AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah, the Supreme Commander of the Jordan Armed Forces (JAF), on Tuesday inaugurated the ninth Special Operations Forces Exhibition (SOFEX) 2012.

The exhibition brings together 321 world-renowned exhibitors in the fields of defence, homeland security and counterterrorism.

After the opening ceremony, King Abdullah toured the pavilions of the exhibition, which showcase security equipment and technologies. The expo is held at the King Abdullah I Air Base in Marka.

SOFEX, which was opened in the presence of several Royal family members, high-ranking officials and officers from the Kingdom and across the world, hosts more than 70 official delegations from 33 countries.

In a speech at the opening, SOFEX Managing Director Amer Tabbaa stressed the key role special operations play in protecting citizens of every nation and safeguarding growth and prosperity.

SOFEX, he said, is a meeting place where the world’s experts and developers from the global defence industry meet with governmental decision makers from across the world to gain insight on the latest technologies.

At the exhibition, the King observed military drills and parades.

Participants in the exhibition labelled their participation as “vital” and that the expo provides them with a “golden opportunity” to network.

“The expo helps us communicate with others in the industry and assess the needs in the Middle East markets in terms of defence equipment,” John Lee, director of marketing communications at Power Wave technologies, told The Jordan Times on Tuesday.

Eduardo Pezzoul, international sales manager at FORJAS TAURUS S.A, echoed Lee’s remarks.

“SOFEX is a great opportunity for us. It is a gateway into the regional markets,” he said.

“By taking part in the exhibition, we have a great opportunity to meet with decision makers in the region and to build partnerships. We had a good number of visitors to our pavilion today, which is the first day of the expo,” he added.

Also on Tuesday, Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh visited the exhibition, where he also checked on the King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) pavilion, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

On the sidelines of the first day of SOFEX, KADDB launched the first prototype of the Light Tactical 4x4 All-Terrain Vehicle, which is exclusively designed to meet the defence needs of the JAF, according to a statement from the bureau.

Established in 1999 by Royal Decree, KADDB is an independent government entity within the JAF that supplies efficient and cost-effective scientific and technical research and development services in defence, security and automotive industries, according to the statement.