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Part two of Seen & Heard at IDET here.
On 29 May, the third iteration of the Golden IDET award ceremony took place at Slavkov Castle (Austerlitz),the presence of the Czech and Swedish Defence Ministers. Exhibitors receiving awards included: Excalibur Army (EA, part of CSG) for its PATRIOT II tactical armoured vehicle (the winner), ERA (part of Omnipol) for the VERA-NG passive radar simulator, Agados for its amphibious off-road trailer, and the Dajbych company for a modified version of the GEPARD long-range patrol vehicle (LRPV), exhibited for the first time at the Future Forces Forum in Prague in October last year.
Another awardee was ICZ Group company Delinfo, for its Common Operational Image of Ground and Air Forces Command and Control (C2) system, incorporating the highest level of communications protection. The jury of journalists awarded the IDET News prizes, which have been awarded since 2001 to Explosia for its DETEX explosives detection pack (the winner), EVPU Defence for its CMS-1 commander’s sight, and again Agados for the amphibious trailer.
On 30 May, the conference and seminar programme covered a number of subject areas, including Logistics in the Armed Forces, and Prospective Trends in Military Technologies and Systems, focusing on robotics in law-enforcement, nanotechnology in adaptive camouflage, high- energy laser weapons and cryptographic security. There are also two bi-annual conferences, Pyromeeting (this year with a special focus on climate change) and the 7th edition of CATE/ICMT (International Conference on Military Technologies), organised by the University of Defence in Brno. In addition, the 2019 edition of the prestigious NATO Innovation Challenge competition for small and medium size enterprises (SME), organized by the NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT) Innovation Hub in Norfolk and local DefSec Innovation Hub, was held for the very first time in a ‘new accession’ NATO member state. As the special focus country of IDET, Sweden hosted an Innovation Seminar and an event on how to do business with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV).
Several major products of the Czech defence industry were presented at IDET for the first time, with several new systems exhibited by CSG. In cooperation with European Air Services, it showcased a Sikorsky UH-60 BLACK HAWK utility helicopter for the first time. EA revealed its new AM-70 EX mobile bridge vehicle (MLC 70 class) on the chassis of Tatra FORCE 8×8. There is also a new, lengthened variant of the PATRIOT armoured personnel carrier (APC), PATRIOT II 4×4 on a Tatra chassis with SLAT armour, ARX-20 combat turret and a Hensoldt surveillance system. A modernised version of the DANA M2 wheeled howitzer with fully automatic and digital fire control was on display, as was a TREVA-15 recovery vehicle, a special purpose modification of the AV-15 on a Tatra FORCE 8×8 chassis.
In cooperation with GDELS, EA displayed the IRB engineering bridge system, again on a Tatra FORCE 8×8 chassis, with the Birdon BEB motor boat, M3 amphibious vehicle and FCR3 vehicle, offering MLC 80 class capability for tracked and MLC 96 for wheeled vehicles. Tatra Trucks showed off the newest Tatra TACTIC 4×4 in its domestic premiere and, in cooperation with Nexter Systems, the TITUS 5XX (Tactical Infantry Transport and Utility System) 6×6 APC on a Tatra chassis. Tatra Defence Vehicle’s PANDUR II CZ 8×8/KOVVS special purpose vehicle also had its world premiere here. RETIA (part of CSG Aerospace) officially unveiled its ReGUARD 3D pulse-doppler radar in Brno.
In another local premiere, Zetor Engineering showcased a new generation of its GERLACH 4×4 tactical armoured vehicle in a new combat version with a remotely controlled machine gun system, which has just successfully finished trials. AERO Vodochody Aerospace focused on its contract with the Czech Ministry of Defence for service and sustainment of its L-159 ALCA subsonic combat aircraft, as well as the new L-39NG advanced trainer, which first flew last December. The latter is a joint programme with Omnipol, a major local player which also owns ERA and MESIT. VOP CZ offered up its TAROS V2 wheeled unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) and ARQUUS (formerly Renault Trucks Defence) the SABRE 4×4 special forces tactical vehicle. Modelarna Liaz, exhibiting at IDET for the first time, showed visitors its SkySpotter 150 helicopter unmanned aerial system (UAS), which also premiered at the Future Forces Forum last year. AURA, specialising in certification and logistics IT systems, has unveiled new Publi software for electronic publications management.
Once again, the signature issue of this iteration of IDET is the ongoing tender for the Army of the Czech Republic (ACR) that is supposed to deliver a total of 210 new tracked infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) for some CZK 53 billion (€2.05 billion), representing the largest procurement programme in its history. They are to replace the outdated Soviet-vintage BMP-2 vehicles still in service. Global AFV manufacturers have expressed keen interest in this competition for new platforms since 2015: all the competing vehicles are modern systems with high-end capabilities, ranging from new designs to combat-proven platforms. As part of their efforts, competing companies have been developing various (and steadily increasing) levels of partnerships with local defence industry to enable its substantial involvement in the manufacturing process, including technology transfer, production of subsystems and components and final assembly. Depending on the eventual requirements, local workshare should reach at least 40% of overall contract value. The current tender should run its course over the summer and a winner is expected to be announced in the fall.
All four contenders have a strong presence at IDET – BAE Systems with the CV-90 MkIV, GDELS with ASCOD 2, Rheinmetall Landsysteme with LYNX KF41, and PSM with the PUMA S1. All are showcasing updated designs featuring strong participation from the local defence industry. BAE Systems is displaying two special-purpose modifications of its CV90 family in service with the Swedish Army – the MJOLNER mortar system and a recovery vehicle – alongside the ARCHER mobile artillery system. CV90s currently serve in seven European countries: 1,280 vehicles in 15 variants totalling 70,000 days of combat. Rheinmetall is presenting the LYNX KF41, a 500 mm longer follow-on version to the previous KF31 with a stronger powerplant. It is equipped with subsystems produced by Ray Service, Meopta Systems or RETIA. GDELS is showcasing its Czech-made ASCOD 2 with the UT30 MkII tower, the MT30 MkII tower, and a COBRA armoured assault bridge (former VFB) vehicle on an ASCOD 2 chassis. In addition, there is the EAGLE tactical armoured vehicle with VIPER modular trackway bridge (former MTB). The company is also commemorating the 10th anniversary of the successful PANDUR II APC programme for the Czech Army. Last but not least, PSM (a joint venture of KMW and Rheinmetall) is displaying an upgraded S1 variant of its PUMA IFV and related modernisation programmes currently underway for the Bundeswehr, its main customer.
Among other large exhibitors at IDET are STV Group and Oshkosh Defense with the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), local company SVOS with its PERUN 4×4 light special forces vehicle, or John Cockerill Defense (formerly CMI Defense), focusing on artillery systems. Returning to IDET, Patria showcased its AMV 8×8 AFV armed with the NEMO 120 mm RCMT turret. KNDS (KMW and Nexter Defense Systems) had a major presence, with highlights including the LEOPARD 2A7+ main battle tank (MBT), VBCI AFV, and CAESAR 8×8 mobile artillery system. Local concern Praga-Export, in cooperation with Iveco Defence Vehicles, presented both its 4×4 light multirole vehicle (LMV) for special forces missions and military utility vehicle (MUV) light truck.
At IDET, the Czech Army commemorated the 20th anniversary of its membership in NATO and 100 years of the General Staff. Its extensive displays highlighted the PANDUR II APC in the command/staff role, Iveco light armoured vehicles in several versions and Tatra T-810 and T-815 military trucks in various modifications (e.g. with the RBS anti-aircraft system and PRAM mortar), and a W-3A SOKOL search and rescue helicopter. The Slovak Ministry of Defence occupied the largest foreign national exposition space, showcasing its VYDRA 8×8 AFV, based on Patria AMVXP 8×8, with TURRA 30 turret, among other artefacts.