The 14th HEMUS International Defence Equipment and Services Exhibition took place in Plovdiv, Bulgaria on 30 September–3 October. Otokar was again the only Turkish company to attend the event, which is held every two years, presenting its ARMA 8×8 armoured vehicle along with the MIZRAK-30 turret system.
HEMUS 2020 is one of the few defence exhibitions not to have been shifted online this year due to the global pandemic and the resulting economic downturn. During the exhibition, the organisers and participant companies ensured strict adherence to the measures taken against the pandemic.
This year, an additional pavilion area was added to accommodate the increased number of participant companies, despite the pandemic. In addition to the 60 institutions, organisations and companies participating from Bulgaria, 26 foreign companies from 14 different countries opened stands at HEMUS 2020. The last exhibition was attended by a total of 69 companies, institutions and organisations, of which 48 were Bulgarian and 21 from other countries, compared to 86 this year.
Visitors to the event exceeded 3,000 and among them were many high-ranking officials of the Republic of Bulgaria, as in previous years, including President Rumen Radev, as well as Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers, the Chief of Defence and the Service Commanders. Moreover, 15 official delegations, including ministers, national armaments directors, and high-ranking civil and military officials were in attendance, as well as ambassadors and defence and commercial attachés from around 50 countries.
Held on the sidelines of the event were the International Scientific Conference and the Industrial Forum, as in previous years. Besides static display, live demonstrations and firings also took place.
A panel entitled “The Future of Defence: Technological Innovation in NATO for the Maintenance of Peace and Security” was held on 29 September, one day before the exhibition, attracting considerable attention from the participants.
In addition to the live firings and demonstrations performed mostly by units of the Bulgarian Armed Forces, the event saw live demonstrations of U.S. Air Force aircraft together with helicopters from the Bulgarian Air Force. Another unit from the U.S. Land Forces hosted a static display of weapons, vehicles and equipment at the exhibition.
A survey carried out at the exhibition, which this year attracted a higher number of participant companies and greater numbers of local and foreign visitors when compared to the previous event, revealed that the visitors and participants were on the whole satisfied with the exhibition, and believed that they had received the expected benefits.
Otokar’s Interest in Bulgaria Continues
Otokar once again displayed its ARMA 8×8 armoured vehicle, this time fitted with a MIZRAK-30 turret. At HEMUS 2018 a MIZRAK-S turret were displayed on ARMA 8×8. The Otokar stand attracted the attention of many civil and military visitors, including Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria, who made a personal visit.
Otokar ARMA can be supplied in various configurations – as an Armoured Personnel Carrier, Armoured Combat Vehicle, Mortar Carrier, Short- and Medium-Range Air Defence Vehicle, Engineer Vehicle, Armoured Recovery Vehicle, Command and Control vehicle, etc. – and can be equipped with manned or unmanned turrets that are suitable for a wide range of weapon systems, from 7.62 mm up to 105 mm. Otokar highlights the vehicle’s high payload-carrying capacity and large internal volume, as well as its amphibious capabilities.
Underlying the fact that Otokar is strengthening its position within the global defence sector each passing day, Serdar Görgüç, General Manager of Otokar, spoke about their participation at the exhibition: “We have over 30 years of experience in military vehicles, and this allows us to assess and understand the expectations and needs of our users. We then develop military vehicles to meet these needs, making use of our engineering capabilities and R&D facilities. We are making new export achievements each day in different parts of the world with our military vehicles, of which we own the intellectual property rights. Over 32,000 vehicles are currently operating in more than 35 countries. At Otokar, we want to meet the needs of the Bulgarian Armed Forces and to take advantage of any cooperation opportunities that may arise in accordance with the needs of the region. HEMUS, in this regard, represents a great opportunity for us.”