Future Soldier Exhibition & Conference 2012
ABOVE: An interesting revolver grenade launcher RPG-40 in 40x46mm caliber came to Prague from Poland.
On October 17-19, 2012, the Future Soldier Exhibition & Conference (FSEC) took place at the Letňany exhibition centre in Prague. It is a specific international event consisting of a military fair, a meeting of the highest level representatives of military and armament staff, and a professional conference on a specific topic – this year it was “Future of Cyber.”
As can be seen on their website (www.natoexhibition.org), the history of today’s FSEC goes back to 1985 when it started under the name of The Combat Clothing & Personal Equipment exhibition. It took place in Prague for the first time in 2000; just one year after the Czech Republic joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Since 2008, the Czech Republic (and Prague) has been the only venue of this event. Its name was changed to Future Soldier (FS) the same year. In 2012, the name was extended to Future Soldier Exhibition & Conference. FS and FSEC are held every two years and in autumn 2012 this series of military fairs celebrated its 10th anniversary.
This was the first time this author had visited this exhibition. Until now, many colleagues had expressed that the Future Soldier fairs offered little to journalists focusing on small arms. Additionally, this event has never really been taken as a good starting point for the presentation of new products, especially in the small arms field, with one possible exception – in 2008 the Future Soldier exhibition was the first place where the public could see the new Czech CZ 805 assault rifle. This time, in the autumn of 2012, I was kindly invited by some friends from one of the Czech companies and was interested how the Army of the Czech Republic was going to present its new weaponry.
In short, for the small arms professionals and enthusiasts, FSEC is really no scoop. On the other hand, the 10th anniversary of this event offered several interesting exhibits that deserve to be mentioned. What follows is my selection of the highlights in the field of the small arms at the FSEC 2012.