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Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna introduces Estonia’s defence industry in Abu Dhabi

22. February 2017 - 10:40

At his meeting with Mohamed Ahmed Al Bowardi, Minister of State for Defence Affairs for the United Arab Emirates, Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna held negotiations for expanding opportunities for cyber defence cooperation.

“Bilateral relations between Estonia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have primarily intensified in the field of ICT. The Minister of State for Defence Affairs for the UAE emphasised that more and more contributions must be made to cyber defence, and within that field there is great interest in Estonia’s experiences and new solutions,” said Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna.

According to Tsahkna, Estonia’s advantage in the defence industry sector are its innovative solutions, and greater attention has already been paid to developments in cyber defence, border defence and unmanned systems.

Minister Tsahkna, along with the Estonian company Milrem, met yesterday with IGG Aselsan Systems, the largest defence industry company in the United Arab Emirates. Within the framework of that meeting, IGG and Milrem concluded an agreement to begin selling unmanned armoured ground vehicles to the United Arab Emirates. A meeting also took place with the company ST Kinetics, from Singapore, with which Milrem is holding negotiations concerning the construction of a joint development and manufacturing enterprise in Estonia.

Ingvar Pärnamäe, CEO of the Estonian Defence Industry Association, stated that the arrival of ST Kinetics in Estonia would be an important milestone for Estonia’s defence industry in terms of the development of the sector. “The willingness and desire of ST Kinetics to come to Estonia is important to Milrem, who will be able to move forward more boldly with its own product development, and very important to Estonia's defence industry as a whole, since it shows that our companies have reached the next level of development in terms of their development and results, which is valued in the world," said Pärnamäe, assessing the start of the important cooperation.

Negotiations also took place with local border security representatives, who have tested the border defence system Smartdec, developed by Estonian company Defendec, on the border between UAE and Oman. That same border defence system is also used to monitor Estonia's land borders along with all land borders in the Baltics.

The Minister of Defence also met, within the framework of IDEX, with representatives from Hanwha Techwin, manufacturer of the K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzer, and globally recognised defence industry undertakings such as Raytheon, L3 Technologies, Kongsberg, Rockwell Collins, and Advanced Electronics Company, one of Saudi Arabia's largest companies.

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