The 8th edition of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX 2007) was officially inaugurated yesterday by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Held at the new Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, His Highness graced the first event in the new exhibition hall by cutting the inaugural ribbon and unveiling a commemorative plaque. He then received the heads of the 95 official delegations represented before viewing the Vehicle Mobility Demonstration.
The President was accompanied by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice President, and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and General Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and other high ranking sheikhs and officials. IDEX 2007 has attracted a large number of ministers of defence, military chiefs of staff and commanders of ground, naval and air defence forces from Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
IDEX 2007 is organized by Reed Exhibitions, and is now the largest military shows of its kind in the world in terms of exhibit space. It is of critical strategic importance to the region. The show has the full support of the GHQ of the UAE Armed Forces and has been held every two years since 1993 under the patronage of the President of the UAE.
The five-day event was preceded by the Gulf Defence Conference 2007, which took place under the patronage of His Highness General Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan. This year's conference program was organized by Jane's Information Group and featured 19 renowned international strategists and speakers representing both government and military organizations. The Theme of the Conference was: 'Transforming the Defence of the Gulf States-Strategies, Requirements, Acquisitions'.
IDEX 2007 has attracted 862 exhibitors, who have filled a record total of more than 32,000 square metres of both indoor and outdoor space. 50 countries are officially represented and there are 33 national pavilions. The exhibition has a high technology theme this year and is expected to host more than 90 official government and military delegations.
This year Turkey is the largest national pavilion, in terms of overall booked space. Turkey has chosen IDEX 2007 to make its established defence capabilities known to the region and to the world. The USA, the Democratic Republic of China, South Korea and Italy have also increased their exhibit space significantly. All of these nations will have high technology military solutions on display.
Live demonstrations are always a popular focal point of IDEX. This year the mobility venue has attracted 29 displays from 10 countries of armoured trucks, personnel carriers, mobile missile launchers, heavy armour and more.
The vehicle mobility demonstration shows the off road capabilities of these vehicles before an enthusiastic audience of defence industry buyers and observers driving and pinpoint timing. Ten countries-all the leaders in the manufacture of heavy vehicles will be represented.
Live firing will focus on counter-terrorism weapons with ranges of up to 400 metres. Weapons used by police, tactical weapons squads and special operations forces will be demonstrated by seven companies. The Marine and Amphibious Demonstration will once again take place in front of the Grandstand, fronting the exhibition.
IDEX 2007 has a new and attractive venue at the Free Port of Mina Zayed. A fleet of 15 ships from seven countries are berthed at the Naval Berthing area of the Exhibition. This year many of these ships have been scheduled to visit Abu Dhabi as part of their ongoing deployment in the Arabian Gulf. Among them are two American mine counter measures ships and the largest and most powerful mine hunting helicopter in the US Navy. Pakistan is sending four ships, including a missile boat, fast patrol boat, coastal tanker and submarine. Australia is sending an ANZAC class frigate. France and Germany are each sending a frigate and there are two vessels coming from Italy, a corvette and a conventionally-powered Sauro class submarine. Four UAE ships will also participate in the naval berthing display.
IDEX 2007 will extend through February 22nd at the new Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.