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The Warsaw Voice » Other » September 3, 2008
Kielce, Sept. 8-11, 2008
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Military Hardware on Show
September 3, 2008   
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Nearly 400 exhibitors from 25 countries will show their latest-generation military hardware at the 16th International Defense Industry Exhibition in Kielce, south-central Poland, Sept. 8-11. The trade fair, held under the auspices of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, will include a Swedish national exhibition.

Over the past 16 years, the Kielce exhibition has grown to become the largest defense exhibition in Central Europe and the third largest in Europe as a whole.

The Kielce exhibition has strong ties to the Polish armed forces and defense industry. Its main aim is to show the latest hardware, logistics and security systems for defense, security and rescue applications. The exhibition provides an overview of what global arms corporations have to offer in these areas.

Among the exhibitors are companies such as CITEF GmbH, MEN/CBC, MBDA, Oto Melara, Panasonic Marketing Europe GmbH, Rafael, Vectronix AG, Vinghog, Saab, Swedish Security, and Poland's largest armaments producers, including Bumar Group. The trade fair helps exhibitors find partners and sign business contracts in Kielce.

A long list of international conferences and seminars accompanies the exhibition. Among the conferences to be held this year are those entitled "The Needs of the Armed Forces and the Potential of the Defense Industry" and "European Security at the Start of the 21st Century." Last year, more than 30 American companies showed their products and services at the U.S. national stand in Kielce. This year, a Swedish national exhibition will be a leading event.

"During the fair, eight Swedish companies-BAE Systems, Bofors and Hägglunds, FLIR Government Systems, Nammo, Saab, Sepson, Teleanalys and Akers Krutbruk Protection-will show their products and services in the Swedish Hall," says Lars Olsson, communications and public relations director for the Swedish Association of the Defense and Security Industry. "Additionally, a series of seminars will be held during the four exhibition days, from Monday to Thursday, to showcase the latest achievements of the Swedish defense industry, including companies taking part in the fair."

Participants in the seminars will have an opportunity to learn more about the rules of cooperation between Swedish arms companies and the government. They will also be able to become familiar with Swedish thermal imaging, communications and ammunition systems as well as the progress of research on Swedish missile systems, which are well known in the world. The Polish navy has signed a contract for the purchase of Swedish RBS missiles.

Andrzej Mochoń, president of the Targi Kielce company, which is organizing the International Defense Industry Exhibition, says, "Compared with last year, we have introduced some changes to the way in which these events will be held. We have agreed with our Swedish partners to hold fewer seminars and make them shorter than last year. A lot of people come to Kielce just for one day and have difficulty choosing which event to attend."

Meeting army needs
A seminar on the requirements of the Polish armed forces with regard to the defense industry will be held on the second day of the fair-under the auspices of Poland's deputy defense minister Marek Zaj±kała. The army needs hardware based on the latest technology, experts say, and there is no point in manufacturing something that the army does not need or is not going to buy in the near future.

To avoid such problems, companies should know the army's purchasing plans for the coming years. During the seminar, officers from the Inspectorate for Armed Forces Support will tell participants about what the Polish army, navy and air force expect from the defense industry.

The seminar will also enable officers from the defense ministry's Department of Military Research and Education to tell participants about the research potential of the Polish armed forces.

Edward E. Nowak, chairman of Bumar Group, said, "One of the most important plans for the future is to create a strong research and development center for companies in the Bumar group. We can conduct research in collaboration with other R&D centers, including those operating within the armed forces."

The first day of the exhibition will see a conference entitled "The Generational Shift in the Armed Forces" and a seminar on "The Transformation of the Polish Armed Forces." During these two events, military experts will tell participants how Poland's armed forces have changed in the 21st century and what weaponry they now use.

Zofia Szelińska
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