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Expodefensa: Seen & Heard

Latest developments in Latin America

“I like that we sell things that do not hurt people, just impress them!” boasts Luciana  Bertholino, from INDIOS Pirotecnia´s Export Department. The company has a small but robust business in providing higher-quality, lower-cost pyrotechnics for civilian and military markets.

“One of our best and most popular sellers is our ‘Flash-Bang’ grenade – it is the loudest and the brightest our customers have ever seen,” declares Bertholino. They have an impressive line of very specific “pyros,” ranging from sea-borne signalling flairs to hand-held flares and coloured smoke grenades that are used for sending exact messages and alerts to armed personnel; e.g. when there is danger ahead. They also produce floating smoke grenades, multi-coloured signal flares, “tear-smoke” grenades, and grenades for marking areas and personnel, dispersing crowds, clearing an indoor area, training, and something called “Moral Effect.” This last category is for indoor and for outdoor use in clearing an area of threatening personnel. It functions in two phases: 1) the loud percussion; and, 2) dispersing – at high velocity – small rubber fragments to frighten and help disperse a particularly violent crowd without causing serious injury.


The CBRNe Society (non-profit) fosters and promotes the cooperation as well as sharing CBRNe expertise and best practices worldwide. Its elected Executive Director Dr Ilja Bonsen, a globally-renowned expert of CBRNe matters, was joined by other Latin American members to make the first presentation by the Society at Expodefensa.

Bonsen also announced that  their lecture-seminar series “NCT” will next be in Bogotá for NCT South America 13-14 February 2018 at W Hotel in Bogotá. That will be followed by NCT USA 3-5 April 2018 at the Hilton Dulles (convenient for national, regional and international delegates). Both of these events will be covered by MONS and sister publication Safety & Security International.

According to an unnamed source at Streit Group (Canada): “The South American market remains largely untapped – until now – for us.” Like many newer entrants into this unique and rather disparate market, Streit understands it needs to learn the market before it can, “make the investment required to do business here.” Streit also accepts that there will be a need to focus on partnerships and making certain their specialised vehicles are right for the customer. So far, there have been some sales to in Latin America, mostly for riot control and MOUT operations by Argentina´s gendarme. The Streit SPARTAN proved itself particularly adept for this role because of its 4×4, five-door configuration, potent 6,7l diesel engine and automatic transmission. Its chassis is a heavy duty Ford F550, allowing for easy handling when off-road. The standard vehicle offers what Streit assures is “superior” protection levels up to CEN Level BR6. The SPARTAN – and its brother, the WARRIOR APC – allow for bespoke seating configurations and a range of weapons platforms (lethal & non-lethal) with the customer´s choice of CMS and C2 systems. The standard seating for this platform is 10 personnel: one driver, one commander and eight dismounts…rather impressive for a Ford F550 chasis. Apparently, Streit will strongly consider setting up a manufacturing line for some or all of its production in Latin America – if contractually required. Already, this company has 12 manufacturing plants worldwide to best serve its expanding civil and military government customer base. Other vehicles that hold interest in Latin America include the WARRIOR APC, the versatile Riot Control platform, the TYPHOON and COUGAR, as well as the SPARTAN.


While there wasn´t really any “new News” attendees at least witnessed that Bell, Textron, Sikorsky-Lokheed Martin, Harris, Rockwell Collins, US Ordnance, Datron World Communications, Whelen Engineering and General Dynamics Land Systems were among the largest companies and exhibitors at Expodefensa 2017 demonstrating their commitment to the regional marketplace. However, within the famous  there was a “sub-pavilion” populated by successful niche companies from the US Commonwealth of Virginia, one of two states closest to Washington DC and home to its own culture of innovation and value-driven defence and security businesses. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership showcased some real gems for the Colombian and broader Latin American Audience.

Defense Technology Equipment Inc. (DTE)  is highly-specialised in logistic military procurement, mainly from the USA, and works nationally and internationally. DTE has been in the field of military aerospace and aviation logistic support since 1989.

InCadence Strategic Solutions was founded in 2009, specialising in cutting-edge technical solutions, deep functional and domain subject matter expertise, operational intelligence and high-end engineering services for its Government Clients … specifically, Biometric Solutions & Identity Management, Technical Engineering Services, Training and Training Development, Tactical Communications, Support to Intelligence Operations, Information and Knowledge Management, Cloud Computing Services, and even Android Development.

Matrix International is an employee-owned holding company for a composite of subsidiaries each providing unique, specialised services to the Global Security Community as a Global Intelligence, Training, Test, and Evaluation Organisation. Since 2005, the Group delivers intelligence and operations solutions s in support national security and defence objectives. It´s leadership seeks “… to be the most trusted team in the international intelligence and security industry, delivering crucial results when the stakes are highest.”

Summit Helicopters started in 1981 as a full service commercial helicopter operator with the philosophy of “performing quality work in a timely manner with fair prices” for all customers. Summit now applies its plethora of experience in providing solutions for our customers, from aircraft completions, refurbishment projects, maintenance, component overhauls and inspections,  to aerial applications, fire suppression and external load long line flights. Summit feels it has the expertise to support government clients for shorter and longer term solutions that help to “complete the mission.”


CODALTEC was created out of a critical need for the Colombian defence sector to develop and promote capacities in the technology field. This is with the aim of creating Colombia´s own indigenous solutions that support the operability of the civil and armed services, reduce dependency on foreign suppliers and enhance the growth of the Colombia´s national defence industry.

This real and achievable ambition relies on reducing the “digital divide” in many parts of Colombia.  It also means that the defence industry sector requires incentives and stimulation through ownership, knowledge generation, technological development and cooperative development and integration between Colombia´s public and private sectors, universities and innovation clusters and the state. The conventional wisdom of CODALTEC is that significant outreach must take place to encourage development of dual technologies that enhance national and regional technological innovation and industrial production.

CODALTEC wants acknowledgment as a driver for increasing technology-based capabilities and products within the defence industry. Thus, it becomes the main driver or provider of technological solutions – a very important position within the combined Latin American defence and security market.

The three main areas of CODALTEC focus include:

Modelling and simulation – whereby they develop simulators using the latest available technologies across air, land, and sea platforms. This is likely to be the largest and most visible solutions sector, saving the government and public sector customer significantly by personnel learning how to “pilot” something before actually getting in the vehicle or behind the control unit.  This reduces the materiel and financial risk that could otherwise come from damaging the actual military or police asset as a result of insufficient training.

Sensors – which means R&D aspects as well as producing radars and other sensors to safeguard infrastructure, personnel and specific areas. The SINDER – Surface Intrusion Detection Radar – family of radars offers a wide range of radars and sensors that will protect critical infrastructures and observe specific points in a smart city / safe city strategy.   Moreover, the “GIDS” radar and sensors team follows a specialised line for the construction of particular radars according to the needs of each government customer. In the beginning they will be used to reinforce the national security, and later these innovations will support the civilian sectors for monitoring traffic speeds, and track movements in restricted areas – including, mining, fisheries, farming and meteorological concerns among others.

Technological management – through which they provide bespoke solutions for clients who need software solutions that help them “sweat” their IT assets and achieve a better performance across their IT-related  processes…this also includes increasing capabilities for protecting the customer´s Cyber assets and IT environments against external- and internal -threats.

Curtis Hand


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