Tawazun Council, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) defence acquisitions authority for the country’s Ministry of Defense, has announced the signing of five deals with local and international companies with total value Dh970m ($264.3m) during the opening day of the Unmanned Systems Exhibition (UMEX) in Abu Dhabi.

Detailing the deals in a 23 January release, Tawazun Council stated the overall value of deals signed with three UAE-based companies amounted to Dh899m, while two contracts at a combined value of Dh72m went to overseas entities.

Agreed deals with UAE-based companies included an Dh10m with Resource Industries to acquire hand-held anti-UAV weapons systems, five-year uncrewed systems support and training contract with International Golden Group valued at Dh874m, and a Dh16m agreement with Star Satellite Communications.

International successes include a deal with CAE for simulator support valued at Dh49m, and a Dh23m deal with Chinese company CTEC International for counter-UAS systems.

The three-day UMEX defence exhibition and conference will run from 23-25 January 2024, hosted at the ADNEC Centre in Abu Dhabi.

Growth across the board for uncrewed systems

Uncrewed systems are increasingly present across warfighting domains, providing benefits such as increased endurance, reduced cost, and attritability for operators. Market forecasts produced by GlobalData indicate that the global uncrewed maritime vehicle (UMV) and uncrewed ground vehicle (UGV) markets are expected to achieve significant growth from 2023-2033.

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The global military UGV market, valued at $358.8m in 2023, is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.71% over the forecast period, to reach $624.9m by 2033 and cumulatively value $5.7bn.

The global military UMV market, valued at $1.3bn in 2023, is projected to grow at a CAGR of 9.52% over the forecast period, reaching $3.2bn by 2033 for a cumulatively value of $24.9bn.

However, the largest market of all the terrestrial domains for uncrewed systems is in the air, and valued by $10.9bn in 2023, according to GlobalData. The sector is projected to grow at a CAGR of 5.1% from 2023-2033, totalling $18.0bn by 2033 and cumulatively valued at $167.0bn.