This is the first fully Nordic Defence and Security event in as many years as one can remember. What gives this nascent symposium and exposition relevance is that it was only a fortnight ago that the leadership of the region’s four main defence industry groups in Norway (FSi), Sweden (SOFF), Denmark (DI-FAD) and Finland (AFDA) signed an agreement to expand industrial cooperation. Ideally, the Estonian trade group would join as well (EKTL) and tie up the region’s activities in a tidy cooperative packet for the benefit of world peace, defence and security.
FDS-Nordic is a curious event, but one that all exhibitors agree shows promise and will grow in time. Without state funding and EU grants like many other trade groups in Europe receive for marketing and promotion purposes, this is a privately-funded event organised and supported by defence and security industry experts and consultants in the Nordic region. Exhibitors from as far away as Australia (Barrett Communications) joined regional companies came out to support the show and meet VIPs (mostly military attachés and industry leaders) from more than 33 countries. Saab, Håbeco, Portendo, Malux, CP Cases, Tenderteq, Musthane, H.Henriksen, Real Field Meals – we at MILTECH have tried them before and they are that good - C-Inside, Sea Cross, et al.
These are among the hearty exhibitors that didn’t pull out at the last minute when they heard peace protesters were planning to protest the event.. It’s been cold and rainy here in Stockholm and I haven’t seen one “Trust-a-farian” or Born-too-late-to be-a-real-hippie” in the vicinity. So much for standing by ones convictions... It is sad that several companies seem to lack the visceral fortitude to stand up for themselves in the home market.
The Nordic countries are probably responsible for more than 50% of the world’s defence and security innovations. I’m guessing at the number, but it must be close to it. There are countless innovations in this arena developed mostly by small companies in the Nordic countries. But unlike Holland, France or Poland, and countless other countries or regions, it lacks three things:
- Public event and forum to showcase its excellence (until now with FDS);
- Political and economic support for such an event
- Social will to stand against ignorant protesters and congratulate smart people for developing solutions that save, protect and preserve life, standards of living, and lifestyles we take for granted in our North-western corner of a round world.
This show demonstrates how Nordic countries / companies are making the world a safer place for – “Democracy” yes, but there is also – families, children, freedoms, human rights, dignity, choice, etc. Who will protect the peace protester’s rights to protest if there were no defence-industrial complex? Exactly…
With a population of eight million people, more than 10 per cent work in the defence and national security industry – probably more, when considering those companies that produce a number of things, including hardened steel for LAVs as well as police cars, trains, etc. Sweden and its neighbours would all be in a similar situation with Greece if it weren’t for the economic benefits of technologies and innovations that can also be used in defence.
The Head of FDS-Nordic is industry and distinguished military veteran Erik Hasselström, who is keen to expand the next event to include neighbouring Baltic States-based companies and the EKTL of Estonia (which has it’s own one-day forum today 29 November more to come on that); many Nordic-based companies cooperate with innovators in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. His would provide an even more compelling mix for Defence VIPs from military establishments, embassies and industry to meet and conduct business. Back to the promise of FDS-Nordic: Delegates from 29 countries ore-registered – starting with a German delegation as the first registrants. Although, the attendance is low, everyone agrees that the quality is very high – the “right people” as opposed to fans and enthusiasts of military and defence technologies. Some interesting products – a handheld and fully integrated (with smart phones, etc.) through wall.viewer from Cinside – that allows intelligence to be gathered, reviewed and decided and acted upon from the squad to command level. Sea Cross radars and real time mapping make it almost unnecessary to look out the window when navigating a vessel (just kidding, of course you want to look out the window); Portendo’s multi-function standoff system is truly revolutionary in terms of detection, integration, flexibility and price all rolled into one scalable and flexible solution;
A complete summary of Symposium topics will follow in the next instalment.