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Tareq Abdulraheem Al Hosani, CEO of Tawazun, addressed the challenges facing the UAE defence industry today, as he participated in the third panel of the 2021 International Defense Conference today.

There were four main ‘in person and virtual’ sessions; the first session discussed ways to protect artificial intelligence and other Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies from misuse, the second session focused on supply chain disruptions in the defense sector. The third session discussed ways to enhance research and development in defense industries in light of the rapid changes and growing resilience of the defense industry, and the final session examined the challenges arising from the use of modern digital technologies in cybersecurity and the implications of those challenges on defense sector decisions.

Al Hosani participated in the third IDC panel and discussed with the panelists, research and development capabilities in the defense sector and available future technologies, including artificial intelligence, and the civilian applications supported by such research.

He talked about the challenges facing the UAE defence industry today, and how they are being addressed. He said that in previous years the defense and security industry has been very conservative and focused on immediate and urgent needs only.

“We are very conservative in challenging the normal. In the past we have identified and addressed the needs in the military domain, but we need to do more than that.”

Al Hosani used the example of a bullet and said it has stayed the same shape for 100 years and hasn’t changed. “However, today we need to look at more innovative solutions.” he said “Our companies need to address the need but also look at ideas that surround the need. Don’t wait for the client to tell you, think outside the box and look for other ideas and solutions”.

He said that the Defense and Security industry needs to not be afraid to ‘re-invent’ the wheel. He talked about the ‘new, young blood’ that is coming up in the industry, and he embraced the increase of new ideas and thinking that is arriving with a younger generation of employees.

Concluding, Al Hosani mentioned that there were three aspects of R&D and Innovation affected by the pandemic, and obvious lessons learned. The first was cost, because a lot of prices had been driven down. The second was an impact on capabilities, and the third was the need to manage and maintain a secure supply chain.