A delegation from the Emirati Ministry of Defense led by Maj. Gen. Dr. Mubarak bin Ghafan Al Jabri visited Lockheed Martin’s Center for Innovation and Security Solutions (CISS) in Abu Dhabi in June 2021.
Robert Harward, Lockheed Martin’s chief executive in the Middle East, expanded on his company’s efforts to advance the skills of Emirati engineers toward developing a domestic defense industry.
Chief Engineer Hala Al-Zarqani, the first female Emirati engineer to work for CISS, briefed the delegation on the progress of CISS programs to boost Emirati innovation and nurture the capabilities of young Emiratis in the defense and space industry.
Lockheed opened a collaboration center in Abu Dhabi in December 2018 to explore innovation, advance security and help the United Arab Emirates (UAE) achieve its vision of diversifying its economy to include production of military equipment. According to Lockheed, CISS is the first of its kind outside the United States.
Since 2017, CISS has hosted more than 100 Emirati engineers, who have developed skills through specialized training programs in the defense industry. These programs provide training in artificial intelligence, drone design, defense simulation exercises, business management skills, software development and information technology systems management.
To develop a domestic defense industry, the UAE not only welcomes subsidiaries of globally known munitions producers, but founded the Emirates Defense Industries Co. in December 2014. It was absorbed by a larger conglomerate called EDGE in November 2019 and employs more than 12,000 people in 25 subsidiaries.
Sources: Al Ittihad, Lockheed Martin, Emirates News Agency