Dubai Air Show

MBDA bets on local tie-up with BMT

 - November 16, 2009, 6:42 AM

MBDA’s joint venture with Abu Dhabi-based Baynuna Aviation Technology, dubbed Baynuna MBDA Missile Technologies (BMT), has just been incorporated. It was announced in February as a 49-51 effort between the European missile manufacturer and the local company. The idea is to show the United Arab Emirates there is a full commitment to work with them and transfer some technologies, hopefully helping sales campaigns in the process, according to MBDA export sales v-p Florent Duleux.

“We are now physically settling in the region,” Duleux told AIN. BMT is headquartered in Abu Dhabi and will have facilities near either Abu Dhabi or Al Ain. Khaled Al Bu-Ainain, Baynuna’s CEO also serves as the venture’s CEO.

BMT will take two existing activities– maintenance/logistics and training, as the UAE operates an integrated training range– under its umbrella and develop them. It also may begin manufacturing missile parts in two or three years. In the same time frame, it may set up an assembly line for some of the UAE’s missiles. Finally, local system integration capabilities may be created. “We may have a workforce of about 80 to 100 employees in two or three years,” Duleux added.

He made it clear that MBDA’s (Stand C220) strategy in the region is driven by France’s “excellent” diplomatic relationship with the UAE and other countries. France, the home country of one of MBDA’s three shareholders, has agreed on missile technology transfers.

However, some of the company’s products, such as the air-to-air Meteor, are outside of this framework. Some of the six nations involved in the program would not agree on technology transfers, therefore, BMT will not manufacture Meteor parts nor assemble it. The Meteor can be found on the Rafale fighter, which the UAE may buy.

Baynuna has similar joint ventures with Dassault, Thales and Snecma–all members of the Rafale Team. “We are the link between the UAE’s current Mirage 2000-9 fighters and the Rafale,” an MBDA spokesman told AIN, pointing out that air forces often like to continue using some of their missiles when upgrading from one fighter to another.