CARACAL is a renowned global company in the field of small arms manufacturing. With over fifteen years of experience, it specializes in designing, manufacturing, and assembling high-precision firearms. CARACAL is headquartered in Abu Dhabi and is part of the Missiles and Weapons sector within EDGE Group. CARACAL has various products including pistols, submachine guns, assault rifles, and sniper rifles in various calibres.
CARACAL employs state-of-the-art computer-controlled machines, along with quality control devices and mould manufacturing techniques, in its production processes to ensure the highest standards in its exceptional facilities. To gain a better understanding of CARACAL’s latest developments and future projects, Al-Jundi Journal interviewed Mr Hamad Salem Al Ameri, the CEO of CARACAL and had the following dialogue with him:
Tell us about CARACAL and its fields of work in general, and about the most prominent products that the company offers to its customers
CARACAL is a world-renowned small-arms manufacturer. We design, manufacture, assemble and test high-performance products according to NATO and International Military Standards, ranging from pistols to sniper rifles. With over 15 years of experience, we have established ourselves as pioneers in building high-precision weapons. Our mission-proven firearms combine accuracy and reliability for law enforcement, security, and military forces around the world. Although we offer a wide range of exceptional products, CARACAL EF, CMP9, CAR816 and CSR338 stand out as our most prominent firearms.
The CARACAL Enhanced F (EF) Pistol
The CARACAL Enhanced F (EF) pistol is chambered in 9x19mm and is a compact and reliable firearm, known for its high-quality construction and performance. The CARACAL EF was designed with a focus on accuracy, safety and durability. It features a lightweight polymer frame and the modern design, coupled with the ergonomic grip, ensures a comfortable and secure hold for the shooter. Launched in 2015, it is a relatively new weapon that has been extensively tested in the harshest conditions to meet recognized standards. It carries a high-capacity 18-round 9mm magazine and retains the unique low bore axis found on previous CARACAL pistols that helps reduce muzzle rise, enhancing control and follow-up shots.
The CAR 816
The CAR 816 is a centre-fire tactical rifle operating on a short-stroke gas piston, rotating bolt system. As a tactical weapon, it is designed for high-end use in law enforcement and military applications. Chambered in 5.56x45mm, the CAR 816 is available in multiple barrel lengths and features full ambidextrous configurations.
The CSR 338
Chambered in 0.338 Lapua Magnum, the CSR 338 is a modern and rugged bolt action precision sniper rifle. Finding use in the most demanding environments, the CSR 388 has been designed with a sharp focus on accuracy, reliability, durability, safety and operator convenience.
The CMP 9
The CMP 9 is a modern and modular sub-machine gun (SMG). Chambered in 9x19mm, it operates on an advanced blowback system with the bolt extending over the barrel for optimal weight distribution and weapon control. Available in Standard and Short versions, it features a rear ambidextrous charging handle and traditional assault rifle fire controls.
How do you assess the cooperation between your company and GCC countries, particularly the United Arab Emirates?
CARACAL develops, innovates and produces firearms that are critical to the defence and sovereignty of the UAE. Outside the UAE, we have established ties with various GCC countries, where our products are in service with various armed forces and law enforcement agencies. We are continually establishing new relationships and reinforcing existing partnerships. Supplying GCC countries with products that are designed and produced to flawlessly operate in their operational environments is a key part of our product development roadmap.
What are CARACAL’s investments in the UAE and who do you primarily work with?
CARACAL is rooted in the UAE. Founded in 2007, we are the first firearms manufacturer in the GCC region, designing, engineering and manufacturing mission-proven firearms from combat pistols to anti-material sniper rifles, here in the UAE. We have strived to develop advanced R&D and manufacturing facilities at the Tawazun Industrial Park (TIP). At every phase of product development, we harness the latest technologies to ensure our products surpass the stringent international standards set out by the Commission Internationale Permanente Pour L’épreuve des Armes à Feu Portatives (CIP) and NATO. Working closely with our customers, both locally and globally, we deliver firearms that are tailored for the modern soldier, operational requirements and mission success.
What new products is CARACAL offering the UAE and Gulf region?
We are consistently adding to our expansive product portfolio. Launched in 2021, the CARACAL F Gen II is a highly versatile semi-automatic pistol. Our R&D team conducted a rigorous development programme to deliver the most competitive pistol to the end user. Chambered in 9x19mm, the CARACAL F Gen II features a completely new integrated solid slide, an enhanced trigger for an even smoother and crisper pull and an adapted MIL-SPEC Picatinny rail.
The CARACAL LIGHT MACHINE GUN 556 (CLMG 556) is a new, belt-fed, fully-automatic light machine gun, chambered in 5.56x45mm. It has several unique features, including a quick interchangeable barrel, an advanced long-stroke gas piston system, and a lightweight design, weighing only 7.8kg. Developed with the end-user in mind, the factors underpinning its design are modularity, ergonomics, weight, accuracy, and durability. It comes standard with a five-position telescoping adjustable stock and three position adjustable cheekpiece. Adding to the CLMG 556’s features is a fixed iron sight with range adjustment and a built-in bipod that has a three-position adjustable height.
What are your company’s future plans?
In line with EDGE’s overall objectives, our roadmap is aimed at developing innovative firearm solutions, playing our role in positioning the UAE as a leading global hub of advanced manufacturing and growing our sovereign capabilities for a more secure future.
At CARACAL, our rapidly growing product portfolio reflects our ambition to develop the next generation of firearms. From conception to production, we work with speed, agility, and efficiency to ensure that our products remain at the cutting edge of the industry. Our firearms now compete in the top tier of the firearms industry and are disrupting the status quo for quality and precision.
Our global footprint now covers Europe and North America through our wholly owned subsidiaries Haenel, Merkel and CARACAL USA, South-East Asia through our licensing and manufacturing agreements, and North Africa through our manufacturing facilities in Algeria, reinforcing the UAE’s position as a leading global hub for advanced small arms solutions. We are a partner to our customers, and being open to business models that create value and suit the circumstances is a clear part of CARACAL’s future plans. What we do today, secures tomorrow. Our commitment to the future is therefore two-fold; to develop ingenious small arms that stand out internationally for the right reasons, and to be a catalyst in the realisation of the UAE’s defence ambitions.
In terms of localization, which is something the UAE has been urging companies to do, what has CARACAL done in this regard?
CARACAL has always been produced locally. Our entire line of firearms is manufactured in the UAE at our state-of-the-art facilities at TIP, and we are a company that develops UAE Intellectual Property (IP). Additionally, we provide an environment for the next generation of high-skilled UAE talent to thrive. In line with ‘Operation 300bn’, an industrialisation strategy set out by the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology and mandated by UAE leadership, CARACAL is directly contributing to the development of a local defence industrial base, generating in-country value, diversifying the economy, and helping to position the UAE as a serious global defence player.
How would you evaluate your recent experience and participation in IDEX 2023, and did it meet your expectations and the requirements of the defence sector in general?
IDEX 2023 was a momentous event for CARACAL. Over the course of the event, we launched a new category of firearm – a light machine gun available as part of our small arms solutions offering, signed a historic transfer of technology agreement that highlighted the international demand for UAE-based IP, and signed an agreement to enhance local defence industry R&D capabilities.
The Gulf region’s market is currently witnessing intense competition. What makes CARACAL products attractive to customers?
Our solutions are not only attractive but stand out in the regional and international markets. CARACAL’s firearms flawlessly operate in the harshest environments, are tailored for the modern soldier, provide flexible ergonomics, exceed international standards of quality, and guarantee operational readiness with attentive aftersales support.
What are your plans for ADIHEX 2023, and what’s new in your participation this year?
CARACAL’s appearance at ADIHEX will be focused on honouring our heritage and inspiring the future of the small arms industry. Without giving away too much, this will be done through a showcase of boutique firearms that artistically represent the UAE’s heritage. Additionally, we will have our full range of firearms on display, including custom CARACAL pistols and hunting rifles from Merkel and partner, LIWA Arms.●
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