Protec, the event production company, engaged for the third consecutive time, has delivered the opening ceremony production for IDEX (International Defence Exhibition and Conference) in Abu Dhabi.

The show had a mix of local heritage performances, local and international military parades and the main part of the show which was a battle enactment of a fictitious scenario where an elite military group representing the Land Forces, Special Forces, Navy and Air Force liberate ”a war torn nation in the mountains” from militia control. The enactment featured air drops, low passing jet fly-bys, helicopters and naval support, firefights, fast moving pursuits involving tanks and armoured vehicles in challenging surroundings, a fully working and custom built train and submarine as well as full movie grade special effects (including high grade vehicle hits, land fireballs and debris explosions, rock falls, bullet hits, water explosions, etc), culminating in the “successful liberation of the mountain village”. The show ran for five days and Protec delivered the dedicated staging set.

This year’s live military demonstration attended by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai; His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces; crown princes of all the emirates; defence ministers and senior military officers from 57 nations, head of delegates and other senior officials, comprised of a breath-taking, all-action display that highlighted the capabilities of many divisions of the UAE Armed Forces.

IDEX, the main event organiser in conjunction with ADNEC and the UAE Armed Forces, used Protec to design, produce, direct and build the entire temporary venue for a show that was complicated and challenging.

Eddie Andradé, the show’s creative director, explains: “This show involves jets and helicopter fly pasts that have to be timed to the precise second to match up with the action sequences on the staging area performed by armoured vehicles, infantry, special effects that include large pyro explosions on land and on the mountains, water explosions, vehicle explosions, etc.” He continues, “This involves intense coordination between the show caller, stunt director and choreographer, special effects crew, stage managers, video, audio, cameras, the Navy, the Land Forces, the pilots, the Airport, the air bases, air traffic control, road traffic control, the police and civil defence.”

Protec’s founder and CEO, Stephen Lakin, was in charge of building the entire scenic set. He commented: “Under the temporary venue that Protec built, were the exhibition centre’s utilities and drainage systems which had to be protected by the weight of the military vehicles some which weighed in excess of 60 tons. Therefore it had to be built up to one metre above the existing surface, graded up with sand, road base and tarmac/asphalt.”