The Most Low Key Arms Show In Asia Just Finished
Defense contractors don’t often flock to the Philippines. But they were out in force during the first Asian Defense, Security, & Crisis Management Exhibition–or ADAS for short–from July 16 to 18.
Held at the spacious World Trade Center, a venue in Pasay, Metro Manila, the sudden arrival of a powerful typhoon on the opening day forced the organizers, Asia Expo Pte Ltd, to cancel and resume on the 17th instead.
Fortunately, ADAS carried on and President Benigno Aquino welcomed the event, emphasizing his administration’s plans to spend approximately $2 billion on weapons for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) .
This is why the defense industries of the US, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Czech Republic, Poland, and Israel were well represented. Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Bell, Remington, Korea Aerospace Industries, Daewoo, Hyundai, Elbit Systems, Saab, and vendors from 15 different countries participated in ADAS.
When ADAS finished after repeated power outages* in the venue on the 18th, a Friday, no new deals were announced. According to the official show daily provided by Shephard Media, the AFP are keen on the RBS 70 surface-to-air missile system made by Saab.
Exhibitors did confirm that ongoing tenders were being evaluated. As detailed in an earlier article here at 21AAR, each branch of the AFP are buying new systems.
The air force can expect their dozen FA-50’s along with medium-lift transport planes and more helicopters.
The navy are in the process of selecting two frigates among four contenders from Spain, France, Indonesia, and South Korea. AgustaWestland anti-submarine warfare helicopters are also arriving soon.
The army are due 142 M113 APCs and 12 155mm towed howitzers. The engineer corps are reviewing bids for earth moving equipment from at least two companies.
The Philippine Coast Guard isn’t falling behind and at least 15 new ships will boost its current fleet in the coming years.
Whether the AFP decides to acquire drones or C4ISR systems remains unclear.
ADAS offered more than just weapons, however. The multinational exhibitor list included suppliers of avionics, forensic equipment, emergency services, and engineering vehicles. Various symposiums were held during its abbreviated time span for government officials and servicemen to exchange notes.
Aside from Singapore, few Southeast Asian countries have attracted major arms shows. This has changed as governments in the region are allotting billions for weapons purchases. This year alone, arms shows are scheduled in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan, with more to come by 2015.
* The typhoon’s aftermath caused rolling blackouts across Metro Manila.