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Top-performing Emirati interns at Lockheed Martin, the US-based global technology leader, recently showcased their work on advanced technology projects to senior UAE defence industry officials.

Presenting the outcomes of their summer internships at Lockheed Martin’s Center for Innovation and Security Solutions, CISS, in Masdar City, the UAE university students demonstrated real-world aerospace solutions they created to leaders from Tawazun Economic Council (Tawazun), the UAE’s defence and security industry enabler, and EDGE, the advanced technology group for defence and beyond.

Interns from the summer programme’s Artificial Intelligence, AI, team, which drew students from Tawazun’s SEEDS, Sustain & Enhance Emiratisation in Defence and Security, initiative showcased a breakthrough solution for enhanced aircraft inspection that was developed remotely with mentors from Lockheed Martin’s Aeronautics division in Fort Worth, Texas, in the United States. The students created an AI neural network to detect paint and primer defects on aircraft for use on crawler drones that carry out inspections on platforms such as the C-130 and the F-16. The solution will deliver significant time and cost savings compared to an otherwise lengthy process of inspecting defects on aircraft wings and fuselage by hand.

Matar Al Romaithi, Chief Economic Development Officer at Tawazun, said, “At Tawazun, we aim to support the development of essential, qualified human capital for the benefit of the defence and technology industries.”

“Tawazun has implemented many initiatives in cooperation with local and international strategic partners to support and enhance human capital and supply this vital sector with trained national energies and capabilities qualified in various technical and engineering disciplines,” he added.

Khalid Al Breiki, President – Mission Support, EDGE, who interacted with the interns at length, said, “As a nation, we have invested significantly in technological innovation and advancement. Yet, it is the competencies and capabilities of people to develop and operate new technologies that matter the most.”

Bob Harward, Chief Executive for Lockheed Martin Middle East, added, “Our commitment to building the capacity of the UAE’s local workforce remains as strong as ever, and we look forward to working more closely with Tawazun and EDGE to continue to nurture Emirati talent in the aerospace and defence sector moving forward.”

Lockheed Martin’s CISS has been hosting merit-based internship programmes since 2017 and has implemented a series of technology development programmes for Emirati engineers and industry professionals. This year, the programme saw 16 students receive specialist training in AI development and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle design, defence simulation exercises, business administration skills, and IT systems management, working on real-world projects that will positively impact the UAE’s aerospace and defence industry.