firm.

Faisal Al Bannai, CEO and managing director of EDGE (Courtesy)

The new anti-drone solution will be a combination of existing IAI and SIGN4L products, including detection and identification systems (radar and optics, and radio frequencies), soft kill solutions (like jamming the drone or taking over control through cybersecurity tools) and hard kill capability (guns, missiles, electromagnetic and laser devices) and an advance command and control console.

The C-UAS will be fully autonomous requiring no human intervention, and will operate the different countermeasures based on the level of threat posed and customer requirements, the statement said.

“In line with the recent Abraham Accords and the UAE’s newly established cooperation and spirit of collaboration with Israel, EDGE and IAI are joining forces to deal with this growing threat” of drones, said Faisal Al Bannai, CEO and managing director of EDGE, in the statement. EDGE is investing “extensively in autonomous capabilities” and the co-development of a Counter-UAS in partnership with Israel Aerospace Industries will help strengthen the firm’s  advanced technology portfolio, and partnerships in the region and internationally, he said.

IAI develops and manufactures advanced systems for air, space, sea, land, cyber and homeland security. Since 1953, the company has provided technology solutions to government and commercial customers worldwide, including satellites, UAVs, missiles, weapon systems and munitions, unmanned and robotic systems, and radar. The firm is one of Israel’s largest technology employers with offices and R&D centers in Israel and around the world.

“We believe that this collaboration will help both companies through the transfer of knowledge and sharing of capabilities,” said Boaz Levy, president and CEO of IAI. “This MoU serves as a steppingstone for further business and strategic alliances between our countries, and will enhance cooperation for R&D and technological innovation.”

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