IDEX was officially opened yesterday in a ceremony held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Guests awaiting the official opening were treated to displays from military bands and traditional dancers, as the flags of the 56 nations participating at IDEX were paraded.
Following the arrival of the Royal Party and the playing of the UAE national anthem, the Presidential Regiment and Orchestra of Russia performed an impressive drill sequence as a prelude to the capability demonstration.
This year’s demonstration comprised a breath-taking, all-action display that highlighted the capabilities of many branches of the UAE Armed Forces. The scenario involved a militia group attacking a humanitarian aid train and also hijacking a ship that was loaded with chemicals. At the same time a submarine threat was detected out at sea.
Responding immediately to the militia’s assaults, the UAE forces mounted attacks on militia forces from air, sea and land. Leclerc tanks and BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles fired at militia positions, while NorthStar 407MRH and Apache helicopters provided air cover. Special forces stormed the hijacked vessel from fast boats, while others arrived by Chinook to helo-cast into the creek before coming ashore. Mirage 2000 and F-16 fighters provided air support for the operation.
As the militia forces were overwhelmed by the UAE forces, specialist route-proving and CBRN vehicles were deployed to detect and negate IED threats, as well as to take samples to ensure that there was no chemical threat. But even as UAE forces took control of the situation, the submarine threat manifested itself. UAE Navy Panthers and a Super Puma arrived to counter the submarine, which was tracked by the Super Puma using its dipping sonar.
As the submarine surfaced, its crew surrendered to UAE assault forces. To bring the spectacle to a fitting finale, the MB339 aircraft of the UAE national aerobatic display team, Al Fursan, performed their trademark flypast streaming the national colours behind them as a salute to the UAE Armed Forces.