By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE
02 Apr 08. BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold visited the SOFEX show in Jordan.
The 7th edition of the SOFEX series was held at the King Abdullah I Airbase located near Amman in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The event was held under the Patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II, who will be launching the activities of SOFEX 2008 supported by the Jordan Armed Forces.
Recognising the current war in neighbouring Iraq, SOFEX 2008 surpassed all previous editions of the SOFEX series in terms of participants and exhibitors. Building on the huge success of SOFEX 2006 – in which approximately 7,500 participants from 75 countries took part, as well as approximately 300 exhibitors, 44 foreign military delegations and more than 285 government and military VIPs – SOFEX 2008 attracted a substantial amount of interest with a number of representatives for major national pavilions having expressed their intent to expand their participation for the next edition.
One of the key areas being =highlighted was border surveillance. The Iraq War has caused a huge influx of refugees into neighbouring Arab Countries, particularly Jordan. It has been estimated that as many as one million rich Iraqis fled the Saddam regime and subsequent war to live in Amman. This has pushed property and food prices up and has caused considerable problems for Homeland Security for possible terrorist incursions from Al Qaedea in particular. The horrific 2005 bombings in Amman brought home to King Abdullah the dangers Al Qaedea posed.
The BBC reported that in November 2002, during the run-up to the US invasion of neighbouring Iraq, he warned the US that Jordan might suffer from a wave of anger and violence if Saddam Hussein were overthrown.
The Times reported that a man and his wife carried out one of the co-ordinated suicide bombings that ripped through three luxury hotels in the Jordanian capital, al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed yesterday. The claim, from the terrorist group led by the fugitive Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, came in an internet statement identifying all four bombers as Iraqis.
It said that one was the wife of a suicide bomber who had chosen to die alongside her husband. “The group charged with planning, preparing and implementing [the bombings] was made up of three men: commanders Abu Khabib, Abu Muaz and Abu Omaira. Their fourth was the venerable sister Umm Omaira,” the statement said. The wife of Abu Omaira “chose to accompany her husband to his martyrdom”.
The aftermath of these horrific attacks caused a major rethink in the handling of Jordan’s Border protection techniques. One problem being that Jordan has a long border with its neighbours, much of which is in remote regions which are difficult to police
Thus, the major announcement during SOFEX was the announcement that DRS Technologies had won the multi-million dollar contract for the initial phase of the Jordan Border Security Program.
DRS Technologies wins initial phase of the Jordan Border Security Program
DRS Technologies, Inc. announced at SOFEX on April 3rd that it had received an order from the U.S. Army’s Communications and Electronics Command (CECOM), Fort Monmouth, N.J., for the initial phase of the Jordan Border Security Program. In conjunction with the U.S. Army, DRS will provide the Jordan Armed Forces with an end-to-end border security system for a section of Jordan’s border.
In addition, the company will design a nation-wide border security architecture. DRS will also provide post delivery, maintenance, logistics and training support of the system. The work for this award will be accomplished by the company’s DRS Command, Control and Communications (C3) Systems unit in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
“DRS has a proud legacy of providing integrated border surveillance systems and products, including ground radars and infrared cameras,” Richard S. Danforth, president of