Brunei Kicks Off 3rd BRIDEX Defense Show
By WENDELL MINNICK
TAIPEI - The third Brunei Darussalam International Defence Exhibition (BRIDEX) is quickly taking its rightful place among regional exhibitions as one of the top defense and security events in Southeast Asia.
Organized by the Royal Brunei Technical Services, BRIDEX 2011 will showcase the latest regional and international defense technologies and equipment in land, sea, air and security systems from July 6-9.
U.S. companies vying for market space include BBA Aviation, General Dynamics, Harris Corporation, Northrop Grumman, Piper Aircraft and Raytheon. European defense exhibitors include BAE Systems, Defense Conseil International, QinetiQ, Renault, Rosoboronexport and Saab. A number of competitive helicopter manufacturers will also be exhibiting, including AugustaWestland, Bell Helicopters, Eurocopter and Sikorsky.
Asia-Pacific exhibitors include Australia's Prism Defence, China's Hubei Hudiequan Plastic Products Co., Pakistan Ordnance, Singapore Technologies Engineering and Taiwan's Smart Team Technology.
BRIDEX officials said there would be land-based and waterborne demonstrations of defense and security equipment and systems. The new BRIDEX Exhibition and Convention Centre in Jerudong is located next to the waterfront.
"BRIDEX also provides an excellent platform for building vital alliances, forging partnerships and capturing new business opportunities in a fast growing South East Asian region, as well as for networking, sharing ideas and knowledge, discussing technology advancements and industry developments," said a BRIDEX press release.
BRIDEX 2011 coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces. This year about 300 exhibitors and 500 VIP delegates are expected to participate. In 2007, 108 exhibitors representing 16 countries participated, including more than 60 delegates from 17 countries. In 2009, the number of exhibitors jumped to 200 from 26 countries, along with 300 delegates from 40 countries.
Singapore's Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen will also attend. Ng is also visiting Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) officer cadets undergoing jungle confidence and survival training in Brunei. The SAF will be displaying a F-16 fighter aircraft, a CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopter, a Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicle and a Formidable-class frigate, the RSS Stalwart, at BRIDEX. Ng will be accompanied by Singapore's Permanent Secretary for Defence Chiang Chie Foo, Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General Neo Kian Hong and Chief of Air Force Major-General Ng Chee Meng.
BRIDEX will also host a conference, "Mapping Future Security and Technological Challenges," on July 5. Presenters include Kim Taeyoung, former South Korean defense minister, now a senior adviser for the Korea Institute of Defense Analyses; Ambassador Barry Desker, dean of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore; and Lt. Gen. Prakash Menon, military adviser for India's National Security Council Secretariat.
In a statement issued by Yang Mulia Dato Paduka Haji Mustappa, Deputy Minister of Defense of Brunei Darussalem, the military has gone through organizational changes since BRIDEX 2009, "most notably the merging of the Directorate of Operations with the Joint Force Headquarters to enhance Joint Operations."
The military also formed a new department in 2010, the Centre of Science and Technology Research and Development, "that will form a synergy with the Directorate of Capability Development to focus on acquiring capability solutions required by the Royal Brunei Armed Forces."
The military is awaiting the soon-to-be released 2011 Defense White Paper, which will identify key areas for future development, such as the integration of the Joint Force with the military's C4ISR system, he said.