Organised by the two industrial associations TEDAE (Asociación Española de Empresas Tecnológicas de Defensa, Seguridad, Aeronáutica y Espacio) and AESMIDE (Asociación de Empresas Contratistas Con las Administraciones Públicas de España) and strongly supported by the Spanish Ministry of Defence the first-ever FEINDEF exhibition took place at Madrid’s IFEMA Exhibition Centre from May 29 to 31, 2019.
Some 140 industrial exhibitors took advantage of the event, and in addition the show grounds featured dedicated exhibits of the three services of the Spanish armed forces, as well as of the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the Interior. From every point of view the event was very well organised and accompanied by an impressive schedule of dedicated presentations and briefings. Among the official VIP visitors to FEINDEF were the Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles (pictured hereunder), the Secretary of State for Defence, Ángel Olivares, the Chief of Defence (JEMAD), General Fernando Alejandre Martínez, as well as the chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force and the Director General of Materiel (DGAM), Admiral Santiago González Gómez. There was remarkably busy traffic on the exhibition floor, and according to the organisers’ estimation FEINDEF 2019 attracted the interest of more than 10,000 visitors.
Although mainly focussed on the Spanish defence market with foreign companies mostly represented by their Spanish subsidiaries – exceptions included Iveco, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin and Rafael – the presidents of TEDAE, Jaime de Rábao, and AESMIDE, Gerardo Sánchez Revenga, explained during a press briefing, that FEINDEF’s major objectives included:
• Strengthening the role of Spain in the European security and defence environment, with Spain to play a key role in future European defence, and • Providing a bridge to and for the Latin American defence community. Against this background both protagonists pointed out that already this year the exhibition had attracted the interest of 48 international delegations from 32 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, thereof 15 Latin American chiefs of armed forces. With 77 member companies TEDAE is dedicated to the representation of industries with capabilities at system level, whereas AESMIDE (65 members)
regards itself as a supporter of mainly the SMEs in Spain’s defence industrial
The Spanish Army used FEINDEF 2019 to draw attention to their FUERZA 35 concept, which describes the land forces’ materiel requirements until the year 2035 and covers a wide spectrum of equipment already in service (like the Leopard 2 E fleet), equipment under development/subject to procurement (like the DRAGÓN/Piranha 5 8×8 vehicle) and materiel requirements yet to be determined in detail. This included an active protection system for the Army’s combat vehicles and the introduction of artificial intelligence for applications like Rafael’s FIRE WEAVER system. Remarkably enough, not all of the new programmes will be subjected to a competitive tendering process. Instead, the Army prefers to accompany and influence certain selected industrial development programmes intended to result in equipment items tailor-made in response to the requirements of the service.
With a volume of €2.1 billion and designated DRAGÓN, the Ministry of Defence plans to award the contract for 348 type Piranha 5 8×8 vehicles following a test campaign to commence in July this year. The tests will be executed by the Army involving five different prototypes. As it has yet to be decided what kind of armament the vehicles will be equipped with, a battle is going on between the bidders of the turret systems for the 30mm Bushmaster chain
gun. At present, there are tendencies indicating that the Cavalry might prefer a manned turret which is expected to offer better visual conditions for reconnaissance missions, whereas the Infantry’s preference is believed to be for an unmanned, remote-controlled turret system. Seven companies and consortia have indicated an interest to become the supplier of choice. Against this background, Rafael of Israel used FEINDEF to draw attention to their partnership with the Spanish companies PAP TECNOS S.A.. and Tecnobit for the Samson 30mm turret, and Navantia, EXPAL and Elbit announced their teaming arrangement for Elbit’s UT30MK2 (unmanned) and MT30 (manned) turret systems dubbed Tizona in response to the DRAGÓN requirement. Leonardo is the third foreign contender, bidding in a partnership with Escribano and Indra.
Other variants of the vehicle (final numbers yet to be decided) will include engineer and forward observer vehicles with remote-controlled weapon stations.
Another “first” at FEINDEF was General Dynamics European Land Systems Santa Bárbara Sistemas‘ (GDELS SBS) introduction of the combat engineering variant (ECV) of the PIZARRO (programme designation: ASCOD) armoured tracked vehicle. The Engineering Combat Vehicle has been commissioned by the Spanish Ministry of Defence and complements the different variants already delivered as part of Phases I and II of the PIZARRO programme, in total 225 vehicles. In the scope of the programme valued €786 million, the Spanish Army plans to field a total of 36 vehicles of this type, of which 25 are to be delivered in 2020 and
10 in 2021. The vehicles will be manufactured at the company’s Asturias and Sevilla sites.
Airbus: Contrato Logístico
Airbus and the Spanish Air Force confirmed a logistics agreement at FEINDEF. Called Drone and Augmented Reality inspections, the technology provides maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operators with an end-to-end digital solution that facilitates the performance of tasks, while guaranteeing quality and adherence to airworthiness standards. The Drone and Augmented Reality inspections services are being jointly developed by Airbus with a military service for inspections of Airbus-built A400M heavy-lift airlifters. Its application could be further extended to cover three other Airbus military airlifters: the medium-lift CN235 and C295 transports; along with A330 MRTTs (Multi Role Tanker Transports).
The next FEINDEF, for which the organisers expect a significantly higher number of international exhibitors, will be held in 2021 during the Spanish Armed Forces Week, the date of which has yet to be determined.
(Source: ESD Spotlight)