As IDEX this year celebrates its Silver Jubilee, 25 years after the first edition, the official opening ceremony was appropriately spectacular. First up on the programme was the UAE military band, followed by the Abu Dhabi Police band, both resplendent in striking uniforms and giving outstanding renditions. A colourful UAE cultural performance by scores of smiling youth kept the crowds enthralled.
Shortly before 11:00, the flags of all 96 nations participating in IDEX 2019 were carried into the stadium from both ends of the pavilion. Moments later the spectators were asked to rise for the entry of the high-level guests, led by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice- President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The UAE national anthem was played, followed by an impressive performance by the Armenian military orchestra, the guard of honour and a percussion band.
With military precision, a fictional military scenario started unfolding on the scheduled hour, when the activities of armed militias at an abandoned military base were spotted by satellite.
Smuggling arms by sea and through a hidden underground network of tunnels connected to a long-range missile site, the militias brought a range of friendly forces into action to thwart their efforts.
The dramatic demonstration involved the use of modern and advanced techniques, augmented by virtual reality, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and satellite communications. The ensuing firefight involved a combination of ground, naval, air, security units and special forces in co-ordinated and synchronised attacks. Their professionalism and competency soon overcame the militia threat, including the destruction of a long-range missile as it was being launched.
Friendly forces who were injured even received medical provisions delivered by drone.
This simulated scenario saw the volatile situation being brought under control, thus re-establishing stability and security in the area, while the inhabitants received medical and humanitarian aid.
At the close of the demonstration, an array of unmanned aerial vehicles lifted off in a vibrant swarm depicting the national colours of the UAE - perhaps a fitting indication of how far technology has advanced since the first IDEX.