But having a UAE partner is no guarantee of success. It has long been believed that the Talon laser-guided rocket, developed jointly by Raytheon and Emirates Advanced Investments (EAI), would be selected for the UAE armed forces. Although the system is ready for production, it has not been selected. Instead, to meet what is understood to be an urgent operational requirement, the UAE chose the Roketsan Cirit guided rocket, making the country the first export customer for the system.
However, the strength of local businesses in high-tech capabilities will continue to be dependent on Western companies, at least in the medium-term. That will come though the development of offsets and the creation of new skills and competencies in critical systems—such as radar—with the forming of local companies like Abu Dhabi Advanced Radar Systems (Adars), created by Saab and Tawazun. Formed to support Saab radars already in-country, the company will eventually develop its own product, probably a ground-based AESA radar system, in the next five years.
BAE Systems has already done some of the groundwork as it leads the push to sell the Eurofighter Typhoon to the UAE air force. As part of an industrialization plan being put together by BAE Systems ahead of a possible sale, the company approached several potential suppliers to examine the capabilities available in the country. To demonstrate its competencies, Tawazun Precision Industries (TPI), using plans provided by BAE, produced single examples of aluminum structural components for the aircraft. According to BAE Systems officials, Tawazun also offered to produce examples of titanium parts used in the firewall section of the airframe between the two EJ200 engines.