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Day 1 - Events
The 12th edition of the biennial IMDEX Asia Exhibition, Asia Pacific’s premier international maritime defence show, kicked-off on 14 May in Changi Exhibition Centre.

This year’s edition draws again a plethora of global leaders and distinguished guests: no less that 22 chiefs of navy, directors-general of coast guards, and heads of maritime agencies, together with senior naval officers, industry leaders and trade professionals from 65 countries are attending the event.

At the Official Opening Ceremony on 14 May Singapore's Minister of Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen, the Guest-of-Honour, emphasised that: “The Republic of Singapore Navy plays a major role in efforts to tackle regional maritime security threats, as well as assisting in regional efforts to combat maritime terrorism through the Information Fusion Centre in Changi Naval Base. All the nations in the region have strong motivations to invest in MSA and Maritime Security capabilities. Also, developing strong strategic partnerships with other naval forces in the region is indispensable to combat smuggling, terrorism, and other illegal activities in parts of the South China Sea and Philippine Sea.”

The 6th International Maritime Security Conference (IMSC 2019), held during IMDEX, was themed “Safe and Secure Seas: Promoting Mutual Security in our Maritime Commons” and consisted of 3 sessions:

- Assessing the Current Rules-based Maritime Order

- Maintaining Peace in our Maritime Commons

- Strengthening Cooperation, Engendering Trust

For the very first time, IMDEX Asia also hosts the Commercial Maritime Cyber Security Forum, bringing naval and maritime industry players together to discuss the modern maritime threat landscape and the vulnerability of high value units to cyber attacks. Cyber security operations have become an increasing military priority, both in defensive and offensive terms. There is a growing recognition that the electromagnetic environment and cyberspace represent operational domains in their own right.

Day 1 - Exhibition Floor
The most noteworthy display came from the home-based Singapore’s Technologies Marine (ST Marine) unveiling its Super Swift-series and the Vanguard 130 Multi-Role Combatant. The Super Swift series is a range of ultra-high speed Fast Patrol Boats designed for interdiction, interception and patrolling. Customised for military and law enforcement applications, each FPB features an Air Cavity Hull that enables the craft to reach high speeds of up to 70 knots.The Vanguard 130 Multi-Role Combatant is part of a series of five Vanguard types that deliver multi-modal capabilities within one design, thus enabling cost efficiencies across the platforms as all five classes share common hull forms.

Another debut is ST Singapore’s Integrated Ship Bridge Simulator, offering a realistic environment that promotes collaborative training in ship handling, engineering watch and combat operations for the navy crew. The system features Virtual Reality (VR) stations that enhance realism with targeted scenarios including berthing and dealing with small vessel threats.

ST Engineering also launched its upgraded SkyArcher Counter Drone System that enables the safe takedown of unauthorised drones. The first such solution of its kind in Singapore, the SkyArcher does not interfere with the communications signals of surrounding authorised drones as well as other communications signals in a radio frequency dense urban environment. It is also capable of taking over multiple drones and landing them safely at designated locations, regardless of their flying direction and number. Also on showcase for the first time is the AgilLOC Antenna Element Compact (AgiILOC AEC), an integrated anti-jam antenna system that can nullify the interference of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signals.

Another noteworthy display is the Joint Multi Mission Ship (JMMS), or Endurance 170 LHD-design. The 170m platform has a displacement of 19,000t and features a full length flight-deck with five landing spots suited to operate both heavy-lift and medium-lift rotorcraft, including the H225M Super Pumas and CH-47F Chinooks of the Army. The ship is capable of embarking up to 400 fully equipped troops and the well deck will accommodate up to 17 tanks and 16 30t vehicles. The ships will also feature a 1000m² medical facility with four operating theatres, 10 intensive care beds and 17 wards. Such project could help Singapore becoming one of the most powerful navies of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). Although the Singapore's Navy is not initially an expeditionary one, the construction of such a JMMS signifies an increasing willingness to extend and enhance its maritime power and mainly its amphibious capabilities.

RAFAEL showcases its unique Advanced Defence Systems’ 360° Multi-Layer Defence Solution suite comprising of a number of systems including an unmanned integrated naval system, digital shipborne electronic warfare suite, torpedo defence solution for submarines and surface ships and comprehensive weapon systems. Some of the multi-disciplinary, multi-layer responses to threats across the naval arena include:

• TYPHOON MK-30C: a stabilised, remotely operated weapon system for surface and aerial targets;

• C-DOME: a naval area defence system, deriving from the IRON DOME anti-missile system;

• SEWS DV and C-GEM: naval electronic warfare (EW) defence system;

• TOPLITE MHD: a stabilised multi-spectral HD sensor, multi-purpose electro-optic ISR and targeting system;

• SEA SPOTTER: an infrared stabilised, stare & track system;

• PROTECTOR: unmanned surface vessel (USV);

• SHADE: comprehensive torpedo defence solution for submarines;

• ATDS: a torpedo defence solution for surface vessels;

• TORBUSTER: a combined soft/hard kill torpedo decoy system.

The ISRAEL SHIPYARDS unveiled its new OPV-45 multipurpose ocean patrol vessel. The vessel offers a wide spectrum of operational capabilities in both Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) and fast patrol craft configurations. The OPV-45 can carry a variety of mission-specific payloads. The OPV-45 features advanced weapon stations, electro-optics, radar and communication systems, a command bridge enabling 360° observation.

Some of the new exhibitors, to name but a few, included:

COMPETITION QUARTERMASTER LLP (Singapore) showcased its newest addition, SEATOOL, a protective housings used by Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) and sub-sea services to house underwater lights and cameras for oil rig security, maritime Search And Rescue (SAR) and pipeline security.

DRASS GALEAZZI builds insidious crafts and compact Midget submarines. The company’s range also includes SDVs for Special Forces, Submarine Rescue Systems and complex solutions up to complete Submarine Rescue.

FLIR Systems Co. Ltd is a world leader in high performance marine electronics for visual navigation information in thermal imaging.
QUANZHOU XINHENG Outdoor Equipment is specialised in making Airtight and Waterproof floatable and multi-function bulletproof bag, first-aid medicine bag etc.

RIO LOGISTICS provides the defence logistics services in the Asia Pacific region.

Guy Toremans

Rafael displays its Toplite MHD EOS, Sea Spotter and EW suits at IMDEX Asia (Photo: Guy Toremans)

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