Opportunities in the Gulf: The UAE has an appetite for advanced technologies, says IAI deputy CEO
Eyal Younian, deputy CEO of state-owned defense contractor Israel Aerospace Industries spoke Wednesday at Calcalist’s online conference on the business potential the UAE presents for Israel
In July, a month before plans of a normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE was announced by U.S. President Donald Trump, IAI announced a collaboration agreement between its subsidiary ELTA Systems Ltd. and Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing company Group 42 Inc. As part of the agreement, the two companies will join forces to aid in the global fight against the Covid-19.
According to Younian IAI sees a lot of collaboration potential with the UAE, especially in the field of aviation. “The UAE sees itself as a central aviation hub and we are very active in this area,” he said. “In terms of defense,” he added, “we are familiar with the unique needs of Persian Gulf countries and we are also one of the most versatile defense contractors. The UAE has a lot of money to invest, around $2 trillion, and a great appetite for advanced technologies so it’s a win-win situation.”
The world changed dramatically in the past few years in light of the Arab Spring and the subprime mortgage crisis, Younian said. The Israeli Ministry of Defense’s export regulations have adapted accordingly, he added.
“In addition to the need to maintain classified security technologies, the ministry understands the importance of nurturing intimate ties with such countries as the UAE,” he said.
“Every defense product we export needs to be approved by the ministry, unlike with civilian products,” he explained. “I assume the policy will be more conservative at first but then there will be progress.”
"The defense ministry realizes it is not just about politics and national security and that there is an economical aspect as well,” Younian said.