ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — UAE-based military MRO and logistics companies are looking to expand their reach beyond the local market but not at the expense of the UAE, according to their top executives.
Retired Brig. Gen. Abdulla Murad Albalooshi, chief executive officer of Abu Dhabi-based Global Aerospace Logistics (GAL), told Defense News that the company is looking to broaden its reach in the future to export the successful joint logistics model used in the UAE.
GAL is a subsidiary of Emirates Defense Industries Corp. (EDIC)
“Since the establishment of GAL nine years ago, the focus has been on supporting the UAE and while we have been looking at regional opportunities, we do not want to lose this focus,” he said.
“In the future with EDIC, we see tremendous opportunities in the region as we work with our allies and partners. We have created a model that works well here in the UAE and we can use that model to the benefit of other countries in the region.”
GAL is a key player in support of the UAE armed forces’ military equipment. It was created in 2007 as part of a joint logistics program to allow the UAE military to outsource non-core functions such as maintenance and training to a UAE-owned company.
Today, GAL has over 3,000 employees performing many services, including maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), and are looking to expand their portfolio of services by offering the UAE armed forces performance-based logistics solutions as well as the transactional military logistics services they currently perform, Albalooshi said.
GAL is the largest subcontractor to the Advanced Military Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Co. (AMMROC) as well as a direct contractor with the UAE Armed Forces General Headquarters.
“In fact, we are responsible to AMMROC for the maintenance services for the majority of the aircraft operated by the Joint Aviation Command,” Albalooshi said.
For the short term, GAL will continue to focus on developing staff capabilities in maintenance, advanced technical training and performance-based logistics solutions while creating more opportunities for Emiratis, Albalooshi added.
“For the long term, we will look at other adjacent opportunities in the region and with the continued support of the leadership in the UAE; we see a very bright future for GAL.”
Ahmed Bin Adi, CEO of land-based sister company Al Taif Technical Services, said that they have been approached by friendly nations and intend to secure opportunities regionally.
“We were approached by other GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries to duplicate the Al Taif concept in their countries,” he said.
“Many visited our facilities to look at our concept and look at how we succeeded in outsourcing some of the activities from the military to the private sector. Saudi Arabia is looking closely at our concept, Kuwait is still reviewing it as well as Qatar,” he said.
Al Taif is engaging with overseas customers that have operations in the region.
“We have some demands from friendly nations; rather than sending a lot of the equipment needing repair or MRO work back to their home countries which is a logistic cost to them, to bring it to a regional hub,” he said.
“A lot of the international big players that visited our facilities identify Al Taif as a first choice for them in bidding to any contract. And right now, what happened is a lot of the bidders, a lot of OEMs [original equipment manufacturers], they include Al Taif as their subcontractor whenever they bid for projects to GHQ”.
Bin Adi added that American and French companies are moving toward the concept that Al Taif could provide a regional hub with in-house or in-country services to international OEMs.