BEIRUT: US-based L3Harris Technologies and UAE firm Al Taif have signed a new agreement aimed at modernizing the Emirates’ ground forces, with executives from both sides holding the deal up as a sign that American commitment in the region remains strong.

The deal, inked Sept. 8, covers a $13 million integration services contract for the final phase of L3Harris’ systems integration project conducted on the vehicle fleet of the UAE Armed Forces. The agreement mandates Al Taif to deliver program management and engineering services for Phase 3 including fabrication, bracket design support and installation.

Al Taif acting CEO Saif Al Dahbashi told Breaking Defense that the overall cost of the project’s three phrases  is $19 million. Work began in 2014 and is expected to be completed in mid-2022.

“This partnership is testament to the company’s continued leadership in the MRO industry and to the dependability and durability of our offerings,” Al Dahbashi said. “We are confident that this will lead to future opportunities and provide the company with new avenues of growth.”

The works will be performed on all types of military vehicles, from light to medium and heavy armored.

“Our knowledge and experience is not confined to any specific vehicle,” he said. “We are prepared to provide the most complex and premium-quality maintenance services across a comprehensive portfolio, delivered against rigorous timelines in order to maximize vehicle and other asset availability.”

The UAE operates a large fleet of indigenous vehicles, the including Ajban 440 armored vehicle, HAFEET 630A armored personal carrier, and the 4×4 JAIS MRAP.

Al Taif, a part of the UAE-owned EDGE Group conglomerate, is responsible for the maintenance, support and technical readiness of all of the UAE Armed Forces tracked and wheeled vehicles. L3Harris is the lead systems integrator for the Emirates Land Tactical Systems (ELTS) contract for the UAE land forces.

As the prime contractor, L3Harris assembled a global consortium of suppliers for this mission critical requirement while fully supporting the earlier land forces’ communications equipment investments.

“The trust in our advanced technologies and proven C4I integration capabilities has enabled us to deliver a fully integrated digital battlefield management system across a full spectrum of ground tactical vehicles and command and control centers,” Gary Rosholt, L3Harris Technologies’ vice president for Middle East operations, said in an interview.

“This key ELTS partnership with Al Taif has enhanced our broader relationship with EDGE Group given the diversity of our L3Harris all domain, integrated mission systems technologies and the group’s advanced technology requirements and strategic partnership opportunities,” he added.