Despite pandemic M-E defence spending stayed consistent: Lockheed Martin

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Countries in the Middle East have remained consistent in their defence spending despite the COVID-19 pandemic, as the regional threat landscape continues to evolve in unpredictable ways, said Robert Harward, Chief Executive for Lockheed Martin in the Middle East…writes Lina Ibrahim

“Over the past few decades, our proposition has evolved from supplying defence systems to supporting regional governments with a diverse range of products, services, and technical support,” Harward told the Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the sidelines of the Dubai Airshow 2021, but he did not provide any figures.

“Our industry is being constantly tested to address new, complex challenges that require innovation and concerted efforts.”

Robert Harward,

The company’s net sales in 2020 stood at US$65.4 billion, which is a growth of 9.4 percent compared to the previous year when sales stood at $59.8 billion. Some 25 percent of net sales in 2020 came from international customers, according to the company.

To address the challenges of today’s complex battlespace and counter emerging threats, Lockheed Martin aims to help its regional allies leverage cutting-edge technologies, including artificial intelligence, edge computing and 5G.MILTM connectivity.

“5G.MILTM is one of our priorities, as it enables prompt and decisive action,” said Harward, explaining that this technology offers greater resilience, higher throughput, and the ultra-low latency needed for edge devices to operate in the joint battlespace.

“It also allows us to fully harness the power of artificial intelligence to make battlefield decisions with unrivaled speed,” he added.

At the Dubai Airshow, the company is showcasing its advanced network-based capabilities to counter evolving security threats across all domains – land, air, sea, cyber, and space.

The so-called Multi-Domain Operations or Joint All-Domain Operations (MDO/JADO) can synchronise major systems such as aircraft, ships, ground vehicles, satellites, and missile defence systems to improve situational awareness and accelerate decision-making in the field.

“We are witnessing strong demand for our next-generation systems and services. As an enduring security partner in the Middle East, we are continuing to focus on expanding our relationships with governments in the GCC, not just in defence but in space, cybersecurity, and training too,” Harward said.

He also hailed the UAE’s aerospace and defence industry, saying that his company is “a firm supporter” of it and “proud to have witnessed the entire sector going from strength to strength in the country’s relatively short history.”

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The UAE has been a regular client for Lockheed Martin in the past four decades. The company’s solutions and platforms include next-generation fighter jets, advanced air and missile defense technologies, command and control systems, and simulation and training support.

“We expect to see the UAE’s defense sector continue to grow in the coming years and are looking forward to supporting its growth and development.”