Tawazun Economic Council, (Tawazun) initiated the landed company concept in 2018, whereby foreign defense firms have been able to establish an entirely self-owned subsidiary in the UAE and engage fully with the defense and security industry. To date the concept has proved effective and is expected to benefit the defense and security industry and support the national SMEs, with four companies establishing individual, wholly owned subsidiaries within the UAE.
One case in point is Saab, who have had a long and fruitful connection with the UAE and welcomed the opportunity to enhance its presence, officially being announced as a Landed Company in 2019 and agreeing on a business plan with Tawazun, as a first step towards continuous development of Saab’s Abu Dhabi operations.
Saab established its development and production center at Tawazun Industrial Park (TIP) in order to develop and produce a variety of defense and security products. Saab’s initial focus is on sensor systems for civil applications, products within the telecommunications area and vehicle electronics.
But Saab’s intent is to do more than that for the UAE. Saab’s planning includes growing its operations and creating many more high-tech jobs to further build engineering skills in the country. The recognition that a successful strategic partnership between Tawazun and Saab, was one where key technologies within the UAE are cultivated through the development of local skills and capabilities.
And they started at their center. Today local employees from various countries including Emirati nationals staff the company. and their plan is to grow Saab as fast as possible, develop advanced technologies, establish a local supply chain, build engineering skills and continue creating high-tech jobs, further increasing the number of Emirati nationals.
Matar Ali Al Romaithi, Chief Executive of the Economic Development Unit at Tawazun, commented: “The business plan that Saab is following also reflects Tawazun’s commitment to the development of the defense and security industry. It is through partnerships such as this that we can continue to develop and build up our critical technical capabilities and our national competencies and skills, fortifying the contribution to the UAE.”
Commenting on Saab’s partnership with Tawazun, Anna-Karin Rosén, Managing Director of Saab Ltd. said: “Saab in the UAE has seen substantial growth in recent years, which is testament to the success of our partnership with Tawazun. Hand-in-hand, we are looking forward to putting our research and development efforts into new areas to support the UAE’s ambition of building its defense and security industry and ecosystem. We are also excited to be collaborating with Tawazun on training and development initiatives to help grow Emirati talent in the industry.”
Saab is collaborating with local academia as it seeks to invest in research and development and is working with Tawazun on the Sustain & Enhance Emiratization in Defense & Security (SEEDS) program, which facilitates opportunities for students at three Emirati universities and one technical college studying engineering or computer science.
Zaal Zayed Al Mansoori, Executive Director, Industrial Development at Tawazun, noted that Tawazun is pleased to be able to work with Saab in such a creative way, with Saab working to supply valuable internships that will lead to future employment, benefitting both themselves and the UAE defense and security industry as a whole.
The Saab story is a sign of success for Tawazun as it continues to encourage and develop relationships with international defense companies, creating globally integrated industry sectors for the benefit of the UAE.