The Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) held in sunny Tampa, Florida truly wows its attendees every year.
But not all SOFIC events are created equal, and 2018 quite literally blew it out of the water. Here are three highlights from SOFIC 2018:
SOFIC 2018 Broke the Record
For starters, SOFIC 2018 saw a record number of attendees – more than 12,000 individuals from across the country and abroad showed up in Tampa for the annual event. We suspect this is partly because of the demonstration that only happens every other year (which we’ll get to later). Also, the large number of participants likely prompted the introduction of additional outdoor exhibit space to help with accommodations.
iDirect Government Boasted Three New Innovations
Speaking of exhibit space, let’s go inside the iDirect Government booth where three new innovative solutions were all the rage: Evolution 4.2, our ruggedized 9050 OM Satellite Router and the Tactical Removable Airborne Satellite Communications (TRASC) system, which made its debut this year at SOFIC.
Our latest and most powerful software release, Evolution 4.2, truly unleashes the full power of our 9-Series satellite routers, including our new ruggedized satellite router, the 9050 OM.
But the real power of our software can be found in our 9-Series airborne products like the 9800 AR – which has been integrated into the TRASC system, designed specifically for C-130 military aircraft – guaranteeing reliable, secure and fast data transmissions.
You can read more in-depth about each of these innovations in our press releases, found here.
Demonstrations Blew Expectations Out of the Water
Attendees most look forward to watching military demonstrations every other year at SOFIC, and this year was no exception. U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) and FBI personnel teamed up with others from Poland, Finland, Colombia, Hungary, Italy, Singapore and Romania to demonstrate how multinational SOF can work together to accomplish a single goal.
Their mission: Rescue a hostage (the mayor of Tampa) from pirates who captured a yacht in the harbor. Accomplishing this task was no easy feat, but with the right tools they were able to complete the mission.
Before they can do anything, the stage must be set. Maritime forces went to their key locations in a Combat Rudder Raiding Craft and MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter while a section of MH-6 Little Bird helicopters placed support-by-fire and sniper teams in their respective lookout locations. This enables the SOF to observe the pirates’ location without being seen.
Then, all at once, SOF assaulted pirates on the yacht from both sea and sky. One group of swimmers engaged enemy sentries by their terrorist camp at the village while the other group climbed aboard the yacht at the stern. Meanwhile, soldiers carefully yet quickly dropped down fast ropes onto the yacht deck from the MH-60 Black Hawk, and with the swimmers, they were able to overtake pirates on the ship and locate the hostage.
As naval teams navigated the yacht, ground assault forces patrolled a bridge and eliminated an enemy checkpoint at the Tampa Convention Center. While ground assault forces dealt with the enemy, another assault team completed an attack on the enemy camp in the village using two special operations crafts and rescued the hostage.
At the end of the demonstration when everyone was safe and threats neutralized, a military free-fall parachute team leapt from an MC-130 Combat Talon, fell 8,000 feet and landed safely in the waters below.
Ready for more excitement and innovations next year? Save the date –SOFIC 2019 will be May 20-23. Keep checking their website for updates, exhibits and more information. See you there!