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Spanish army
Ministry of Defence
Spanish army

Ejército de Tierra

Feature Articles

Monday, June 3, 2019

Number: 83

A window to tomorrow

The International Defence and Security Trade Fair in Madrid was an unprecedented success, with 1150 exhibitors and its sight set on the Army’s future for the year 2035

The International Defence and Security Trade Fair (FEINDEF, to use its Spanish acronym), held in Madrid from the 29th to the 31st of May, has shown what the Army will be in the future within the Force 35 framework. Can you picture a rucksack with an inbuilt airbag, or one which has been adapted for women? Thanks to businesses from the sector, these products have just been developed and were presented at the trade fair.

The Castor Sapper Combat Vehicle prototype was presented at FEINDEF

 

This meeting point has been carried out for the first time in Spain by the Association of Spanish Defence, Security, Aeronautical and Space Technology Businesses (TEDAE, to use its Spanish acronym) and by the Association of Contractors with Public Administrations (AESMIDE), with the collaboration of the Ministry of Defence. Their intention is to have a project which is sustained over a longer period of time and, for now, they have covered an area of 14,000m2, attracted 150 exhibitors (from 11 different countries) and have been represented by 40 official delegations from 27 nations.

During the opening ceremony, the acting Defence Minister, Margarita Robles, highlighted the importance of having an Armed Forces which is modern and acts as a benchmark for all of Europe. The event was dedicated to innovation: technologies which are currently supplied, those which are included in the development plan and those which are capable of providing the technological advantage which Force 35 is aiming for. All of this could be found at FEINDEF.

 

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The new adaptation to the Alakran self-propelled system, which is installed on a VAMTAC and is currently in a trial phase with the ‘Alfonso XIII’ Brigade, was present at FEINDEF, as was a vehicle designed for use by Improvised Explosive Device Deactivation Teams. Three units of the latter have been acquired and will be delivered soon. “This is the first time that the whole explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) team has been together,” explained Sergeant Pereira, who is posted with the 12th Pontonier and Engineering Specialities Regiment. From the same unit, Warrant Officer 2 Burgos confirmed that it was ‘the first time that it has been possible to integrate the robot into the vehicle and send images to any command base in the world.”

One of the highlights of the exhibition was, without question, the presentation of the new Sapper Combat Vehicle. This provides a flexible system to install the tools for every different mission in a single vehicle. It has an anti-mine shovel, plough and roller, and an obstacle marker. It also has notable anti-mine and ballistic protection features. The vehicle is in the testing phase for the development of Force 35 in the Sapper Battalion of the 5th “Guzmán el Bueno” Brigade. “The vehicle has more additional tools than the fully tracked armoured personnel carrier, which only has the shovel. It also caters to higher safety standards,” explains Sergeant Soldado from the 10th Brigade.

Across the three days, FEINDEF made an impression on everyone. There were spaces catering to a wide variety of interests; for example, experiments testing the impermeability of military footwear. “Campaign uniform boots are subjected to 300,000 steps with water in the machine to test their resistance,” explained Almudena Huertas, a laboratory technician.

Alongside the demonstrations and exhibitions, different speeches were given, discussing topics of great importance to the Army and the Armed Forces in general, such as soldiers leaving the army and non-permanent supplements at 45 years old and the search for employment opportunities. The position and progression of women in the institution, and entrepreneurship, security and technology in the run up to 2035 were also discussed. This conversation and exchange of ideas, without a doubt, opened a window to tomorrow.

 

A success

The Army’s stand

 

The goal of the Army’s stand was to get to know equipment and arms systems which are currently provided, which are in the test or demonstration phase, or which have been identified as potential future systems. As well as the equipment and systems exhibited in the Army’s own stand, there were many more – over 70, in total – from different companies in the defence industry. All of these could be found easily thanks to an interactive map which showed their locations inside the trade fair.