Saab’s Strategic Vision for UAE Defense: Interview with Heléne Bittmann, Managing Director of Saab in the UAE

In the domain of defense and security solutions, Saab exemplifies innovation and dedication, continuously pushing boundaries and establishing new benchmarks. At the helm of Saab’s operations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is Heléne Bittmann, a distinguished leader with extensive experience spanning military and corporate spheres. As the Managing Director of Saab in the UAE, Bittmann brings a wealth of expertise from her tenure as Head of Saab AB’s production and development facility in Abu Dhabi’s Tawazun Industrial Park (TIP), along with various pivotal roles within Saab globally.

In this exclusive interview with Defense Arabia, Heléne Bittmann offers invaluable insights into Saab’s strategic vision for the UAE, shedding light on the company’s endeavors to fortify its position as a cornerstone of the nation’s defense and security sector. From the expansion of its local footprint to the nurturing of Emirati talent and the exploration of novel avenues for collaboration, Heléne elucidates Saab’s unwavering commitment to advancing technological prowess, fostering strategic partnerships, and contributing to the UAE’s journey towards self-reliance and innovation in defense capabilities.

Join us as we delve into the mind of a leader whose dedication and foresight continue to shape Saab’s trajectory in the UAE, propelling the company towards greater heights of success and significance in the global defense arena.

Could you elaborate on your experience as the Head of Saab AB’s production and development facility in Abu Dhabi’s Tawazun Industrial Park (TIP), and the impact it had on Saab UAE’s operations?

My time as the Head of Saab’s development facility in Abu Dhabi’s Tawazun Industrial Park (TIP) focused on enhancing Saab UAE’s product offering, operational efficiency and innovation capacity. The facility continues to play a crucial role in supporting the UAE’s vision of a competitive defence and security industry, we’re developing advanced technologies to cater to a dynamic market, expanding our local supply chain, and growing our Emirati workforce.

How do you plan to build on the foundation laid by Anna-Karin Rosén and further strengthen Saab UAE’s position in the region?

I am pleased to build upon the strong foundation that Anna-Karin Rosén has established, and her contributions to Saab’s success in the UAE. Her dedication has been instrumental in positioning Saab as a key player in the region. As I assume this role, my commitment is to continue to innovate, expand our reach, and strengthen our strategic partnerships, ensuring that Saab’s presence and impact in the UAE endures and prospers in the years to come.

Saab’s footprint in the UAE is expanding, currently with over 150 employees. What strategies do you have in place to ensure the continued success and growth of Saab’s operations in the country?

One of our key strategies is our commitment to supporting Emiratisation. We are dedicated to providing UAE nationals with rewarding career paths that contribute to the country’s growing economy. Through our strong emphasis on career growth and skill enhancement, Saab takes pride in playing a leading role in cultivating the next generation of Emirati leaders within the defence sector. This approach not only bolsters our workforce with skilled professionals but also aligns with our goals of sustainable growth and local community engagement.

As a leader, what key initiatives do you plan to undertake to deepen Saab’s ties with local partners and explore new opportunities for collaboration in the UAE’s defence and security sector?

Saab is one of the fastest growing defence companies globally. Here in the UAE, we are committed to our role as an active supporter and contributor to the nation’s defence and security sector. Since the 1980s, our dedication to the UAE has been consistent, highlighted by significant projects like the development facility in TIP, established in 2018. This facility focuses on advancing technologies, growing local talent, and expanding our supply chain. Our 2024 strategy aims to reinforce these relationships, encourage innovation, and uphold our commitment to Emiratisation, showcasing our role as a pivotal player in supporting the UAE’s growth and prominence in the global defence and security market.

Could you share your vision for Saab’s development and production site in Tawazun Industrial Park, including how it aligns with national priorities and global needs in the defence and security solutions sector?

Since the establishment of our TIP production facility in 2018, we’ve focused on research and development to solidify our presence in the region, innovate advanced technologies, and create high-tech job opportunities. Our goal is to offer enriching career opportunities to UAE nationals, facilitated by extensive training and professional development initiatives. This approach not only bolsters our regional presence but also ensures that our offerings are responsive to the dynamic demands of the global market.

Furthering this vision, we prioritise maintaining close and ongoing communication with our customers, partners, and academic institutions. This dialogue is key to understanding market needs and developing solutions that satisfy all stakeholders. We are constantly exploring and implementing new technologies to improve our product offerings and the efficiency of delivery processes. This commitment to continuous innovation and collaboration ensures that our solutions remain at the forefront of the defence and security sector, meeting the highest standards of excellence and relevance.

Given the dynamic nature of the defence and security sector, what specific steps do you plan to take to ensure Saab’s continued contribution and support to the UAE’s defence sector?

One of my top priorities is to reinforce our local partnerships continually. We are dedicated to strengthening the ties we have with our UAE-based partners, such as Tawazun Council and UAE MOD, among others, believing that these relationships are key to our mutual success and the sector’s overall growth.

At the heart of our strategy is a commitment to nurturing local talent and in-country capabilities. We understand that the strength of our operations in the UAE is greatly enhanced by investing in the people who drive it. Therefore, we are focused on developing the skills and expertise of local professionals, ensuring that they are equipped to meet the challenges of this ever-evolving sector.

Furthermore, we are actively working on expanding the local supply chain. By doing so, we not only contribute to the UAE’s economy but also enhance our ability to deliver tailored, efficient solutions to our clients in the region.

This year, we are particularly focused on exploring new avenues for collaboration. We believe that fresh perspectives and partnerships can lead to ground-breaking innovations. Therefore, we are placing a special emphasis on R&D, aligning our efforts with the latest requirements and trends in the defence and security sector.

1 Comment on Saab’s Strategic Vision for UAE Defense: Interview with Heléne Bittmann, Managing Director of Saab in the UAE

  1. Hello madam
    Iam ranjan rangarajan before iam working in IGG international golden group armoured vehicles technician and RWS remote weapon station technician level lll 5yeaes Saab is good company have any hiring our company please consider me mam

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