How Israel’s HevenDrones latest hydrogen-powered drone can help UAE?

Israeli technology company HevenDrones announced that it will showcase its hydrogen-powered drone for defense and commercial use at the upcoming International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi next week.

The new H2D55 model is said to be five times more energy efficient than conventional lithium-battery-powered drones and fly at seven kilograms for 100 minutes, according to a Tuesday press release.

The company says the net-zero emissions lightweight drone will not require regular battery replacement, eliminating the environmental impact of lithium mining and also reducing operating costs for companies planning to deploy it at scale.

It will premiere at IDEX in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, one of the few defense and security events in the Middle East and North Africa region, which begins on Monday. It’s the first of three drones set to be unveiled over the next nine months, with each subsequent version having a heavier payload and longer battery life, lasting 100 minutes in the air.

Seth Frantzman, author of Drone Wars and contributor for Defense News and the Jerusalem Post, said drones with these capabilities would be well suited for the UAE in homeland security, law enforcement and other types of government services. “Drones can be really good for fighting smuggling or piracy and also big fires that are hard to reach,” he said.

Frantzman told Al-Monitor that drones are already serving a useful purpose in Bahrain’s partnership with the US Navy, which the Israeli Defense Ministry is describing as the first regional partnership of its kind. An operation called Task Force 59 deploys unmanned surface vessels in the Gulf, he said, to find smugglers or deal with Iranian threats.

In early 2022, the UAE capital faced a series of drone strikes by Iran-allied Houthis in Yemen, killing three people. Subsequent attacks were intercepted.

The H2D55’s defense configuration is designed to allow longer duration surveillance missions and payloads with larger amounts of medical aid, food and ammunition. Its commercial applications range from measuring soil nutrient levels for crops to delivering equipment during disasters.

The UAE is well positioned to leverage its ties with Israel in this area, Frantzman said. “The government is willing to experiment a lot. If they want to be the first country to do something like drone delivery of things or build materials or medicines, they will do it,” he said. He reiterated the commonly shared notion that Israel is a start-up nation while the UAE is a scale-up nation.

“The UAE is a huge hub in terms of connecting Asia with Africa and the West and also seeing what innovators in the UAE have in mind with Israeli high-tech,” Frantzman said.

This is the third time that Israeli companies are participating in the global defense exhibition in Abu Dhabi, which is expected to attract over 1,350 exhibitors from more than 65 countries.

The signing of the Abraham Accords in 2020 normalized diplomatic relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco and enabled free trade. Israel’s ties with the countries brought in $2.85 billion in 2022, according to Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen in a Reuters report earlier this year.

In May last year, the UAE signed a free trade agreement with Israel that would eliminate tariffs on 96% of goods, expected to boost bilateral trade by $10 billion over five years.


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