Walking Around LAAD 2019 With a Camera

    When one walks around any large gun/defense/security exhibition, the variety of weaponry on display usually causes a mind-boggling effect, particularly when a camera is being carried by the person mentioned. You turn away from a particular stand or booth and have a glimpse of a gun-covered panel just past a massive APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) or radar antenna in the foreground. “Have I taken photos there?”, you may think. “Should I take pictures later or tomorrow?”. At night, when checking your camera card at the hotel, you start wondering “where the heck are the photos I’m sure I took of gun X in stand Y”?

    This, of course, happened to many visitors – the author included – of the LAAD 2019 Defence and Security fair that was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, early in April 2019. The following is just a quick, closing panorama of some of the hardware that TFB saw there.

    Okay, some heavier stuff here. Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) brought its T129 Atak advanced attack and tactical reconnaissance helicopter in service since 2014, a model developed and built in cooperation with Italy (it’s an Augusta A129 Mangusta lookalike). Shown is the chin-mounted M197 20x102mm three-barrel rotary cannon, with a 500-round capacity.

    Also from Turkey is the JMK Bora 12 (a.k.a. JNG-90), a bolt-action 7.62x51mm sniper rifle with a detachable 10-round box magazine, empty weight of 6.5 kg, overall length of 1220/1265 mm, and a barrel length of 660 mm. The manufacturer (MKE – Small Arms Weapon Factory) claims a 0.3 MOA accuracy at 100 meters.

    Singapore’s ST Kinetics keeps on showing its 9×19 mm Compact Personal Weapon (CPW), a gun that has been around since 2008, or so, but with no confirmed use by any military force or LE agency. Nor would manufacturer’s personnel at hand be very specific about the actual program status. The EOTech sight-fitted example on display had a very low (A00006) serial number. Brief specifications of the delayed blowback, selective-fire weapon: barrel length -180 mm; length (stock retracted/extended) – 393/597 mm; weight with a full 30-round magazine – 2 kg.

    Heckler & Koch’s 9×19 mm UMP-9 (Universal MaschinenPistole) is far from being a new gun, but the exhibition of a sound-suppressed example at a small Brazilian Navy booth in the LAAD 2019 grounds confirmed that the type has been in service alongside the long-used MP5SD SD6 by the crack Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais (Marine Corps) Tonelero Special Ops Battalion. It’s no secret, however, that the older, classic SD (“Schalldämpfer”, Sound Suppressor) is still the preferred subgun for the job. The UMP-9 is also in service with some Brazilian Army units. (https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/08/03/hk-ump-brazilian-spec-ops-training-rio-2016/)

    Although the standard Brazilian Marines rifle is the Colt M16A2, the Tonelero Battalion is equipped with the shorter, carbine versions, including the M4. The gun on top is Colt’s SCW (Sub Compact Weapon) with a Surefire M900V vertical foregrip/weapon light, an EOTech holographic sight, and a Maxim Defense retractable stock. The bottom one is a CQB (Close Quarters Battle) variant with the same M900V accessory, while fitted with a hybrid 4X Trijicon ACOG sight, and a Surefire SOCOM556 Mini-Monster sound suppressor.

    The IMBEL (Indústria de Material Bélico do Brasil) 5.56×45 mm IA2 selective-fire rifle is now in service in growing numbers with the Brazilian Army, being in the process of fully replacing the 7.62×51 mm FALs and Para-FALs of the same manufacturer. This example is fitted with a Knight’s M4QD (now, KDSS NT4) sound suppressor, a Mepro MX-T 3x magnifier (ready for a possible Meprolight red-dot/reflex sight ahead), and a SureFire KM3 tactical flashlight.

    IMBEL’s Fábrica de Itajubá (Itajubá Factory) seems to be trying to give its Mauser-action-based AGLC 7.62×51 mm sniper rifle, still in production, a new breath of life. The gun’s pretty conventional wooden stock has given place to a prototype polymer, fully adjustable stock, as seen in the photos. Current users’ inputs are being used in the design’s definition.

    SIG Sauer was present at the LAAD 2019 Show in full force with a particularly large stand where everything from its current line of pistols, submachine guns and rifles was displayed and eagerly manipulated by visitors. Shown here are examples of the MCX family of modular 5.56×45 mm rifles.

    Armalite was shown to have found new customers in the Bazilian LE community, as demonstrated by the sound-suppressed 5.56×45 mm M-15 (top photo) and the 7.62×51 mm AR-10 Super SASS recently added to the inventory of the nationwide FNSP – Força Nacional de Segurança Pública (National Public Security Force), headquartered in Brasilia, the country’s capital.

    Bulgaria’s Arsenal company, founded way back in 1878, displayed its current range of products, including (left-to-right, top-to-bottom) the 5.56×45 mm AR-M52TB and 7.62×39 mm AR-M5F41 AK-derived rifles, and the 40 mm UBGL-M8 (Under-Barrel) and SAGL (Stand-Alone) grenade launchers.

    INDUMIL – Industria Militar de Colombia is a long-established licensed manufacturer of 5.56×45 mm Galil AR, MAR, and SAR rifles (including blue lookalikes for training purposes) and, more recently, is offering the so-called Córdova-kit to add polymer components (upper receiver cover, handguard, redesigned pistol grip, vertical foregrip, and foldable stock) to the well-known guns.

    Ronaldo Olive

    Ronaldo is a long-time (starting in the 1960s) Brazilian writer on aviation, military, LE, and gun subjects, with articles published in local and international (UK, Switzerland, and U.S.) periodicals. His vast experience has made him a frequent guest lecturer and instructor in Brazil’s armed and police forces.