GN Focus | Idex

Bringing together the best in defence

Idex, the world’s most strategically important tri-service armed forces exhibition, kicks off in Abu Dhabi today. Exhibitors use this opportunity to keep abreast with the latest innovations and network

  • By Iona Stanley Special to GN Focus
  • Published: 00:00 February 17, 2013
  • GN Focus

  • Image Credit: Gulf News Archives/Abdul Rahman
  • Students of Al Ain’s Military High School observe a demonstration of the French army’s integrated infantry combat system, Felin, at the French pavilion in Idex 2011

The last edition saw more than 1,060 visitors representing 52 countries throng the 32 national pavilions at the event. This year, the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex) is set to surpass that.

“As the largest defence exhibition in the Middle East, Idex holds great meaning for Abu Dhabi and the region,” says Colonel Khader Al Aodarous, head of the Idex 2013 media committee. “More than a core opportunity to conduct business, we believe there is significant opportunity this year to articulate a broader story around Idex to an international audience, reflecting our advanced defence industries and prominence as a global exhibitions hub.”

Cream of the UAE

His views resonate with those of several exhibitors. Saif Al Hajeri, CEO of headline sponsor Tawazun Holding, believes Idex is the ideal platform to strengthen his company’s position as a pioneer in the UAE’s defence manufacturing sector. “Today, we design and manufacture in a number of areas — automotive, autonomous systems, munitions, shooting club services and capacity building,” Al Hajeri says. “We have diversified as a result of hearing what our customers want and need and by carefully observing trends within the marketplace. Participating at events such as Idex allows us to do that.” Exhibiting under the Tawazun umbrella will be its 15 subsidiary companies, including Nimr, Caracal International, Tawazun Advanced Defence Systems, Burkan and Caracal Light Ammunition.

Meanwhile, seven Mubadala group companies operating in the defence sector will showcase their contributions including technical, training and project management expertise across aviation, maritime, land and intelligence platforms.

Jari Sankala, Vice-President of Defence and Security at Elektrobit (EB), points out the increasing need of transferring voice, maps, pictures, videos and other situational awareness data in battlefields. “Elektrobit has combined the best parts of the commercial telecom world with the requirements of the extreme environmental military,” says Sankala. “Additionally, we have taken advantage of our long experience of commercial telecom.” At Idex, EB will exhibit and demonstrate its tactical wireless IP network, Tough VoIP product family, wideband Comint sensors and intelligent jamming solutions.

Team Australia has been showcasing Australian defence companies at Idex since 2005, under the aegis of the Defence Export Unit (DEU) and this year’s delegation is expected to be led by a two-star military officer. Participants at the DEU’s 200-square-metre exhibition space are also expected to attend follow-on trade missions to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman.

Tailored solutions

BAE Systems aims to demonstrate its collaboration in the UAE and its display will focus on tailored defence and security solutions across land, air and cyber security domains. Key products include Bradley, RG35, Eurofighter Typhoon, Hawk, APKWS and 40Mk4 Naval Gun. Dutch firm Microflown AVISA will be showing the latest developments in the field of acoustic vector sensor technology, while Airborne Systems (a division of HDT Global) will demonstrate its latest technologies in GPADS including FlyClops, Ram air parachute system, and counter terrorism boat drop MCADS.

Harris Corporation will leverage its complete portfolio of products and services, including tactical radios and systems engineering and solutions covering vehicular systems, wide-area communications and public safety. The Comrod booth will exhibit its impressive line of communication solutions for the battlefield, including the latest in multi-band antenna technology, advanced telescopic and sectional mast systems, ComPact power supplies and the new waveform-compliant JTRS.

All about Idex

The biennial trade-only International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex) will run from today until Thursday at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre in coordination with the UAE Armed Forces General Headquarters, under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Ruler of Abu Dhabi.

The First Time Exhibitor Zone will be a crowd-puller, while the Unmanned Systems Area features manufacturers and suppliers who showcase the latest in army vehicles. Exhibitors who specialise in naval, maritime and coastal security are housed at Navdex, alongside water exhibits and visiting navy vessels. The newly created Helicopter Demonstration Area supports the increasing procurement demand from the Middle East.

- I.S.

GN Focus