DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Emirati conglomerate Edge Group has unveiled a series of vertical-takeoff-and-landing drones as well as a precision-guided munition system.
The first day of the Dubai Airshow featured the QX-5 and QX-6 UAVs introduced at the company pavilion with Faisal Al Bannai, the CEO and managing director of Edge, and Ali Al Yafei, the CEO of the subsidiary Adasi.
Al Bannai said the first prototypes of the QX drones and the Rash 2-H weapon system were launched nine months ago.
What can the drones do?
The QX-5 an upgrade of the QX-4 kamikaze drone unveiled at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference held in the United Arab Emirates’ capital Abu Dhabi earlier this year. The QX-5 is designed to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions as well as perform border security missions, among other military operations. It is a fixed-wing aircraft that the company says has a 16-hour endurance with a 25-kilogram payload capacity. It also features autopilot and communications systems.
Muhammed Al Nuaimi, senior business development manager with the manufacturer, told Defense News that the QX-5 was designed to meet the requirements of its customer — meaning the UAE’s armed forces.
“The system is under development, at the preliminary design review stage, and the production unit is expected to come out in the first quarter of 2023,” he said.
The QX-6 also features autopilot and communications systems, and can autonomously perform missions without the need for a remote control. It is guided using set coordinates or a camera to attack its target. It has an extended payload of 150 kilograms to enable it to deliver cargo to remote locations. Depending on its payload configuration, the system has an endurance of up to 4 hours and can be leveraged for both military and commercial applications.
What about the munition system?
Adasi’s Rash 2-H is touted as a cost-effective, highly precise guided munition system capable of swiftly engaging small to medium-sized threats.
Rash 2-H has the highest payload in the Rash family, and can perform patrol missions, provide border security and target threats. The Rash 2-H uses its laser designation system to find and track targets during both day and night operations.
“Rash was made through converting a conventional cheap munition to a guided munition. We started by developing Rash 1, based on 60mm mortars, then we moved to Rash 2 based on 120mm mortars and further upgraded to Rash 2-H” Al Nuaimi told Defense News.
Rash 1 weighs 3.5 kilograms, whereby Rash 2 comes in at about 13.5 kilograms; the difference is mainly the explosive warhead.
“This munition is tested in the UAE with the armed forces and can be integrated to manned or unmanned systems,” Al Nuaimi said.
Agnes Helou was a Middle East correspondent for Defense News. Her interests include missile defense, cybersecurity, the interoperability of weapons systems and strategic issues in the Middle East and Gulf region.