Their Majesties open BRIDEX
By Sonia K. & Farah Ahmadnawi

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, Minister of Defence and Supreme Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF), and His Majesty King Abdullah II, King of Hashmite Kingdom of Jordan yesterday morning consented to officiate the opening of the Second Brunei Darussalam International Defence Exhibition and Conference (BRIDEX) 2009 in Jerudong.

Accompanying Their Majesties to the event were HRH Prince General Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, HRH Prince 'Abdul 'Azim, HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik and HRH Prince 'Abdul Mateen.

Upon arrival at the Bridex Centre's Dome, Their Majesties were greeted by Deputy Minister of Defence, Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Paduka Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar; Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Md Yussof; Dato Paduka Haji Abd Majid bin Haji Mangarshah, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, deputy permanent secretaries and invited international delegates.

On entering the BRIDEX Centre's Dome, Their Majesties were respectively introduced to the invited international delegates. This was followed by the building officiating ceremony with Their Majesties signing the signature tablets. They later viewed a short video clip showcasing the facilities of the new BRIDEX centre.

Their Majesties then went to the first level of the Dome and officiated the exhibition with the scanning of their palms on the workstation console, activating the visual displays on the workstation. Their Majesties then viewed the aircraft manoeuvre demonstration by the Republic of Singapore Air Force with its F-16 fighter aircraft, also known as the fighting falcon, and air displays by Bell 412 and Sukhoi SU-30 MKM strike fighter aircraft from the Royal Malaysian Air Force.

Later, Their Majesties proceeded to the Viewing Gallery to have a closer look at the sea and land-based demonstrations including FNSS Savunma Sistemleri AS, Turkey, ACV-300 IFV and Renault Trucks Defence, Sherpa 3. The maritime capabilities encompass North Sea Boats, Surabaya Indonesia (LS&A of Brunei) Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) and in the backdrop were Republic of Singapore Navy, Endurance; United States Navy USS Russell (DDG-59); French Navy, FNS Somme (A629); People's Liberation Army-Navy, China, Guangzhou; and Indian Navy, INS Khuri (P49).

After the demonstration, Their Majesties visited the West Wing and East Wing Exhibition Halls.

At the West Wing Exhibition Hall, they had the opportunity to visit booths of exhibiting companies from countries like Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Pakistan, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States.

There are over 250 exhibiting companies from 25 participating countries taking part in the exhibition, with 300 VIP delegates representing 40 countries, covering 7,000 square metres compared to 2007, when there were 108 exhibitors from 10 participating countries with only 60 delegates representing 17 countries under a total area of 2400 square metres.

Bridex is expecting 320 companies to participate for the next event scheduled to be held in 2011 with 500 delegates representing 60 countries in an estimated area of 9,000 squares metres.

The East Wing Exhibition Hall also came under the view of Their Majesties. There, exhibitors displaying their booths include countries like Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, Sweden and Thailand. At this exhibition hall, Their Majesties also visited the exhibitors' booths from Jordan that include companies like KADDB, CLS JORDAN, JMSS, JARS, NP Aerospace, JVLM and JORAMMO.

Prior to departure, Their Majesties attended a luncheon at the Conference Hall and later signed the royal parchment.

Today there will be another aircraft demonstration featuring the F-16, CH-47 Chinook from Singapore Air Force and SU30 MKM-SUKHOI from Royal Malaysian Air Force. The demonstration will be ongoing from today until August 15. The exhibition will be open to the public from Friday. . - Borneo Bulletin (12th August 2009)