During Dubai Airshow 2019, Al Jundi reporter Mohamed Fahed AL Halabieh met with Mr. Alan Davis, Chief Executive of Raytheon Emirates Ltd., which has long-standing relations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and discussed with him the capabilities Raytheon brought to the exhibition, areas of cooperation between his company and the UAE and some other relevant issues.
How do you assess your relationships with the UAE, especially with the armed forces, and in what areas?
We have enjoyed a long sustaining relationship with the UAE, over thirty plus years, and that relationship starts from the highest echelon of UAE leadership all the way through all the branches of the UAE armed forces, the land forces, the airforces, the air defence, and the navy, But more importantly into the supply base, the strategic partners with Tawazun and Mubadala and into the Academic community, and so we have a broad base here in the UAE. These relationships were founded on trust, innovation, collaboration and accountability, the core values of our company, very similar to the values and vision of the founding fathers of this country. It has been an important part of our success here.
Do you eye any growing ties with UAE’s defence industry, especially, with the newly declared conglomerate, EDGE?
Raytheon is working with UAE authorities to help localise the country’s defence industry. Dealing with one entity – as opposed to 25 – will help both Raytheon and its Emirati partners to be more streamlined and efficient.
Raytheon is eying opportunities to ramp up its relationship with the UAE’s newly formed EDGE defence giant as it works to build local talent and develop advanced technologies. We’re very excited about the launch of EDGE. We [already] have partnerships with many of the companies that are a part of it. We see the EDGE entity as being a ‘pull signal’ for many of the systems and solutions we would like to bring to the UAE. If you look at their goals of wanting to accelerate technology solutions…it’s very similar to our goals of accelerating change and addressing market conditions and threats. We’re working very collaboratively with them. We’ve held several meetings with them and will continue to evolve that relationship.
Some companies talk about partnership, but benefits in the end go to one party and not the other, what does Partnership mean to Raytheon?
I think at the end of the day what defines partnership is the legacy of the partnership and the diversity of programs and the products you support. We are not just one program here, we are a multiple programs and products across a multiple sector of the defence industry, more importantly, a part of the community. We are working with the space agency here and their pursuits with space education, we are in the academic community, we are in the arts community, it’s a broad base of relationships we have to provide mutual benefits not only to Raytheon, but more importantly to the community here in the UAE, to the armed forces and to space community.
Some companies have restrictions on transferring advanced technologies, what about Raytheon?
Certainly we follow our State Department policy, that’s what guides us, but there are capabilities and technologies that we’ve been able to provide through proper channels to advance the UAE’s technologies and capabilities and to provide the highest quality of systems and solutions.
In this edition of the Show, what kind of capabilities have you brought with you?
We have brought counter UAV’s, counter UAS, an a counter cruise missile technology and latest product offerings as well as our integrated missile defence offerings. If you look at the September 14 th. event in the region, that incident is driving a demand for products and services. Certainly it has raised a sense of urgency and concern here. And so we are listening to our partners here and how we can provide regional security to sustain the stability in the region, and more importantly continue to provide sovereignty to the UAE.
Only a few weeks before the opening of this Show, an urgent need emerged for confronting two new threats in the region, drones and cyber attacks. What kind of solutions or capabilities have you brought with you to address those threats?
Ever since those events, we’ve had very detailed discussions to provide security against threats from counter UAV’s to counter UAS to concerns about cyber security. When you look at Raytheon, people see Raytheon as a defence contractor, but more importantly, Raytheon defence the dark mail from cyber security for the US government. The systems and solutions we are bringing here are very similar to the US. In fact we’ve brought here to the UAE the same program we use to defend our nation capital.
How do you contribute to supporting the cyber security capability of the armed forces in the region?
When you look at the world today, how everything is in node and a network. Every network is a part of a larger network, the best products, services still have to be secured by integrity of the system and how we protect those with cyber security is a vital part of that process for us, and so we continue to work with UAE entities from the educational cyber workshops to, the implementation of cyber ranges where daily and constantly we are looking at new emerging threats and how we defeat those threats from cyber environment.
How about drone swarms? What kind of solutions does Raytheon have to defeat such a threat?
It is certainly a dynamic, complex threat that has urban concerns and outside urban concerns, and how we detect, defend and defeat those threats depends on where we are in the field, and how we would detect and defeat those threats inside urban environment would be very different from what would do outside the urban environment. We have a layered defence approach to engage those, so we can minimize any type of concerns inside an urban environment.
Layered defence could be an effective solution, but armed forces are still looking for a less costly solution. Simply they do not want to use a very expensive system, like Patriot missile, against a very cheap drone which is still a threat? What do you think?
When you look at the proliferation of drones and commercial availability of those drones and their numbers, you’ll discover that these systems can be prepared from a toy store or a hobby store and defending them with high-end weapon systems is not the most economical means to do that. We have a variety of solutions from hyper microwaves to lasers to effectors to defend and defeat many of those.
What does Dubai Airshow and other UAE defence Shows mean to Raytheon?
Dubai Airshow allows us to have very specific conversations about the concerns of the region and about its security needs with a cross –section of our customers and our partners to help identify solutions for emerging threats which help to bring proper solutions to defeat those threats. The show also helps us to display our capabilities and communicate with our customers, discussing their needs and meeting those needs in the best way and as fast as possible.
Interviewed by: Mohamed Fahed AL Halabieh – Photography by: Mohammed Alshaer