SOFEX: 10th Edition 2014
ABOVE: Beretta’s ARX160 5.56x45mm rifle was on display, and has been purchased for testing by Jordanian Armed Forces. Of course, the ARX160 is available in other calibers and with the 40x46mm underbarrel grenade launcher.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is host to the SOFEX military trade show held every two years in Amman, Jordan. Regionally, this is one of the most important shows that concerned people can attend. It’s not just the juxtaposition to current combat areas; Jordan has always been a meeting ground for concerned military groups. Vendors report a lot of success if their products meet the current threats, but the Jordanian Armed Forces have always looked at different possible solutions to the threats, and tried many alternatives. In other words, if you have an innovative weapon or military product, the odds are that there will be people in authority willing to give it a test. And, those people are definitely at the SOFEX show, looking to talk with the vendors.
This atmosphere attracts a lot of interesting companies, thus, SOFEX has become a gathering place for interested end users as well. A lot of exhibitors were from U.S. companies, as always. This doesn’t mean that the Russians and Chinese aren’t heavily represented; they are and have their own buildings. It’s just that a plethora of U.S. small arms manufacturers were there at the show, with real weapons on display instead of just posters. That tends to draw more interest. Poland, Bulgaria, Serbia, France, and the UK also had heavy representation.
Every two years SOFEX coincides with the annual KASOTC Warrior Competition with SADJ attending both. While the SOFEX show has a concentration of vendors in a variety of buildings around a central parade ground, with outdoor exhibits, there is also an air show, and numerous demonstrations of tactical skills. The heliborne assault that is presented is not only visual, but a crowd pleaser. Special Forces troops ride in to rescue “hostages” in a very high speed and theatrical manner. So, the show is broken up for the attendees by outdoor events that are right on premises and don’t take the attendees away from the displays for very long. All in all, a very satisfying event, and SOFEX, while a mature show, shows all the signs of continuing to grow.