By Shady Janzeir
Jordan introduced itself as a producer rather than a buyer at a military equipment show underway in the capital Amman.
Inaugurated by King Abdullah II of Jordan on Monday at an air base named after him in Marka, east Amman, Sofex 2000 exhibition is the third of its kind in Jordan in four years.
Jordan’s Prime Minister Abdur-Rau’f Rawabdeh told Albawaba.com that this year’s show carries special significance.
“This is the third time Jordan hosts such a show in four years, but it is the first time that the event features Jordan as an actual producer rather than merely a buyer of equipment,” Rawabdeh said.
“We hope that in the near future we will be suppliers for other countries,” he added.
Twenty-eight countries were represented in the exhibition, where numerous establishments and companies displayed their products ranging from simple personal gear to sophisticated electronic equipment. Vehicles, weaponry, electronic telecommunications systems and rescue equipment were included as well.
The King Abdullah Design and Development Bureau (KADDB), is the body that undertakes Jordan’s efforts in the field. It designs, modifies and manufactures several vehicles for both general and specific purposes.
Seen as the most impressive products of KADDB, the Black Iris range of rough terrain vehicles were totally designed and built by Jordanian hands, including the chasses.
The frame is entirely made of welded steel pipes, and equipped with a Toyota 2.4 liter diesel engine that applies its torque to the rear independently suspended wheels via a five speed gearbox.
Another significant product built by KADDB is a small hovercraft that can carry up to three people at 60 kilometers per hour. The vehicle has two engines, the first of which provides an air cushion that lifts it 20 centimeters over the ground or water, while the other provides propulsion.
There are also design modifications by the Jordanian engineers and designers on some existing military vehicles and tanks, such as an upgrade of the M60 tank’s cannon from 105 millimeters to 120, as well as a redesign of the turret of the 105-mm equipped Falcon tank.
KADDB staff have also made troop transport vehicles with bodies on ready-made frames, such as the AIGIS Troop Carrier, which was built on General Motors truck wheelbases.
The efforts by the ambitious bureau seem to have paid off. Several deals were made public at the show between KADDB and other entities, most significant of which was the deal with Jordanian Armed Forces to supply them with an undisclosed number of Black Irises and troop carriers.
Another deal was between KADDB and UAE’s Bin Jaber Group, where the former has agreed to build two models of the Tiger 4X4 Troup Carrier for exhibit at the Idex 2000, expected to be held in the Gulf state next year.
Other pavilions of the show featured major manufacturers of airplanes, such as Europe’s DASA and Russia’s Antonov, famous for their heavy transport planes, as well as personal weapon manufacturers, such as Biretta and Smith and Wesson – Albawaba.com.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )