Calidus B-250 has already generated significant interest among regional and international air forces, and its characteristics make it a good contender from reconnaissance and trainer platform. - Supplied photo
In a major landmark in the history of the UAE's defence aviation industry, the Abu Dhabi-based company Calidus has launched a light attack fighter aircraft and will soon start building it within the country.
Hamdan Abdulla Al Shkeili, chief software engineer, Calidus, said the company has put up one prototype of B250 on display at the Dubai Airshow and another is participating in the flying display. "We have negotiations with many customers; we are very competitive, too, in terms of pricing which will surprise many when we'll release it soon. We have full IP rights as well. We plan to build an industrial complex in Al Ain city for complete manufacturing of B250 here locally. We have started work and will be completing soon. But I can't disclose the investment and further information," Al Shkeili said.
"Warfare conditions have changed. You have asymetric warfare where army is hitting small groups. So you need solutions that give high-end performance and are powerful for the pilots to identify threats and attack them. You need something that is not expensive in terms of operational cost and good in performance too."
Al Shkeili revealed that they have the suppliers from all over the world but the intellectual property rights belong to Calidus. Calidus B-250, according to Al Shkeili, has already generated significant interest among regional and international air forces, and its characteristics make it a good contender from reconnaissance and trainer platform, with an extensive multirole weapons capability. American multinational company Rockwell Collins, which provides avionics and information technology systems and services to governmental agencies and aircraft manufacturers, is strategic partner in the project.
"The UAE aerospace and defense industry continues to grow. We look forward to working with Calidus to provide our expertise to develop new, local capabilities so customers in the region are equipped to succeed," said Colin Mahoney, senior vice-president, International and Service Solutions for Rockwell Collins.