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The FSEC exhibition was the biggest military-economic event of this year

19-10-2012 Between October 17 and 19, the Future Soldier Exhibition & Conference fair taking place in Prague’s exhibition grounds in Let?any hosted over a hundred exhibitors from 22 countries and 45 delegations from the North Atlantic Alliance, FBI, Europol and countries representing potentially attractive export destinations for the Czech defence industry.

Many technological innovations were presented during this meeting of top-level representatives of armed forces, dealers and manufacturers of arms, equipment and technologies. The German Rheinmetall group and the joint Polish stand presented the latest versions of their Future Infantry Soldier systems. FSEC?s nomenclature is focused on technological innovations; this was why visitors could see many robots improving situational awareness of troops, as well as materials and equipment which the soldier’s gear consists of, including special fabrics, long duration batteries and electronic weapon systems.

Conflicts moving into cyberspace

The other major topic of this year’s exhibition was the protection of cyberspace, which is, according to experts, the stage to which a substantial part of potential national security risks is being transferred now. The Future of Cyber international conference attracted almost twenty speakers, including FBI, EDA or Europol experts. The consulting branch of Deloitte, which was the principal partner of the conference, performed demonstrations of so-called live hacking and ways of protecting oneself against it at its stand.

The Future Soldier Exhibition & Conference is held under the auspices of the Minister of Defence, and the largest exhibition area was thus occupied by the Czech Armed Forces, which presented a number of new pieces of equipment and weapons in their inventory. During a press conference of Minister of Defence Alexander Vondra, Chief of the General Staff Lieutenant General Petr Pavel explained the event offered an excellent opportunity for the Czech Armed Forces to meet representatives of the defence industry and let them know about CAF’s acquisition plans, requirements and financial outlooks of planned investments. The army also took care of entertainment at the event in the form of a show of the Castle Guard’s motorcycle ceremonial units and demonstrations of the Musado martial art.

A unique opportunity to address buyers and dealers

The participation of top-level representatives of NATO agencies, European Defence Agency and Europol and several hundreds of dealers in military equipment was a great opportunity for presentations of Czech defence companies. As a matter of fact the Czech companies ?esk? zbrojovka and LOM Praha were among leading partners of the event. The FSEC exhibition offered a platform for a number of seminars and panel discussions with foreign guests from different agencies and institutions, who are otherwise very difficult to meet or address. Prominent speakers at seminars for manufacturers and traders included, for example, Richard Froh, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Operations, Robbert Smit from the NATO Support Agency, or Cesare Balducci, Deputy Director of the NATO Standardization Agency.

An important meeting of representatives of the state and Czech defence companies

There was also an important meeting of representatives of the Czech companies grouped in the Defence and Security Industry Association of the Czech Republic and representatives of the government. At the “Relations between the state and the defence industry” seminar, the Czech Foreign Ministry’s representative Cyril Bumb?lek informed the audience about the establishment of a new interdepartmental working group, which will include all ministries which are somehow involved in defence industry issues, namely the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Industry and Trade, but also the Ministry of Education which allocates subsidies to research and development projects.

Petr Gandalovi?, currently the Czech Ambassador to Washington, came to explain tangible effects of the Reciprocal Procurement of Defence Equipment and Services Agreement signed earlier this year by US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta and his Czech counterpart Alexander Vondra for Czech defence companies. The agreement opened the way to US defence contracts for the Czech defence industry. The Czech Republic and Poland are the only former Eastern Bloc countries that have signed such an agreement with the United States.

Petr Gandalovi? also summarized the opinion of many Czech exhibitors and experts, namely that Czech defence companies should actively use the potential the FSEC exhibition had due to its venue, and bring traders and representatives of national armies from other than European countries to Prague as well.

The next exhibition, under the new name “Future Forces Exhibition & Conference”, will take place from October 15 to 17, 2014.