UAE negotiates laser-guided rocket deal

15 November 2011

Local contractor is hopeful an agreement will be reached by end of 2012

Emirates Advanced Investments (EAI) Group is currently in discussions with the UAE Armed Forces over the purchase of the Talon laser-guided rocket developed by US defence contractor Raytheon.

EAI Group is hopeful that an agreement will be reached within one year.

Agreements with other Gulf states are expected to come at a later date. Raytheon was showcasing the Talon laser-guided rocket at the Dubai Airshow. The development of the device is now complete and ready for the production stage.

“One of the small parts of our complete approach for the UAE is to bring in other technological advances,” says Hussain al-Hammadi, chairman of EAI Group.

Al-Hammadi also says that EAI Group is planning on manufacturing the Talon laser-guided rocket in Abu Dhabi.

“We are also pursuing manufacturing capabilities of this product [in Abu Dhabi]. We plan to build the infrastructure,” says Al-Hammadi. This could begin development in about 18 months.

The Talon was tested in the UAE this week, fired from AH-64D Apache helicopters and the mission was successful.

“Our goal has always been to develop the best possible laser-guided rocket solution with our trusted partners in the UAE,” says Michelle Lohmeier, vice-president of Raytheon’s land combat product line. “We are ready for fielding and this demonstration and the recent completion of our qualification programme proves it. This programme establishes a cornerstone for our future business development cooperation.”

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