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DSEI 2019 – Expanding On 20 Years of Defence and Security Expertise By Howard Wheeldon, FRAeS, Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd.




Who would have suspected when the DSEI doors opened for the very first time at Chertsey back in 1999 that this great bi-annual event would evolve into the largest and most comprehensive defence and security exhibition in the world? Not that many I suspect but that is exactly what DSEI has achieved over 20 years and its first ten shows.

While the organisers of this very important event can certainly look back with great pride at what they have achieved over the past twenty years they are far from being complacent as they look toward the eleventh show which opens at the ExCel Centre in London in September 2019.

DSEI organisers recognise that past success has been achieved because they strive to provide what both exhibitors and visitors want and importantly, they have always recognised the continuing need to adapt in order to meet constantly changing defence and security needs.

DSEI was the result of the merging of two separate shows – the British Army Equipment Show and Royal Navy Equipment Exhibition that between 1976 and 1991 had been held on alternate years either in Aldershot and Portsmouth respectively. Formally known as Defence and Systems International and from 2009 as Defence & Security Equipment International, DSEI 2019 opens its doors this year at the ExCel Centre, London on Tuesday September 10th and runs until Friday September 13th.

The largest and undeniably today, most important combined defence and security show held anywhere in the world, DSEI which is held every two years provides excellent access for exhibitors and visitors and of course, the ability of the ExCel Centre alongside the Thames Estuary to accommodate ships from various Navy’s from across the world and for these to moor alongside.

As the world leading defence and security event, one that is designed to connect governments, delegations and senior members of armed forces who attend from all over with industry leaders, commentators, thought-leaders and members of the global defence & security supply chain, DSEI is unrivalled in terms of presence and scale.

Together with a large number of seminar events spread across five theatres that attract speakers from government, military chiefs and senior members of Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, and the Army, DSEI 2019 can be expected to continue enhancing the excellence achieved at the many previous DSEI events.

DSEI provides visitors and exhibitors alike with a wide range of valuable opportunities for networking, excellent platforms on which to do business, to explore new opportunities and ideas along with providing access to relevant aspects of defence and security through the many live-action demonstrations that take place throughout the four days of the show.

Those working within the DSEI community are able to demonstrate innovation, share knowledge and idea and both discover & experience the latest capabilities across the Aerospace, Land, Naval, Security & Joint Forces domains.

DSEI 2019 is expected to feature over 1,600 exhibitors, in excess of 40 international pavilions and expects to attract over 35,000 visitors from over 50 countries. As in previous years capability being demonstrated or shown is zoned in separate air, land, naval, security and joint forces domains

Supported by the Royal Air Force, the Aerospace Zone will feature products and services covering over 100 different categories including Fibre Optics, Flight Simulators, Head-up Displays, Helicopters, Missiles, Navigation Aids, Paints and Coatings, Stealth technology, Training, UAVs, Aircraft components, Airfields, Airframes, Artificial intelligence, Avionics, Composites and Electric motors – all within the interesting mix of fixed, rotary wing, and unmanned platforms.

Always expanding, the Aerospace Zone is once again planned to encompass an impressive array of static displays in order to compliment the large number of aerospace supply chain exhibitors. The Zone will also include newly formed Hubs that will be dedicated to Space and MRO&U (Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul and Upgrade) as well as the popular Air Seminar featuring high-level military and industry speakers, including most usually the Chief of the Air Staff.

In addition this year, a new MRO&U (Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul and Upgrade) Hub has been aimed to coincide with an increasing number of NATO nations now outsourcing their MRO&U requirements and upgrading service units to maximise defence budgets. The Space Hub, another new innovation for DSEI 2019, coincides with the announcement last year that the RAF will lead the UK’s primary military space capability requirements. The Hub has been design to be a world leading platform for what is now a fast growing and highly innovative planned UK space programme.

Supported as always by the British Army, the Land Zone provides visitors with the opportunity to see the latest developments and equipment innovation from a large and very diverse range of international exhibitors. The Zone has been planned to align business with the needs and requirements of the British Army and other international governments. My understanding is that the Land Zone will feature products and services from over 150 different categories including Armour Systems & Material, Armoured Vehicles, Artillery, Body Armour, Countermeasures, EOD, Counter-IED, IEDD, Bomb Disposal, Facilities Security, Firearms, Fuel Cells & Systems, Intelligence Gathering, Logistics & Integrated, Logistics Support, Reconnaissance Systems, Shelters, Unmanned Ground Vehicles and Weapons & Weapon Systems.

A key feature of DSEI for many years and supported as it is by the Royal Navy, the Naval Zone offers visitors a unique and interactive showcase not only of Royal Navy and visiting Navy vessels but across the maritime technology piece. As always, DSEI’s distinctive dockside setting delivers what can only be described as a dazzling showcase of maritime capabilities and international warships.

As if to back this up, suffice to say that the Naval Zone was one of DSEI 2017’s greatest strengths with no fewer than 16 nations represented and various ships moored alongside and opened up to visitors. The Zone provides visitors with unrivalled networking opportunities, insights from key decision makers and the opportunity to see the industry’s latest Navy vessels in action through interactive presentations and waterborne demonstrations.

Ships that will display alongside for DSEI 2019 are yet to be announced but products and services will include Amphibious Craft, Antenna, Mast & Towers, Anti-Submarine Warfare Capabilities, Countermeasures, Electronic Warfare, Engineering, Gas Turbines, Helicopters, Hovercraft, Life Rafts & Rescue Boats, Maintenance Repair & Overhaul, Maritime Security & Force Protection, Missiles, Navigation & Position Fixing, Patrol Craft, Propulsion Systems, Radar, Shipbuilding, Repair & Construction, Submarines & Submersibles, Torpedoes, Underwater Systems, Unmanned Underwater Vehicles and as mentioned above, Warships moored alongside. In addition, DSEI”s unique setting means it’s the only event of its kind to offer a daily waterborne demonstration programme gives maritime specialists an exceptional chance to operate their craft in live scenarios on the River Thames.

The Security Zone is a dedicated showcase of security equipment that is planned to feature products, services, technologies, strategies and systems used to counter priority threats such as cyber- attacks and terrorism in over 60 different categories. These include Ammunition, Anti-Terrorism, Armoured Vehicles, Artificial Intelligence, Biometrics, Body Armour, Communications, Contraband detection, Counter-Surveillance, Cyber Security, Data Management, Encryption, Firearms, Homeland Security, Identification, Intelligence Gathering, Night Vision, Police and Dual Use, Equipment, Reconnaissance Systems, Robotics and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, devices and systems.

With the increasing prevalence of cyber-security attacks we all recognise that the ability to counter such threats is of major importance. DSEI’s Cyber Hub will feature a range of exhibitors from the innovative, growing cyber security industry all of which is underpinned by world-leading scientific research and development.

Finally, what is called the Joint Zone will feature the latest products and innovations servicing the whole Defence and Security Community with 3 key hubs: Communication, Medical and Innovation.

DSEI 2017 had seen a very much enhanced Joint Zone complete with a plethora of products from exhibitors specialising within the following sectors: C4ISTAR, Communications, DIO, Electronic Warfare, Joint Enablers, Logistics, Medical, and Robotics & Telemedicine. Products and Services included here are C4ISTAR, Communications, Cyber, Defence Intelligence, EW, Information Systems, Joint enablers, Logistics, Medical, Robotics, Signals and intelligence and telemedicine

Within the Joint Zone the Communications Hub will showcase defence communication capabilities including: data analysis, measurement, sharing, simulation and system integration while the very popular and rewarding Medical Hub will feature simulations and defence medical research across interactive stands and an award-winning demonstration area. The Innovation Hub emerging technologies ready to serve the defence and security community. This is the place to spot big exhibitors of the future.

Speaking about DSEI, General Sir Chris Deverell Commander Joint Forces said recently that:

DSEI is an excellent opportunity for Joint Forces Command (JFC) to showcase its guiding principles of using innovation, integration and information to secure advantage for the Joint Force.  The event provided JFC, in its role as the ‘Information Command’, with a well-organized forum that enabled us to speak directly to the industry partners who can deliver the technology that JFC needs to make its Miltech innovation vision a reality.  The DSEI team also helped us to organize some excellent ‘Space’ and ‘Cyber’ themed events which brought together a range of UK specialists, academics, overseas counterparts and industry.  These events proved to be an ideal platform to explore some challenging issues in new and interesting ways.  We look forward to a similarly positive experience at the next event”.

CHW (London – 6th February 2019)

Howard Wheeldon FRAeS

Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd,

M: +44 7710 779785

Skype: chwheeldon



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