by Derek Bisaccio, @DerekBisaccio
Citing Ucha Dzodzuashvili, former Director of Georgia’s government-owned STC Delta, Georgia News reported on May 26 that an agreement had been reached earlier in the year between Georgia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) regarding the sale of remote-controlled weapons systems.
The $32 million deal was reportedly reached on March 15 of this year, putting it prior to Defense Minister Tinatin Khidasheli’s decision to fire Dzodzuashvili over issues with STC Delta’s anti-hail system. Under the reported agreement, Georgia will sell DRWS-2 remote-controlled weapon systems of the same type that equip the domestically-produced Lazika Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV).
The DRWS-2 remote turret comprises a 23mm 2A14 (80 or 100 rounds) and a 7.62mm PKT (500 rounds). The 2A14 has a range of 2,000 meters.
The turret’s design allows for the integration of different armaments and could potentially accommodate multiple launch rocket systems, surface-to-air missiles, or anti-tank guided missiles. The DRWS-2’s targeting system includes night vision capability.
Georgia News reported that the first shipment of Georgian equipment should arrive to the UAE soon, if it has not been delivered already. The hardware included in the first batch supposedly has a value of $11 million, which would make it roughly a third of the total order (by cost).
Previously, in January, Dzodzuashvili noted that STC Delta was in talks for two agreements, worth a combined $135 million (at current exchange). He did not specify who those agreements were with or what they included, but one would presumably have been the UAE deal.
The sale has not been confirmed by either party, nor did Dzodzuashvili indicate to Georgia News if the UAE was also purchasing the Lazika or any other hardware in the contract, though the $32 million price tag suggests it is a substantial purchase. For a cost comparison, STC Delta is due to deliver at least 100 Didgori vehicles (supposedly all of which are the MEDEVAC versions) to Saudi Arabia under a $40 million deal.
It is possible that the reported UAE deal also includes a sale of Lazika vehicles or other products from STC Delta. It could also be possible that the UAE purchased solely the DRWS-2 remote-controlled turret but in large volumes, with the intention of testing integrating the turret into locally-designed platforms, similar to what the UAE plans to do with Russian-made AU-220M turrets.
If the deal is confirmed, it marks a significant step forward for Georgia’s military industry and adds to the UAE’s diverse number of suppliers for its growing defense industry.
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