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FSEC in the Spotlight of all Major Media

18-10-2012 The first day of the 10th jubilee exhibition can be seen as a key factor of success. The number of exhibitors and visitors representing the professional community are equally important in this respect. The latter group includes representatives of Czech power ministries, defence industry associations and companies, and of course foreign dealers. Last but not least, there are members of the fourth estate, i.e. the media sector.

Two major Czech TV networks, Czech TV (public) and NOVA (private), aired shots from the exhibition. The event was also covered by Czech Radio and Metropol TV. Apart from military periodicals, dailies such as Hospodářské noviny were also interested in what was going on at the exhibition. NOVA TV seemed to be most attracted by the DMRK robot developed by the University of Defence and greeting the visitors in English, as it was practicing its welcoming address for MoD VIPs. Dissemination of information about the exhibition in printed media is also made possible by media partners and magazines grouped in the European Military Press Association (EMPA). Its prominent local members are the Czech Defence Industry and Security Review quarterly published by MS Line, which is the media partner of the Defence and Security Industry Association of the Czech Republic, and the ATM magazine of the Aeromedia Publishing House, which is focused on defence technologies. The A-Report magazine, which is an official periodical of the Czech Ministry of Defence, will also bring information about the event.

In the morning of the first day, Czech Minister of Defence Alexandr Vondra, Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Petr Pavel, and his deputy, Major General František Maleninský, visited the exhibition. During a press conference, the Minister of Defence stressed the need to support the local defence industry which, however, depends on the funds the defence sector is allocated. In Poland, for example, a legal act stipulates mandatory defence appropriations equal to 2% of GDP, in accordance with what the North Atlantic Alliance requires, while the Czech defence budget has in fact dropped to less than 1%.

This year’s exhibition focuses on cybernetics, and in particular cyber security. The discipline is connected with practically every branch and segment of today’s defence and security. Contrary to other military technologies, cybernetic shows a clear and fundamental trend; the replacement rate of commercial electronic products, in particular mobile phones, computers and their derivatives, has reduced their lifecycle to about two years, while military development projects counted their lifecycles in dozens of years. This is why defence projects of today make extensive use of commercial electronic products. This practice has speeded up the development of new defence products, but the supply greatly exceeds the demand, which is adversely affected by high prices of defence products and shrinking defence budgets of many countries. Problems related to security and undesirable transfer of information naturally occur in this area as well.

The MS Line Publishing House organized an attractive accompanying event, namely the prestigious Gold Future Soldier 2012 prize awarded to the most successful defence companies appearing at the exhibition. The prize-awarding jury consisting of representatives of local and foreign media (Czech Republic, Italy, Germany Norway, Austria, United Kingdom) was chaired by General Wolfgang Peischel from Austria (Editor-in-Chief of Austrian Military Journal), Czech Deputy Minister of Defence responsible for human resources Michael Hrbata (Chairman of the Editorial Board of Czech Defence Industry and Security Review), and member of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic Tomáš Kladívko (Deputy Chairman of the Editorial Board of Czech Defence Industry and Security Review). The prizes were awarded to representatives of EVPÚ Defence, Mesit Přístroje, Česká Zbrojovka Uherský Brod, Rheinmetall Defence Electronics and NFM Group.

The exhibition presented a number of new products of both local and foreign manufacturers. An example of the local products is a mobile telescopic guard post, Tower Surveillance and Monitoring System, developed by EVPÚ Defence. The electronic part of the unique system comprises a set of sensors, including a thermal imaging camera mounted on a stabilized platform. It may be fitted, for example, with the MEERKAT surveillance system. Partners from Israel took part in the development of the product.

A lightweight version of the future soldier equipment, known as NORMANS, was displayed by the Norwegian subsidiary of Thales. It is a modular system the basic version of which does not even have to have sensors or other surveillance and observation devices fitted to its helmet. The company presented its products on the stand of the Norwegian Defence and Security Industry Association. NFM Group, which deals in the development and manufacture of flexible protective items and has been awarded the Gold Future Soldier prize, is also a member of the association.

Another Gold Future Soldier prize laureate is the VICM 208 COMBAT units developed by Mesit Přístroje. It has been designed for communication systems of military vehicles. It processes signals from the Battlefield Management System (BMS) and generates warning messages. It is a new sophisticated interface of warning signals that can be connected to as many as 10 inputs of status signals of the vehicle.

The Pardubice-based company Explosia also showed a number of interesting products, including products for Special Forces and EOD specialists. Its new products are represented by a range of modular propellant charges for 155 mm guns, developed in cooperation with a foreign partner.

The Slovak company Virtual Reality Media brought a simple simulator used to train Mi-171 helicopter pilots, designated Mi-171 Cockpit Procedures Trainer. A more advanced simulator is the Mi-17 Flight Training Device and the top of the product range is represented by the sophisticated Mi-171 Full Flight/Full Mission Simulator.

MKU, a company present or operating in 90 countries of the world, is a leading specialist in the field of military personnel and equipment protection. It showed mainly individual protection items, including helmets, goggles or ballistic protection plates for bulletproof vests. However, it also manufactures armour for rotary-wing aircraft, vehicles or warships.

The exhibition marked the debut of the head-up goggles developed by Audiopro. The new product was so fresh that there were no product leaflets available on the first day. However, an unusually high level of interest by specialists of the University of Defence, who claim it is suitable as a component of the future soldier equipment, may be an indication of its quality.