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King opens SOFEX, tours special operations fair

Organisers say expo has gained international recognition as major hub

By JT - May 08,2018 - Last updated at May 08,2018

His Majesty King Abdullah and HRH Crown Prince Hussein arrive at the site of SOFEX, which His Majesty inaugurated, in Amman on Tuesday (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah, the Supreme Commander of the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army (JAF), on Tuesday inaugurated the 2018 Special Operations Forces Exhibition (SOFEX), which specialises in defence and operational industries and national security.

Upon arriving at the King Abdullah I Airbase in Amman for the opening ceremony, the Supreme Commander, accompanied by HRH Crown Prince Hussein, was received by HRH Prince Feisal, chairman of SOFEX, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Freihat, according to a Royal Court statement. 

SOFEX Director Amer Tabaa said at the ceremony that it is of great pride that SOFEX remains an effective platform for special operations and national security, adding that the exhibition has gained recognition as a key world event.

He stressed that defence and security are two vital issues for all world nations.

All efforts are exerted to ensure that JAF is equipped with up-to-date technology, he said.

Tabaa noted that the exhibition is aimed to serve as a “distinguished hub” to exchange knowledge and keep pace with challenges and rapid events in the special operations field.

The director noted that the four-day event, in its 12th edition, brings together more than 350 companies of all sizes from 35 Arab and foreign countries to showcase their latest innovations.

The exhibition saw major deals signed, the companies involved announced. 

Col. Sufian Sleihat, commander of the King Abdullah II Group of the Royal Special Forces, highlighted that SOFEX conference and exhibition represent a Jordanian success story that was based on meeting the needs of JAF through relying on its own capabilities and marketing its military industries regionally and internationally. 

Meanwhile, King Abdullah and Crown Prince Hussein watched an exercise of paratrooper landings and cordoning off an area, which was carried out by the Rapid Response Unit with backing from F-16 fighter jets to simulate an evacuation of hostages from a terrorist group.

A Royal Jordanian Air Force aircraft carrying the flags of the Kingdom, JAF and SOFEX flew over the area.

Also, His Majesty and the Crown Prince toured the fair and listened to briefings from representatives of the firms on their products.

The Supreme Commander and Prince Hussein also stopped by Jordan’s pavilion at the exhibition, which showcases weapons and sophisticated equipment used by JAF and the public security, civil defence and gendarmerie departments in various defence and rescue operations.

They also toured the King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) and were briefed on machinery manufactured by the JAF-affiliated facility, as well as research projects that KADDB implements jointly with universities.

Delegations headed by ministers of defence, army chiefs and special operations commanders from all over the world took part in the expo.

Convened biannually at the King Abdullah I Airbase in Amman, the fair provides an opportunity for defence industry members around the world to engage in discussions with high-ranking military officials, network with visiting delegations and showcase their contributions of technologies and solutions.

Participating companies included Lockheed Martin, a US global aerospace, defence, security and advanced technologies company, which showcased its wide variety of defence and security solutions, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Anthony Winns, president of Lockheed Martin in the Middle East and Africa, said that the exhibition is a perfect opportunity to communicate with local partners and showcase modern technologies.

Other participants include ASELSAN A.Ş, a Turkish corporation that produces tactical military radios and defence electronic systems, according to Petra. 

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