seduction operation thanks to high technologies – À l’Avant-Garde Latest

seduction operation thanks to high technologies – À l’Avant-Garde
Navy TECHNOfest is a way for the Navy to attract technical talent (photo credit Nicolas Vanden Bossche/A l’Avant-Garde)

NAVY TECHNOFest 2023: seduction operation thanks to high technologies.

From September 28 to October 1, the Zeebrugge naval base was hosted by the fourth edition of the “Navy TECHNOfest”. For the occasion, around sixty stands, spread across nine “villages”, allowed visitors to carry out various activities linked to high technologies associated with the Navy. In addition, the mine hunters Lobelia and Bellis, the patrol boat Castor as well as the Sirius, a hydrographic vessel of theMaritime Services Agency (Maritime Services Agency) were opened to the public. And for those who wanted to visit the naval base from another angle, the military tug Zeemeeuw allowed boarding to navigate the port.

Visitors were able to show the minehunters Lobelia and Bellis (photo credit Nicolas Vanden Bossche/A l’Avant-Garde)

Although the festival was family-oriented, young people were the event’s main target audience. The Navy wishes to present itself as an attractive employer, offering access to the highest technologies. The idea is to interest young people in Navy technologies, to encourage vocations for STEM professions (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) or even to encourage them to start a technical course or a career within the Navy. ‘army.

The patrol boat Castor also took part in the event (photo credit Nicolas Vanden Bossche/A l’Avant-Garde)

The festival began on Thursday, September 28, with the organization of a tournament for 320 secondary school students registered in the sector Defense and Security. Friday was dedicated to Captain’s of Industry Day, during which military officers, academics and business representatives were able to discuss with the aim of increasing their synergies. The multiplication of contacts between Defense and companies allows the latter to develop technologies that best meet the operational needs of the army. The initiative is established in a win-win dynamic, with Defense wanting better cooperation with companies with the aim of increasing the number of transfers from one to the other, so that the experience acquired in the private sector can enjoy and vice versa. Sunday also falls within the context of the 33th edition of the open day within companies organized by the Flemish business network, Voka.

The SKELDAR V-200 drone, which will equip the new mine hunters, was exhibited (photo credit Nicolas Vanden Bossche/A l’Avant-Garde)

Saturday and Sunday were open to the general public, attracting around 8,500 visitors spread over the two days. Laser game, virtual reality and drone races gave young people the opportunity to playfully approach certain technologies. Around fifteen stands were manned by Defense. On one of them, an Airsoft replica of a system Be deFNder, FN M2HB-QCB module (12.7x99mm), gave the curious the opportunity to shoot at a target housed in a container. More than thirty civilian companies were also there, including FN Herstal, Naval Group, Flanders Ship Repair and UMS SKELDAR which exhibited its drone SKELDAR V-200chosen to equip future Belgian-Dutch mine hunters.

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Although the scale of such an event disrupts its usual rhythm and requires a large mobilization, the site remained fully operational according to the commander of the Zeebrugge naval base, Peter Van Daele. In order to be able to fulfill its main missions, the institution must also be able to ensure its sustainability.

Thus, recruitment and limiting attrition – particularly in technical and technological professions – are among the main challenges for Defense. In 2024, 4,000 positions will be filled: 2,500 places for active military personnel, 1,050 for reservists and 450 for civilians. The political challenges remain numerous, in particular to remedy the cumbersome – potentially dissuasive – process of entering the public service or to compensate for the lack of salary competitiveness of technical professions within Defense compared to the remuneration offered in the private sector.

Before next year’s edition which will take place on October 5 and 6, 2024, the naval base will host NAVY Days from July 5 to 7, 2024.