The eleventh International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) held in Abu Dhabi recorded 80 000 visitors over five days, during which the United Arab Emirates signed 14.1 billion dirhams ($4.1 billion) worth of defence contracts.
IDEX, which ended today, broke numerous records, according to Major General Obaid Al Ketbi, Idex spokesman. He said that 80 000 people attended the event, as well as 1 112 companies from 59 countries, making it the biggest IDEX in history. More than 500 chiefs of staff, defence ministers and other high-level delegates were in attendance.
The United Arab Emirates Armed Forces signed 55 defence contracts worth a total of Dh14.1 billion, including for 750 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles (M-ATVs) from Oshkosh Defence, an undisclosed number of Predator unmanned aerial vehicles, and 800 Nimr vehicles from UAE company Nimr Automotive.
Al Ketbi said that the UAE was proud to host IDEX, which is considered to be the biggest defence exhibition in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. He added that since inception in 1993 the exhibition has created strategic partnerships between exhibitor countries as well as for UAE companies.
This year’s IDEX also included the Gulf Defence Conference and second Naval Defence Exhibition (NAVDEX). Fourteen foreign vessels took part in NAVDEX and its specially built marina and exhibition area. A new feature of IDEX 2013 was unmanned aerial vehicles display area.
Already plans are being made to make IDEX 2015 even bigger and better than before. The waterway will be deepened so larger vessels can berth and the promenade will be expanded. Companies have already booked 50% of the space for IDEX 2015, which will be held between February 22 and 26.
IDEX 2013 was held under the patronage of the President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, from February 17 to 21. The exhibition was officially opened by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
A number of South African companies exhibited at IDEX, including Paramount, which showcased its Marauder vehicle with a fashion makeover; Denel, which revealed its new Ingwe portable anti-tank launcher; ICP, which debuted its 6×6 armoured recovery vehicle in the Middle East for the first time; BAE Land Systems South Africa, which unveiled a new manned turret; Armscor, which offered surplus Samil trucks and Cessna 185 and PC-7 aircraft and Imperial Armour, which launched a new explosive ordnance disposal suit.
In total, three dozen South African companies were part of the 1 112 exhibitors at IDEX 2013. Most polled by defenceWeb said that IDEX was strategically important for business and a great networking and branding opportunity. Some had hoped for better trade delegations from foreign countries but overall recorded IDEX as being a positive experience.