ABOVE: Military Systems Group Inc. is a long-term US Government contractor providing mount solutions. They’re well known in this marketplace and at IDEX were showing their newest solution for mounting the DShK M machine guns to vehicles. This author looked the mounts over—they’re well thought out, well made and were easy to charge and control the weapon system.

IDEX 2017—International Defence Exhibition & Conference

The International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) of 2017 is a biannual show that reached its 13th anniversary with this event. It is a mature show with well developed habits and procedures for the exhibitors and attendees. Having established itself as a benchmark show much like Eurosatory, Milipol, DSA or AUSA, IDEX attracts a rich diversity of attendees from around the world. The show itself is centered in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE controls 9% of the world’s oil reserves and 5% of the natural gas. As such, the UAE has a strong interest in their defense industry and tries very hard to stay modernized and up to the best technology in the region. Many Middle Eastern/Southwest Asian countries had their military in attendance, and the technology innovations were flying.

This year’s 5-day show was full to the brim with over 1,235 exhibitors, and the “New Exhibitors” section in Hall 1 was also filled. More than 105,000 attendees roamed the halls, and there were 1,000 local and international media representatives. Exhibitors were from over 50 countries. This shows significant growth from the 2015 show, but in any event this is a massive defense show. Being paired with the 4th edition of NAVDEX gives both events a boost as well.

In the RPG-7 rounds MIC makes for their “Sinar” RPG variant, we noted the OG-7 (Top) and PG-7V (Bottom) but the center PG-7 round has a 60mm mortar round as a warhead. This is used for two purposes: first, to high angle a fragmentation round over a barrier; and second, to clear reactive armor and the “eyes and ears” off of vehicles, making them more vulnerable to standard PG-7 anti-armor type attacks.
MIC claims to be manufacturing the Chinese Type 97 bullpup assault rifle in their facilities. The workmanship on the example at IDEX appears to be Chinese made, so this might be more of an “Assembled in Khartoum” as opposed to fully manufactured there. There are, in fact, differences in the material in most Type 97s seen, so there is a possibility it is indigenous. This is in 5.56x45mm, not the Type 95 in 5.8x42mm.
In 2004 at DSA Malaysia, the Iran pavilion showed a very short RPG-7 that was made in Iran, allowing for a backpack RPG-7. This author called it the “RPG-7K” for “short.” At IDEX this year, MIC again showed their version of this system as the “Sinar Commando.” The technology originated in Iran, but MIC appears to be fully manufacturing this version. We hope to be able to do some testing on this.
MIC presented a main display area of the Chinese Type 87 35x32mm automatic grenade launcher as the “ABBA.” They claim manufacturing of this lightweight launcher. It is air-cooled and gas-operated with direct impingement—the carry handle on top travels with the bolt so operators beware. Range is 1,750 meters, similar to the AGS-17. These are showing up in numerous places in Africa where the Chinese have actively worked on arms sales.
Left: 6-round drum. Right: 15-round drum.
The receiver tube has a range chart in English.
Markings on the ABBA optic are clearly for the Chinese QLZ87 launcher.
The Egyptian company Helwan is manufacturing the MAG58 7.62x51mm machine gun as the “Helwan 920.” We looked it over carefully; it was a well-made machine gun.
The Egyptian company Helwan is manufacturing the MAG58 7.62x51mm machine gun as the “Helwan 920.” We looked it over carefully; it was a well-made machine gun.
The Sudanese “Nayzak” surface-to-air missile launcher is based on the Chinese FN-6. FN-6 is a 3rd Generation passive infrared homing MANPAD. Range is 6km lateral and 3.8km altitude. FN-6 is designed to have a high resistance to countermeasures such as flares, so the Nayzak should have the same characteristics. This is a cooled IR system.
The Egyptian company Helwan has also been manufacturing the MK19 Mod 3 40x53mm grenade launcher, as well as the ammunition for it. This was the first show at which SADJ had seen the Helwan gun; normally the Egyptians make them for their own army, not export. The complexity of manufacturing the receiver, combined with the mass of the bolt and heat treatment issues, complicate manufacturing, as many groups have found. The Helwan MK19 presented at the show appeared well made.
Empty Shell LLC from the US presented their 5.56x45mm Minigun variant with a UAE Partner. Rumors that they had orders for 500 guns floated through the show; unfortunately, we were unable to speak with a company representative. The “Microgun” is intended to be fired from a hand held position as well as from a mount.
KBP Instrument Design Bureau from Tula had a discreet display on an interior back wall, which included their 9x39mm offerings—the integrally suppressed VSS sniper rifles in various camo patterns, the VIKHR SMG, 40mm launchers, and up in the left corner, the OTs-38 captive piston revolver.
KBP’s VKS Sniper Rifle is integrally suppressed and in the 12.7x55mm caliber—much like the old .50 caliber Whisper from JD Jones but entirely engineered in the Russian factory. The bullpup configuration and 5-round magazine make for a compact package, and at 6.5kg, it is very accurate out to 600 meters.