Eager to establish itself as an autonomy leader, EDGE Group unveiled 11 new unmanned solutions across the air, land, and maritime domains on the opening day of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX 2023) in Abu Dhabi.
Since its formation in 2019, the UAE-based cluster of defence and security companies has become an emerging leader in developing and manufacturing technologically advanced autonomous systems for tactical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), logistics support, and combat operations.
“Today marks the culmination of extensive investment in industry-leading companies, innovation, and rapid product development to significantly expand our offerings and ensure our local and global customers can access the most cutting-edge solutions in the market,” stated Mansour Almulla, CEO and Managing Director of EDGE Group. “We are proud to debut a portfolio of ‘Made in the UAE’ autonomy-enabled solutions that will enable our customers to expand their reach to new heights and depths across multiple combat environments.”
Several of the autonomous solutions on display follow strategic acquisitions the company made, including its recent acquisition of a majority stake in Estonia’s Milrem Robotics, which manufactures the THeMIS unmanned ground vehicles and Remote Combat Vehicles.
In the air domain, EDGE Group sought to make its mark with its ADASI subsidiary, unveiling a range of new unmanned air systems at the show, including the JENIAH unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), which the company says features a substantial payload, extended range, and can operate at high speeds.
With an even higher payload of 500 kg and a maximum range of 360 km at a cruising speed of 120 km/h, the AIRTRUCK is a logistics UAV designed to resupply forces in remote locations, and for medical evacuation, and reconnaissance.
ADASI also announced another addition to its QX range, the QX6-50, which it has developed for military and civilian logistics applications. Capable of carrying a 50 kg payload for up to 200 km, the rotary-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can operate autonomously and is highly modular with other QX variants for ease of maintenance.
Other UAVs on show include the Instrumented Testing Platform is a fixed-wing UAV that provides for in-house flight testing of air-to-surface munitions.
Following a strategic investment in UTM provider High Lander, EDGE also showcased two unmanned traffic management (UTM) solutions. Universal UTM offers real-time, autonomous monitoring of flight plans and drone activity, with the capability to approve or deny flights, suggest alternative routes, and react to mid-flight changes. The interactive Mission Control Platform enables users to automate and control a drone fleet to execute operations, and offers real-time airspace control.
Following the acquisition of a majority stake in Estonia-based Milrem Robotics, EDGE Group showcased three of its cutting-edge unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), the THeMIS Combat UGV, which provides high-precision direct fire support for manoeuvre units and acts as a force multiplier, while THeMIS Observe UGV is built for tactical reconnaissance missions with a variety of sensors for day and night operations.
Serving as a wingman to mechanised units, Milrem’s Type X Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) is rapidly deployable alongside traditional infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) to provide overmatching firepower and tactical usage on the battlefield. Milrem Robotics’ unmanned systems are complemented with Milrem’s Intelligent Functions Kit MIFIK, which provides autonomous capabilities and a command-and-control system intended specifically for robotic systems that integrates multiple dissimilar unmanned aerial and ground assets.
Demonstrating its commitment to advancing in-house capabilities, EDGE also presented an 8x8 Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) concept, the NIMR RCV, which is built for tactical mobility, high performance, manoeuvrability, and speed. Modular in design, the multi-role platform can lower lethality risks by increasing standoff distance from enemy units.
In the maritime domain, ADSB’s 170 Detector USV, which is designed for maritime ISR missions and underwater mine detection, can be configured for manned or unmanned operations to perform a range of surface warfare, surveillance and mapping missions for naval and civilian forces. With a length of 17 m, it can operate for up to four hours in silent electric propulsion mode or at speeds up to 40 knots in diesel mode.