Our IDET 2021 International Defence and Security Technologies Fair hindsight
The recent 18th edition of the IDET International Defence and Security Technology Fair, which was traditionally held in Brno, presented a number of innovations in the field of defence and security technologies. This year's show was interesting for several reasons: Visitors were able to see new modern weapon systems and technologies, and for the first time the State of Israel's exposition was presented at IDET through the SIBAT agency. An interesting novelty was also the Start-up Innovotion Pavilion, which featured five innovative Czech start-up companies in the field of defence and security technologies.
Video: A look back at the IDET 2021 International Defence and Security Technology Fair / YouTube
This year's IDET fair was also visited, in addition to the professional and general public, by political and military leaders. The official opening of the fair was attended by, for example, Minister of Defence Lubomír Metnar and Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces General Aleš Opata. Minister of Industry Trade and Transport Karel Havlíček and Minister of Foreign Affairs Jakub Kulhánek were also present. An important guest was General Emil Bocek, one of the last living veteran pilots of World War II, fighter of the 310th Czechoslovak Fighter Squadron, which operated in Great Britain.
This year's edition was interesting in the form of presentations of individual exhibitors, a number of dynamic demonstrations and novelties. The sector of young Czech startup companies, which had already been announced by the Association of Defence and Security Industry before the fair, was also an interesting place. These are companies that are striving for innovative approaches to defence technologies.
Spectrasol presented a unique, patented technology of bio-optimised LED luminaires, which mimic natural daylight with their spectral composition and other properties. The aim of CactuX LINACTON's participation in the Start-up Innovation Pavillion was to spread awareness of the possibilities of non-destructive CT testing and to present a newly developed platform for industrial CT based on a high-performance X-ray source, which has great potential for use in the defence and security sector. Another Czech company, OteSpace, presented its own rocket engine. The company's intention is (in cooperation with domestic strategic partners) to develop and commercially operate a rocket launcher for small satellites with a capacity of up to 250 kg into low Earth orbit. Another Czech company, Quantasoft, is focusing on machine learning and artificial intelligence in the field of biometrics, with its own R&D team using deep neural networks and unique techniques for image and video recognition. The last domestic company, SpaceKnow Inc. presented its work related to the development and implementation of advanced AI and machine learning-based algorithms for automatic analysis of satellite data.
An important part of the fair was also the exhibition of the Army of the Czech Republic and the Ministry of Defence, which presented the current capabilities and possibilities of our armed forces. One of the biggest attractions was undoubtedly Nexter's CAESAR self-propelled howitzers, with the Ministry of Defence recently signing a contract to purchase 52 of these guns for the Czech Army.
There was also a working model of the DITA cannon howitzer made by the Czech company EXCALIBUR ARMY. Exhibits of RETIA, which won the Golden IDET award with its ReGUARD radar, were also presented.
Visitors to this year's IDET could also see the ASCOD tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicle from GDELS and the LYNX from Rheinmetall. Both of these vehicles are currently competing for the tender for new tracked IFV for the Army. Another interesting feature of the exhibition of the German company Rheinmetall was the presentation of the LASSY robotic dog, which can be effectively used wherever reconnaissance of impassable terrain is needed, for example in built-up areas. The robotic dog can carry various modules for reconnaissance, protection or detection and can perform many other tasks.
The light wheeled armoured vehicles were the highlight of the fair. For example, the Oshkosh vehicles presented by STV Group and the Zetor Gerlach 4x4 from the newly founded Czech company Zetor Defence. Especially the Oshkosh was interesting to observe during the dynamic demonstrations in the IDET Arena.
Also at this year's IDET, the prestigious IDET Gold Awards were presented. In the field of defence industry, the awards went to the TITUS 6x6 KOVS vehicle from TATRA DEFENCE VEHICLE a.s., the ReGUARD multi-purpose 3D radar from RETIA a.s. and the RCWS MANTIS weapon station from EVPÚ DEFENCE a.s.
The 9th annual Cyber Security Conference under the auspices of the Czech branch of AFCEA also took place as part of the professional accompanying programme. An attractive part of the fair was once again the IDET Arena field polygon, where visitors could see a number of dynamic demonstrations.
The 16th International Defence and Security Technologies Fair IDET confirmed its position as one of the most important shows in Central Europe and NATO countries. A total of 496 exhibiting companies from 27 countries took part, whose stands were viewed by over 24,000 mostly professional visitors from home and abroad. For our editorial team it was positive to see all the exhibits presented made in the Czech Republic, which are a promise for the further development of the Czech arms industry. This once again confirmed the strong position of the Czech defence and security industry, which has long exported over 90 per cent of its production and in 2020 the value of its exports will rise to almost CZK 17 billion (one billion more than in 2019).