26 February 2019
By Paolo Valpolini
For those who have not been able to attend IDEX and for those who were too busy to spend one hour on the grand stand purposely built to host dignitaries and public to see the Opening Ceremony Main Show, which was repeated daily until the end of the exhibition, EDR On-Line publishes a small photo gallery that does not give the overall feeling of the show, but better than nothing . . .
In the 260 x 60 meters area available a scenario was built, mimicking an abandoned military base with an underground tunnel system that allowed to reach a long-range missile site. A satellite notices a group of terrorists approaching the site, which leads to the reaction of a coalition, in which the UAE Armed Forces play a major role. While on the ground the armed militia seizes the place, at sea other groups were threatening the oil trade. Ground, air, naval and Special Forces were deployed to counter the various threats, as well as security forces, showing not only joint and combined capabilities but also inter-ministerial ones. A swarm of attack drones was among the threats, readily countered by fictional laser and jammer C-UAV systems, while a flight of three drones carried medical supplies to provide medics the right materiel to provide immediate aid to wounded comrades. As the storytelling was going on the giant screen, wheeled and tracked vehicles as well as amphibious elements (yes, a giant water surface allowed to operate small boats!) performed their actions on the field, supported by attack, utility and transport helicopters as well as fixed wing aircraft, both transport and attack, robotised de-mining systems opening the path. In the end the “bad guys” manage to activate the launch system of one of the long-range missiles: the smoke exiting the fictional mountain, the hatch opening and the missile slowly accelerating being neutralised by a timely air attack.
The show allowed to see in action most of the UAE Armed Forces systems. In the air F-16s run numerous CAS missions while the Saab 340 AEW&C aircraft provided surveillance, a C-17 simulating an airdrop; as for rotary-wing aircraft AH-64A Apache and UH-60 Blackhawks, the latter armed with Miniguns, provides fire support, CH-47 Chinook representing the transport chopper fleet. On the ground the heaviest system was definitely the Leclerc MBT, however the star of the show was the new Rabdan 8×8 IFV, which first batch was delivered by Al Jasoor in late 2018. Nimr Jais 4×4 and Ajban 440A were acting in numbers, Special Forces team deploying aboard Nimr RIVs (Rapid Intervention Vehicles) while security detachments used Ajban ISVs (Internal Security Vehicles). The mine and IED presence required engineers intervention, these using mostly MRAPS such as BAE Systems’ Caiman 6×6 and Navistar’s International MaxxPro 4×4, as well as Oshkosh M-ATVs with mine rollers.
A good opportunity to see those aircraft and vehicles in action, although in a movie-type scenario, where definitely special effects were a key element of the show.
Here is the gallery, all photos by Paolo Valpolini