24 Nov 20. DSEI 2021: Enthusiasm grows for the return of defence events. After a year of event cancellations, the defence industry is looking to Defence Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2021 for a return to form. Harry Lye spoke to the event’s organisers about the enthusiasm for next year’s show and an integrated relationship with the UK’s Armed Forces.
Following a year where Covid-19 brought the entire exhibitions sector to a halt, DSEI in 2021 will most likely be the first significant opportunity for the international defence community to get back under one roof and show off its latest systems, capabilities and ideas.
“While the trajectory of the pandemic is still not clear, what is evident is the enthusiasm and appetite in the defence community to come together again, and the DSEI team is doing all we can to facilitate that,” says DSEI Event Director Grant Burgham. “We have 78% of our exhibition floor space currently sold, and the majority of our biggest industry players are all confirmed. That’s a real show of loyalty from the industry and a testament of the value they see in DSEI.”
Whilst virtual events have seen the industry through most of this year, Burgham say she has seen a real ‘enthusiasm’ for the defence community to get back together in the real world.
With most of show’s floor space already sold, that enthusiasm to get back under one roof is evident. However, it isn’t just the usual DSEI crowd that’s eager to exhibit; so far around 68 first-time exhibitors have signed up for floor space in 2021, including Volvo Defense and Harland and Wolff.
On top of this, 60% of DSEI 2021’s international pavilions are already on contract, making clear that interest in getting back together is not exclusive to the UK.
Spotlight on integration
While the support from industry is clear, the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has also been eager to make its stamp on the show. The MOD is expected to publish, in the coming weeks, its Integrated Review into defence, security and foreign policy, which promises closer ties between the arms of state and the branches of the UK’s Armed Forces, and importantly a platform that DSEI will build on.
“To ensure UK defence is as joined up as it can be at DSEI, the MOD has – for the first time – put UK STATCOM in the lead and shaped the presence across all of the services on site,” says DSEI’s senior defence advisor, RAF Air Vice-Marshal (Retired) Gary Waterfall.
“If you go to the MOD’s multi-domain integration theme, and through the themes that are coming out from the integrated review, you can see the importance of this. It would be illogical if we got to the next DSEI, and the three services were pushing different messages, at different times, with UK STRATCOM also featuring separately.
“Under the leadership of defence, the MoD has brought this under one roof. They’re engaged and engaging, and very much they’re testing us, at Clarion, as to how we can support them and how we can give them the stage they need to show to the world where they sit in the integrated operating concept.”
This enthusiasm to use DSEI to showcase a new operating concept has been made clear in several MOD statements, including one from Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quinn, who said: “Once again, DSEI is showcasing the best of British defence technology and innovation on a world stage. Bringing together strategic partners, international governments and pioneering defence companies, this show offers a unique opportunity to collaborate, partner and cooperate to further our collective global defence and security agenda.”
The Commander of the UK’s Strategic Command General Sir Patrick Sanders echoed this, saying: “I look forward to seeing you at DSEI 2021 and updating you on our plans for implementing multi-domain integration, and how industries – from traditional defence primes to tech-start-ups – can play their part in the UK’s collective success alongside our partners and allies.
“It is hugely validating to have the support of UK Strategic Command behind DSEI 2021. We believe that DSEI offers the single most valuable opportunity in the biennial defence trade show calendar to connect UK companies and their international counterparts with each other and their end customers across the land, sea and air domains.”
This integration across the armed forces extends to other arms of government and industry as all look to next year’s DSEI as a means of forging ever-closer ties.
“As we look to the future, the British Army will be more expeditionary and more engaged for more of the time and our equipment needs to match the threats and exponential developments in technology,” said Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith. “The army’s relationship with industry will be vital to ensuring it has innovation at the heart of future capability and we will be actively seeking opportunities to develop defence’s relationship through the Army’s land industrial strategy.
Different look, same show
While the top-line figures of bookings show a trend of enthusiasm, Covid-19 has focused minds and intent for exhibitors and the event organisers.
Although measures may ease somewhat by September 2021, restrictions brought into place by the pandemic will likely affect the look and feel of the show. Whereas some stands in the past could have easily held almost a thousand people, distancing measures will reduce the number of people stands can accommodate.
This may be a downside in terms of exposure, but restrictions may also shift the priorities of attendees. Visitors are likely to come to the event with clear objectives and engagement in mind, rather than just to have a look around. This will allow companies to focus on getting their key message across to a highly focused and engaged audience.
Waterfall says the venue is well suited to putting on a safe show. “If needed, we can restrict people coming in and coming out. We’re very much able to step alongside whatever restrictions are in place,” he explains.
Under current restrictions, DSEI could hold a safe show and the organisers hope that by next September, the overall conditions may allow for an event more akin to past shows.
“The whole venue is 100,000 square meters, it’s a large footprint,” says Burgham. “We’ve already accommodated ‘watch zones’ for screenings of key speeches. Instead of having theatres that are secluded in terms of trying to fit 100 or 200 people in, we are looking at a more open-plan environment, and we have got the space to do it.”
Interest in the show and requests for more space by exhibitors such as the UK Armed Forces have also led to a need for increased VIP space. As we previously reported, the show’s aerospace presence is gearing up for a massive expansion to three times its previous size.
Whatever the restrictions, DSEI is working on delivering targeted engagement for the industry. “We also recognise that there may be some restrictions for our customers overseas, and we will also be able to accommodate some form of engagement or networking virtually,” Burgham concludes. (Source: army-technology.com)
24 Nov 20. IWA OutdoorClassics 2021 cancelled. To allow all participants to plan with certainty, NürnbergMesse has taken the decision to cancel the IWA OutdoorClassics 2021 well ahead of time. Rising infection rates, various quarantine rules and travel restrictions are simply making it impossible for exhibitors and visitors to make any firm plans. The next IWA OutdoorClassics will take place in Nuremberg from 3–6 March 2022.
“Over recent weeks we have received a lot of support and understanding from within the sector. The discussions we have had with our exhibitors have clearly shown that the IWA continues to be an essential part of the B2B community,” says Petra Wolf, from the NürnbergMesse Management Board. “Despite the challenging situation, more than 1,000 exhibitors had registered for the trade fair. It is therefore with even greater regret that we must now postpone this event till 2022. This commitment by exhibitors and their willingness to participate in the fair reinforce our conviction that the IWA still plays a significant role,” Wolf continues.
“Road to IWA 2022” in the pipeline
The IWA team is currently working on an interim programme. The kick-off event for the series of online and physical events and formats called “Road to IWA 2022” will take place on 12 March 2021, the first day of the planned IWA 2021. The selected date corresponds to the IWA Friday. “We want to offer the sector the opportunity to stay in contact during these turbulent times. We are therefore working hard to develop concepts to allow us to bridge the gap until the next face-to-face gathering. We will miss the direct contact, that much is certain. It is therefore even more important to stick together as a sector and support one another,” explains Rebecca Schönfelder, Exhibition Director IWA OutdoorClassics.
Institutional sponsors support decision
Klaus Gotzen, managing director of the JSM (German Firearms and Ammunition Manufacturers Association), says: “It is certainly true that the IWA is one of the most important occasions and industry gatherings in the year. But all of us need to prioritise our health. We very much regret the cancellation of the IWA because meeting our partners and members in person is so important to us. Nevertheless, we completely understand the decision by NürnbergMesse and are looking forward to the event in 2022.” The manufacturers’ association is one of the institutional sponsors of the IWA OutdoorClassics and currently serves 42 companies.
Ingo Meinhard, managing director of the VDB (Association of German Gunsmiths and Gun Traders), has a similar perspective: “As a leading trade fair, the IWA is a source of information for an entire sector, presenting trends and innovations to an appreciative audience. It’s where our members not only gain inspiration but also meet like-minded professionals. The cancellation of the event affects the entire industry, and we hope that this unusual situation will normalise soon.” The professional association, which is also a sponsor of the event, represents the interests of around 1,400 members.
Dates for IWA OutdoorClassics 2022 now finalised
The IWA OutdoorClassics 2022 will take place in Nuremberg from 3–6 March. However, the usual schedule has been brought forward by one day so that it will now run from Thursday to Sunday.
23 Nov 20. 29 Nov – 2 Dec 2021, Egypt Defence Expo (EDEX), Cairo, Egypt, cancelled. Originally scheduled for 7-10 Dec 2020. The second edition of EDEX was originally scheduled to take place in the period from 7th – 10th December 2020 at Egypt International Exhibition Centre and under the patronage of His Excellency, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, The President of The Arab Republic of Egypt and The Supreme Commander of the Egyptian Armed Forces. The exhibition was anticipating more than 400 exhibitors from around the world. (Source: Armada)
20 Nov 20. Unmanned systems, anti-drone tech featured at South Korean arms expo. Unmanned defense systems and advanced weapons to counter drone threats dominated an arms exhibition held outside of Seoul, South Korea, this week. During the biennial DX Korea event, which ran Nov. 18-20, local defense companies showcased their cutting-edge unmanned and counter-drone technologies.
Hanwha Corporation, a leading developer of guided-missile technology and subsidiary of Hanwha Group, displayed its new family of laser weapons systems. The company unveiled two types of anti-drone laser weapons: one for installation on light tactical vehicles, and the other a laser-based anti-aircraft weapon gun in a container configuration. The latter, designated as Block I, can be modified to a Block II self-propelled system, but specifications were not disclosed.
Hanwha Corporation is a partner in an anti-drone laser weapons development project led by the government’s Agency for Defense Development.
“The laser-based anti-aircraft weapon is a new concept of armament to shoot down small aerial targets, including drones and multi-copter with a light source laser,” the company said in a news release. “Prototypes of the laser weapon variants are under development jointly with the ADD.”
The company also displayed anti-jamming equipment that can be fitted in tactical guided missiles as well as on military vehicles and naval vessels.
Hanwha Systems — also an affiliate of Hanwha Group — displayed a mock-up of its personal air vehicle, Butterfly, under development with U.S. air taxi startup Overair. In partnership with Overair, Hanwha Systems plans to fully develop the electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing, or eVTOL, vehicle by 2040, with an eye toward military sales.
“With technologies to be accrued from the development of commercial eVTOL, we will push for developing a military variant capable of conducing multiple missions, including special operations, transport and assault,” the company said in a news release.
Meanwhile, Hyundai Rotem presented its HR-Sherpa unmanned ground vehicle designed to support infantry troops.
The six-wheel drive vehicle can move autonomously or via remote control to perform missions such as surveillance, medical support and chemical detection. It has a payload of 600 kilograms and a combat weight of 1,800 kilograms. It is equipped with airless tires and powered by a battery with an operating time of six hours when traveling at 5 kph.
LIG Nex1 showcased the third version of its Sea Sword unmanned surface vessel for riverside defense, following other naval variants.
The vessel adopts a high-speed monohull design and is constructed with fiber-reinforced plastic. Equipped with a diesel engine and a waterjet propulsion system, the boat can sail at a maximum speed of 40 knots and has an operational endurance of up to eight hours at 15 knots.
An indigenously developed autonomous navigation system enables the vessel to carry out surveillance and reconnaissance missions based on a preprogrammed route.
Hanwha group was ranked 32nd in Defense News’ list of the top 100 defense companies in the world. LIG Nex1 was ranked 68th, while Hyundai Rotem was ranked 95th. (Source: Defense News)