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Chief of the General Staff Highlighted FSE&C’s Benefits for the Army

18-10-2012 A press conference with Minister of Defence Alexander Vondra and Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces General Petr Pavel and an opening ceremony attended by representatives by more than 45 foreign delegations marked the beginning of the 10th international Future Soldier Exhibition & Conference.

In his opening address and answers to subsequent questions of journalists, the Chief of the General Staff stressed the benefits of the event for the Czech Armed Forces, which are, as he said, offered an excellent opportunity to meet representatives of the defence industry and let them know about acquisition plans, requirements and financial outlooks of planned investments. It is also an opportunity for the armed forces to address both local visitors and guests from abroad and acquaint them with activities of the army.

103 official exhibitors from more than 22 countries of the world take part in this year’s exhibition. However, there are in fact more exhibitors, as some companies represent multiple partners, particularly from abroad, and the armed forces are presenting a host of their specialized outfits, agencies and units.

A massive DMRK (an acronym for Digital Monitor of Radiation Contamination) was preparing to welcome Minister Alexander Vondra and representatives of other organizations under the auspices of which the event is held, in particular President of the Czech Defence and Security Association Jíří Hynek and President of the Association of Guns and Ammunition Manufacturers and Sellers Ladislav Kovařík at the stand of the University of Defence in Brno.

The area where Polish defence companies exhibit their products focuses mainly on the Polish future soldier concept, including a new range of MSBS 5.56 mm infantry weapons. Just like its German Gladius IdZ counterpart, the Polish system comprises mainly target detection and acquisition and data transfer devices. An interesting feature of the MSBS range is a possibility of choosing between a conventional design and a bullpup arrangement.

Visitors can also have a look at one of the Tatra T-810 off-road trucks in the inventory of our armed forces. Regardless of various media peripetias, the vehicles have proved to be practical and reliable workhorses for many units of the Czech Army. Field camouflage, in particular the individual camouflage system known as the Ghillie suit, but also camouflage nets, are produced by BOIS Filtry, which switched to a product portfolio different from the one that its name would suggest years ago.

The exhibition of PRAMACOM, which also represents several foreign manufacturers of top-notch electronic products used by our army in Afghanistan, also resembles a beehive of future soldiers. Assisted by Czech Army soldiers from different units, representatives of the company are setting up dummies. Visitors can see several versions of specialized equipment, from a sentry’s outfit to Forward Air Controller (FAC) gear to a field reconnaissance and data transfer set designed to meet the needs of different services.

Defence and security industry exhibitions are an important place of transfer and exchange of business and technical information and printed materials and publications. The latter are provided by specialized publishing houses, in particular MS Line, which is an established long-term media partner of the Czech Defence and Security Association. In addition, there is also a stand of the world’s biggest military publishing house, Mönch Publishing of Germany. Last but not least, it is necessary to mention the stand of the Small Arms Defense Journal, which, as its name suggests, deals mainly with infantry weapons.

Twenty years ago, a fixed- or rotary-wing UAV was a fantastic novelty; today it is a commonplace asset. Typical examples are the Raven and Wasp UAVs, which can be found on the stands of the Czech Armed Forces and PRAMACOM. However, even a commonplace asset can be approached in different ways. Our soldiers in Afghanistan are aware that the equipment is costly. Their active attitude to the operation and maintenance of their UAVs permitted a 100% increase of the number of flights compared to the standard figure specified by the manufacturer.

A hot problem of today’s armies is electric power, the reason being the electrization and electronization of weapons and weapon systems. Today’s and future soldiers are literally behung with them. Although the nominal consumption of electric power is decreasing, the need for power sources of energy is growing. There are two exhibitors dealing in this line of business. The first of them in the alphabetical order is BREN Tronics, which has been developing and manufacturing batteries, cells, chargers and solar systems for more than 40 years. The other one is SFC Energy AG, the world’s number one in the segment of fuel cells, which are becoming the principal and most promising supplier of energy on the battlefield. Products of the company are used mainly by US and German armed forces.

According to Jan Sajdl, General Manager of the Exhibition, the Future Soldier Exhibition & Conference 2012 is one of the biggest meetings of top representatives of specialized NATO agencies in our territory, including, for example, the Deputy Commander of the Allied Command Transformation, Director of the NATO Standardization Agency, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Operations, Director of the European Defence Agency, Deputy Director of Europol, and representatives of NSPA and NCIA representatives. Also expected are Deputy Ministers or State Secretaries of defence from Albania, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Switzerland.