The Latin American defense and security industry gathered for the first edition of the Rio International Defense Exhibition (RIDEX) at Pier Mauá, a port area of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 27- 29, 2018. The Naval Project Management Company of the Brazilian Ministry of Defense, hosted the event with the participation of about 100 exhibitors, more than 30 delegations, and 13,000 visitors.
The Brazilian Defense Industrial Exhibition (BID, in Portuguese), held in Brazil since 2012, inspired the creation of RIDEX. “We transferred to Rio de Janeiro and included the naval segment, renaming it: Rio International Defense Exhibition,” said Brazilian Navy (MB, in Portuguese) Vice Admiral Marcelo Francisco Campos, director of the Business Bureau of the Ministry of Defense. The objective: integrate the Latin American defense, security, and naval sectors, and foster strategic partnerships in the region.
RIDEX, to be held every other year, will be added to Brazilian and international calendars of defense and security events. The Brazilian Armed Forces participated in the first edition, showcasing the main strategic projects in development.
According to Vice Adm. Campos, the participation of the Armed Forces was crucial for a successful first edition. “One of the goals for the event was to balance the interests of our forces and those of strategic partners based on the technological development capacity of the Latin American defense industry,” he said.
For the officer, RIDEX facilitated discussion on the importance of sovereignty and the defense industry’s contribution to Brazil’s economy. “We had the opportunity to discuss the life cycle of systems and defense products in various debates and talks related to sovereignty and the defense economy, and present the benefits to society,” he said. “The integration of defense sector participants was a very relevant contribution to the fair.”
The three-day event covered cyberdefense and public security challenges, among other topics. In the exhibition area, visitors inspected innovations such as a bulletproof vest with lateral protection and fast release developed for officers of the Rio de Janeiro Special Police Operations Battalion, and a modern drone blocking system. RIDEX also offered interactive booths, such as a shooting stand, robots, skydiving, navigation, and submarine simulation.
Vessels on display
RIDEX’s proximity to the ocean allowed visitors to discover several MB ships and witness watercraft demonstrations. The multipurpose landing craft NDM Bahia, as well as the Barroso corvette, the Gurupá patrol vessel, and the Mearim oceanographic support vessel were anchored at port.
Aboard the NDM Bahia, visitors examined the volumetric search X band radar Gaivota-X, with capacity to guide anti-aircraft surface missiles. Visitors also saw up close the AH-15B Super Cougar helicopter, armed with an Exocet AM39 anti-ship missile and its launcher, provided by the MB’s Missile and Submarine Armament Center.
MB Rear Admiral Antônio Capistrano de Freitas Filho, deputy director of Logistics for the Navy’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that all materials MB displayed promoted its capabilities and demonstrated BID’s national potential. “It was an opportunity to exchange knowledge and information on various systems, resources, and equipment used in Latin America,” he said.
Bilateral meetings between MB’s General Staff and those of foreign navies took place during the event, Rear Adm. Capistrano said. “We already scheduled future meetings with Canada, Chile, France, and Italy,” he added.
RIDEX 2018 saw the Brazilian Air Force’s (FAB, in Portuguese) best projects on science and technology. Visitors were privy to a full-size replica of FAB’s future fighter jet, the Gripen NG—allowing them to board the aircraft—and a full-size model of the VSB-30 space vehicle. Manufactured with national technology, VSB-30 is sold in several countries, including Germany and Sweden.
According to FAB’s Communication Center (CECOMSAER, in Portuguese), RIDEX highlighted the importance of joining forces to strengthen the Brazilian defense, security, and naval sectors. “Visitors were able to see FAB’s efforts to consolidate strategic projects that went from a necessity to reality. The Gripen NG and KC-390 [aircraft], currently undergoing tests, will soon increase FAB’s operability,” CECOMSAER stated.
The Astros 2020 program for missiles and rockets, the Integrated Border Monitoring System, and the Guarani armored vehicles program were some of the projects the Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese) showcased during RIDEX. “We were able to interact with different audiences who took part in the event,” said the Army’s Communication Center (CCOMSEX, in Portuguese) in a release.
At EB’s booth, service members from the First Battalion of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense (CBRN) presented equipment for reconnaissance, identification, and CBRN agent decontamination. “This event allowed the battalion to interact with other national defense agencies, facilitating cooperation in the event of a CBRN incident,” CCOMSEX stated.