THE WATCH STAFF
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador inaugurated the 2021 Feria Aerospacial Mexico (FAMEX) at the new Felipe Angeles International Airport with a speech that embraced modernization.
“This fair is an example that … Mexico will continue to prosper, our country will continue to modernize,” Lopez Obrador said in his address at the aerospace fair, according to the Spanish EFE news agency.
The United States was the guest country of honor at FAMEX, which was held September 22-25 in Santa Lucía. The airport, which is about 30 miles north of Mexico City, will serve the sprawling metropolis and is scheduled to be completed in 2022. It is being built on Mexico’s Military Air Base No. 1.
“Our invitation as the guest country of honor is a testament to the enduring friendship and partnership between our two countries,” U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar said on social media. (Pictured: U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar, right, greets U.S. Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, second from left, at FAMEX.)
FAMEX, which began in 2015 and is held every two years, is organized by Mexico’s Ministry of National Defense (SEDENA) through the Mexican Air Force, Mexican government and private sector. It promotes the country’s aerospace industry — FAMEX says it is the sixth-largest provider to the United States — as well as civil and military aviation, technology and defense products.
The Mexican Aerospace Industry Federation projects that by 2025 the industry will be the 10th largest globally.
Mexico is also a critical U.S. partner in the defense of North America, and the leaders of U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) were on hand for the ceremonies. U.S. Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of USNORTHCOM and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), was accompanied by Navy Rear Adm. Dan Cheever and Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. James K. Porterfield.
“The U.S. and Mexico share a close partnership that ensures we’re able to stand together and build upon our existing security cooperation efforts,” VanHerck said during a July 2021 meeting with the Mexican secretariats of National Defense and Navy in Mexico City.
The U.S. has a vibrant defense relationship with Mexico that is codified in a common strategic vision called the Bilateral Military Cooperation Roundtable.
A KC-135 from the 916th Air Refueling Wing and a C-17 from 452nd Air Mobility Wing were on display at FAMEX, with the air crews answering guests’ questions and giving tours of the planes.
As part of FAMEX, SEDENA hosted a Summit of Women Leaders in Aerospace Society and Industry. U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson, incoming commander of U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), inaugurated the conference for female leaders from Argentina, Mexico and the U.S. SEDENA was represented by its highest-ranking female officer, Brig. Gen. Maricela Macedo Flores.
The leaders shared their career experiences and spoke about the importance of diversity, inclusion and human rights. Other participants and speakers included U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Susan Henderson, commander of the 377 Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Air Force Maj. Christy Wise, Dr. Fabiana Sofia Perera of the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, and Mexican Supreme Court Judge Yasmin Esquivel Mossa.
IMAGE CREDIT: U.S. NORTHERN COMMAND