In a span of 10 days, FORCE attended two aerospace and defence shows across countries as diverse as France and Russia. While the Paris Air Show was a celebration of its place as the international hub for aviation business, Army 2019, also called ‘International Military and Technical Forum’ was an affirmation of the resoluteness of Russia’s defence industry. In Paris, the venue transformed into a global village, in which people of innumerable nationalities worked and partied together. In Kubinka, on the outskirts of Moscow, the venue resonated with military music. If there was any celebration, it was of the Russian military might. Of course, there were international visitors at the show. But their small number was overwhelmed by the presence of the natives.
The biggest evidence of the nature of the two shows lay in the sign-postings at the venues. In Paris, all signs used twin languages — French and English. In Kubinka, it was Russian, with just a smattering of English wherever the exhibitors remembered. Even the support staff, helpfully dispersed throughout the venue to help the visitors, barely spoke English.
However, what visually distinguished the two shows were the wares on display. Even though ‘Army’ projects itself as a tri-service show, and there were a few helicopters on static display, essentially it is all about Russian land power. Since the exhibition is held at a place called Patriot Park, it houses rows and rows of decommissioned Russian warhorses, including tanks, artillery guns, infantry vehicles, armoured personnel carriers and so on. Facing these vintage platforms is equipment currently in use. And right in the middle of the venue are the future systems and platforms. Wherever one looks, one is accosted by the sea of deep military green — a sight like no other.
In this issue, while we are carrying a detailed report on the Paris Air Show, we present only a glimpse of Army 2019. A more detailed report will follow in the next issue.
The other big story in this issue pertains to the recent visit of US secretary of state Mike Pompeo to India on his way to Osaka for the G-20 summit. In New Delhi, he made a few interesting comments, including reaffirming US’ commitment to its friendship with India. The government of India also took this opportunity to publicly express its intent of buying more US defence equipment including armed unmanned system. We have an expert reading between the lines to see the direction this will take India in a multipolar world, where our interests do not always converge with the US.
In addition to that we look at several issues pertaining to modernisation, new technologies and internal security. In the Books section, we carry yet another extract from an interesting book from the Naval Institute Press of the US Naval Institute. Hopefully, you will find it useful and instructive. On that note, enjoy the issue.