Peru Successfully Organizes SITDEF 2017
By Pedro Francisco Hurtado Cánepa/Diálogo July 21, 2017The International Defense and Prevention of Natural Disasters Technology Exhibition and Prevention of Natural Disasters (SITDEF, per its Spanish acronym) is an exhibition organized by Peru’s Ministry of Defense and the Peruvian Armed Forces. This gathering is considered one of the most important in the region. The world’s leading companies in the manufacture and commercialization of security and defense technology meet there. The seventh edition of the exhibit was held from May 18th to 21st, at the Army General Command facilities in Lima, Peru, in an area measuring 28,000 square meters. With more than 100 companies from 27 nations participating, more than 40 specialized conferences were held in the areas of security, defense, disaster prevention, air, land, and maritime vehicle technology and modernization, artillery, and munitions. Notable among the firms participating were DS Arms, Advanced Defense Systems, General Dynamics and Gulf Coast (from the United States), and IACIT and General Directorate of Arms and Material (from Brazil), among others. “One of the main attractions is that companies have presented the latest in cyber security technology,” Christian Tocre Díaz, the general director of SITDEF Peru, told Diálogo. “[This is an] issue that has become a latent threat, both for national defense, as well as for any company, and therefore there is a need to adapt to the new risks and challenges that information security involves,” he added. Currently, most materials, equipment, and essential public services are managed via the internet. As a result, hackers have emerged who try to cause damage in cyberspace, often without leaving behind any fingerprints or trace of where they originated. In May 2017, a worldwide attack on the internet blocked access to government and corporate computer systems in several countries. According to press reports, some 100 countries were impacted. It is also becoming increasingly common to hear in the news that some public system, bank, state institution, or other entity that handles citizens’ personal data is attacked, its operations interrupted, and the data stolen. SITDEF’s goals “The objective is for armed forces and national police officers to learn about the latest innovations. So when they go back to their units, they generate some lively discussions and assess what types of negotiations they can conduct to get their needs met,” Tocre Díaz added. The 2013 and 2015 editions of the exhibition enabled the Peruvian government to acquire 24 helicopters, as well as 500 MAN transport vehicles for the Army. “These [latest] units helped the victims, and aided in rebuilding after the flash floods that happened in April of this year,” Tocre Díaz said. SITDEF’s management reported that Peruvian Army officials showed particular interest in observing the different armored vehicles. [The companies] have conducted demonstrations witnessed by high-ranking Army officials. They assessed the vehicles’ technical and tactical features to learn how they function on the terrain,” said Tocre Díaz. Peruvian Navy Admiral (R) Jorge Montoya, former commander general of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces, considered important this type of analysis of military vehicles. “It is wisest to replenish the Army’s entire fleet with this line of armored vehicles,” he told Diálogo. “We need vehicles whose primary purpose is to defend national sovereignty, and then, as a secondary end, to respond to emergencies caused by natural events,” he added. Disaster prevention The Peruvian Navy participated in SITDEF with an innovative contribution from the Department of Weapons and Electronics that presented Project “Huaros”, a gondola for carrying people and cargo along the rivers. The goal is to produce a means of transport similar to an aerial tramway, created to overcome the challenges of Peru’s rugged geography. These gondolas can cover distances of 20 to 180 meters, with a load capacity of up to 580 kilograms of people and/or cargo. During SITDEF 2017, the Peruvian National Police also announced the implementation of unmanned aerial vehicles, known as drones, in order to carry out air patrol missions. The National Police indicated that the unit in charge of these duties is the Police Aviation Directorate (DIRAVPOL, per its Spanish acronym). “This [drone] unit will strengthen civil safety,” assured General Orlando Velasco Mujica of the Peruvian National Police, who directs DIRAVPOL, explaining that his agency already has four drones. Likewise, he noted that in addition to the ongoing war on crime and their rescue duties in emergency areas, the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking in different parts of the country are also included in these air operations. “We have pilots, mechanics, support crew, and highly qualified administrative staff,” he added. General Luis Humberto Ramos, the commander of the Peruvian Army, revealed in a press release from the Ministry of Defense that during SITDEF 2017 Chile and Ecuador participated for the first time. “This exhibition represents the beginning of a change in the armed forces, where their priorities are as much focused on disaster prevention, as on disaster response,” he said. “The goal is for companies to exhibit their technology, products and services, and that it is the interested parties who should be the ones to determine what best suits them,” he concluded.