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29 May 23. Telford welcomes the UK’s first specialist defence and security conference. Telford International Centre (TIC) is set to host the UK’s first Specialist Defence and Security Convention (SDSC-UK) on 1 & 2 November 2023. SDSC-UK is the next stage in the evolution of the Three Counties Defence and Security Expo (3CDSE), changing name and location to reflect the growing national and international reach of the event.
Last year’s 3CDSE proved to be the most successful yet, with over 130 exhibitors and 20 industry-leading speakers from organisations such as Strategic Command (UK StratCom) and US Development Command (US DEVCOM). As footfall at the 2022 event entered the thousands and its attendees proved to be increasingly national and international, the need to meet demand for a national event became apparent. With over 15,000 m2 of exhibition space, excellent transport links and accommodation on site, the TIC offers the perfect location from which to host the enhanced event.
Visitors to SDSC-UK will receive special access to government decision makers, with the UK Ministry of Defence and an increasing number of teams from US Department of Defense continuing their support. New for this year, US DEVCOM will be holding dedicated ‘Pitch & Present’ sessions for selected organisations, with pre-event applications invited from exhibitors. Visitors can also meet industry experts and enjoy early sight of the latest technological innovations, focused on specialist defence and security requirements.
Richard Morgan, President of SDSC-UK, said: “SDSC-UK is the UK’s first national specialist defence and security event for innovation and technology. SDSC-UK (formerly 3CDSE) is the showcase event for the Three Counties Regional Defence & Security Cluster (3CRDSC), a membership group that was first established by law firm HCRlaw in 2014. Our continued aim is to provide the industry with unrivalled access to key stakeholders and valuable insights on specialist defence and security requirements and commercial opportunities.
“For the past five years we have proudly provided a forum for members of the defence and security community to come together and share knowledge that is so vital to the defence of this country. We couldn’t be more pleased to extend the reach of this forum, ensuring every region- not just the three counties of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire-benefits.”
Speaking at the 3CDSE in 2022, General Jim Roddis, Commander of Strategic Command, said: “This event demonstrates the power of the human dynamic and getting like-minded individuals together to work through common problems. It’s also a good opportunity to meet with industry partners and see some of the amazing and novel technological solutions that people are now offering to support UK national security and defence.”
30 May 23. Organisers busy with Africa Aerospace and Defence 2024 preparations and Defence (AAD) exhibition are gearing up for the September 2024 event. The Armaments Corporation of South Africa (Armscor), as a lead partner, the Department of Defence and Military Veterans (DOD), the South African Aerospace Maritime and Defence Industries Association (AMD) and the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA) gathered at the Gerotek testing facilities outside Pretoria this month to map a way forward.
In a statement following the plenary session at Gerotek on 17 May, the organisers said the AAD 2024 show, set down for 18 to 22 September next year, is set to be bigger and better. “The organising team is eager to surpass the 2022 statistics wherein 203 exhibitors participated, 24 countries exhibited, and 23 043 trade visitors attended from over 76 countries.”
Nakedi Phasha, Marketing and Communication Manager and Acting Exhibition Director, said AAD continues to provide a unique platform to key players in the defence industry to showcase their capabilities to visitors from across the globe. “The biennial exhibition has established itself as a premier defence show that unlocks the country’s economic potential.”
The City of Tshwane is once again the host partner for the exhibition at Air Force Base Waterkloof, which will see energy and space innovation hubs at the 2024 expo.
The organisers describe AAD as the largest biennial defence and aerospace exhibition in Africa. Registration dates for exhibitors and sponsors who are keen to be part of the event will be announced soon.
AAD 2022 saw a drop in numbers compared to the last edition in 2018, largely as a result of the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic that cancelled the 2020 edition. Last year, 203 exhibitors from 24 countries attended the show, down from 486 exhibitors from 40 countries in 2018 and 532 exhibitors from 34 countries in 2016.
There were nine national pavilions in 2022, including China, the USA, Turkey (with two pavilions), Italy, Belgium, and India. This compares to 15 national pavilions in 2018.
African countries were again relatively well represented in the exhibitors’ list, with Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Uganda, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) amongst the 24 countries exhibiting – there were seven African countries that exhibited at the 2018 edition.
Delegations were down slightly, to 51 from 29 countries in 2022, compared to 62 official delegations in 2018. During 2018, over 300 members of the local and international media attended the event to provide coverage, while AAD 2022 attracted 176 accredited local and international members of the media.
Trade visitors in 2022 amounted to 23 000 people from 76 countries, versus 32 538 in 2018 (112 countries) and 33 862 in 2016 (105 countries).
The public days were well attended, with 51 228 general public visitors coming for the air show on the weekend days of 24 and 25 September 2022 – down only slightly from the 55 063 air show visitors in 2018.
AAD 2024 will follow the same pattern as previous events, with three trade days and two air show days along with a static aircraft park, mobility demonstrations for land and air technologies, and conferences and seminars.
While AAD 2022 was smaller than previous editions and did not have as many large foreign defence companies or much of a commercial aviation presence, most feedback was fairly positive, except for concern over the declining local defence budget that is forcing local companies to rely on exports for survival.
With conflict in Ukraine and defence spending on the increase, the 2024 edition will probably see significant growth. Earlier this year, for example, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) revealed that sales of arms and military services by the 100 largest companies in the industry reached $592 bn in 2021, a 1.9% increase compared with 2020 in real terms. It was the seventh consecutive year of rising global arms sales.
SIPRI also revealed that global military expenditure continued to increase last year, remaining well over the $2 trillion mark. Total global military expenditure increased by 3.7% in real terms in 2022, to reach a new high of $2 240 bn. Military expenditure in Europe saw its steepest year-on-year increase (13%) in at least 30 years and was largely accounted for by Russian and Ukrainian spending. Military aid to Ukraine and concerns about a heightened threat from Russia strongly influenced many other states’ spending decisions, as did tensions in East Asia.
24 May 23. LIMA expo opens with exhibitors looking to surge in regional naval requirements. Malaysian Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan opened the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2023 (LIMA 23) on Tuesday. The event is being held for the first time in four years, due to delays caused by the COVID pandemic.
During a press briefing on Monday, this author asked the Defence Minister if acquiring joint operating capability for the Malaysian defence forces was an issue that his Defence Ministry was addressing. He replied saying that exercises conducted through the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) – between the UK, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand – were helping his department to identify what was needed in terms of priority.
Exhibitors and attendees alike were talking of a regional intent for a variety of nations to build-up national maritime capability and modernise existing fleets, including Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
Malaysia is generally in the process of modernising its forces and although jointly sponsored by the Ministries of Transport and Defence, the majority of the exhibiting companies were from the defence industry, particularly the maritime sector.
Exhibitors here included Fincantieri announcing its FCX30 series corvette into the Asian region. The FCX30 will be available in three configurations: baseline, multi-purpose and full configuration. It has been built for lean crew operation, although the technology will ultimately be under the control of mission specialists, and to have modularity so that it can be upgraded and modernised when required.
One of Leonardo’s main themes during the show was to explain the utility of its modular fully integrated combat systems that can be installed in its Multi-purpose Offshore Patrol Vessel (PPA).
The Italian Navy’s Francesco Morosini is one of the naval vessels attending LIMA 23, being berthed at the maritime site not for from the main LIMA expo site at the airport. The Francesco Morosini is designed for dual-use missions and is equipped with several latest-generation Leonardo systems, including the ATHENA MK2, a new generation two-man naval cockpit, as well as a new electro-optical DSS-IRST (Distributed Static Staring-InfraRed Search and Tracking System), which is designed to help protect the vessel from multiple littoral and Blue Water threats.
Marco Melani, vice president Electronics Marketing and Sales Far East, said that the composition of Leonardo (through a variety of acquisitions over the years) is in a prime position to offer both sensors and weapons systems, managed by a combat management system. “Any customer can rely on one single supplier for a complete combat system,” he said. Commenting on the company’s presence at LIMA, he said that the region “is rich in opportunities” for companies offering products in the maritime sector.
LIMA is being held from Tuesday 23 to Friday 26 on the island of Langkawi, Malaysia. (Source: AMR)
25 May 23. MHI of Japan promotes warships in LIMA 2023. It has been nearly ten years since Tokyo loosened regulations regarding the export of military equipment, and one of the foremost companies from Japan actively promoting its wares is Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI).
In April, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) dispatched its 30FFM-class frigate JS Kumano overseas for the first time, and one stop on its itinerary was LIMA 2023. MHI was contracted by the Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) to design and build these 3,900-tonne frigates, although JS Kumano’s construction was actually subcontracted to Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding. The vessel was commissioned on 22 March 2022.
Confronted by recruitment issues amidst an ageing population, these 132.5 metre-long frigates manned by 90 crew represent a significant departure for the JMSDF from its usual destroyer platforms.
Asian Military Review spoke to JS Kumano’s commanding officer, Commander Sakurai Atushi, who said the warship was “operating normally and is fully mission capable without any problems”. He continued, “While the size of the ship is slightly smaller than a destroyer, the required crew number is greatly reduced owing to automated and integrated systems.”
Significantly, the 30FFM can both lay and hunt mines. To perform the latter task, each frigate is equipped with an OZZ-5 unmanned underwater vehicle from MHI, as well as an 11m-long unmanned surface vessel (USV) from Japan Marine United (JMU).
The USV is stowed in a stern multi-mission bay beneath the hangar deck, and it is automatically launched/recovered. JS Kumano was not carrying a USV during its deployment to Southeast Asia but, from 11-13 May, the first-of-class JS Mogami performed trials with its OZZ-5 and USV in Japanese waters.
Cdr Sakurai pointed out: “Because of its anti-mine warfare capability, with the same speed and armament as a destroyer, FFMs are more effective vessels in mine countermeasure operations during mobile operations such as amphibious landings.” An important feature of the 30FFM is an integrated mast called the UNIted COmbined Radio aNtenna (UNICORN).
Originally, the JMSDF planned to induct 22 frigates at a rate of two annually till 2032, but Asian Military Review understands this plan has been altered to include twelve 30FFMs before transitioning to a class of ten follow-on frigates. MHI and JMU are vying to design the follow-on frigates, with proposals due in by 31 August.
With ATLA’s blessing, MHI is promoting its warships to friendly navies in the Asian region at events such as LIMA, and the 30FFM platform and associated variants is the first serious Japanese contender for export. Relatedly, an offshore patrol vessel for coast guards – displacing around 2,400 tonnes and measuring 100m long – was also on display at the Langkawi exhibition.
One other type being promoted at LIMA 2023 was a 160m-long multirole support ship. It can carry 500 troops, two landing craft and two helicopters. Malaysia is obviously one target, as the Royal Malaysian Navy requires such vessels under its 15-to-5 plan. (Source: AMR)
25 May 23. LIMA 2023: HAL shows LUH with hint that international customers may join production line.
India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) brought an example of its Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) to LIMA 2023 in Langkawi, Malaysia, marking the first time that this particular helicopter type has travelled overseas.
A HAL representative told Asian Military Review that the original intention was to fly the 3-tonne-class LUH to Malaysia, but in the end it was carried by an Indian Air Force (IAF) C-17 due to logistic considerations.
The helicopter on static display is a limited series production example, one of 12 such LUHs being produced by 2024. The first was rolled out in February, and the Indian Army and Air Force will receive six each later this year.
Around 72 percent of the LUH’s components are sourced from India, and the helicopter is optimised for hot and high conditions. Indeed, in evaluations it landed at a helipad situated at an altitude of 22,000 feet (6,700 metres) in the Himalayas.
The HAL official said that ultimately the Indian military needs about 600 helicopters of this class, although orders are likely to top at around 400, to replace elderly and accident-prone platforms like the Chetak and Cheetah.
HAL said it is awaiting the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to work through the process of awarding a contract for series production examples of the LUH. HAL has built a 615-acre production facility in Tumakuru, approximately 62 miles (100 kilometres) from Bangalore, that will initially be able to build 30 LUHs annually, eventually ramping up to 60 aircraft per year.
While supplying the Indian military will be a priority for the LUH production line, HAL said that neighbouring countries and some in Southeast Asia are potential customers too. This explains why HAL brought an example to Malaysia so early on in its career.
As for the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), HAL has delivered 15 of these attack helicopters so far, of which five went to the Indian Army and ten to the IAF. They differ in communications equipment and camouflage schemes, with the IAF favouring black.
As with the LUH, HAL is awaiting a further series production order from the Indian MoD. This is expected to be up to 145 attack helicopters.
HAL has also delivered 78 Rudra light attack helicopters to the Indian Army and 18 to the IAF. The Rudra is based on the Advanced Light Helicopter, also known as the Dhruv.
In addition, HAL has the Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH) on the drawing board, but the representative said a prototype is still 3-4 years away. The IMRH will replace the ubiquitous Mi-17-family helicopters obtained from Russia.
HAL ambitiously hopes to build more than 1,000 helicopters over the coming two decades. The needs in India are tremendous, but so too are the delays. (Source: AMR)
25 May 23. LIMA 2023: Hyundai Heavy Industries keen to build on success in Southeast Asia. Building upon success elsewhere in Southeast Asia, at LIMA 2023 the South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) was exhibiting ship designs suitable for Malaysia. Among them were the HDL-10000 multirole support ship, HDC-2000 Littoral Mission Ship and a Multipurpose Mission Ship.
Jin-Woong Choi, senior sales manager, International Defense Program at HHI, explained that the HDC-2000 is based on the 107 metre long HDF-2600 frigate, two of which were built for the Philippine Navy, and commissioned in 2020 and 2021. Data displayed with a scale model listed a length of 92.4m and displacement of 2,000 tonnes for the HDC-2000.
Able to achieve a speed of 26 knots, the type is aimed directly at the Royal Malaysian Navy’s (RMN) requirement for Littoral Mission Ship Batch 2. The RMN purchased four vessels from China under Batch 1, but when a tender for Batch 2 is released, probably before year’s end, the RMN will be seeking larger and more capable vessels.
A scale model of the HDC-2000 showed it armed with a naval gun, a close-in weapon station and four anti-ship missiles. A stern flight deck exists for a helicopter, but no hangar.
Moving on, the HDL-10000 is a new vessel type for HHI, smaller than Dokdo-class amphibious vessels operated by the Republic of Korea Navy, but larger than the landing ship tanks used by the same navy.
Again, the HDL-10000 is targeting a Malaysian requirement for three such multirole support ships. The South Korean proposal has two helicopter landing spots on a stern flight deck, a hangar and a well deck that can accommodate up to two landing craft.
As for the Multipurpose Mission Ship, computer-generated imagery showed it in the markings of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), which acts as the nation’s coast guard.
The vessel carries up to six rigid-hulled inflatable boats – two launched from stern ramps, and two launched from each side of the hull amidships. A flight deck for a helicopter is present, but no hangar, and the design is quite stealthy.
Choi described the Philippines as a “VIP customer” for his company. After constructing two frigates for the Philippine Navy, HHI recently started construction of two corvettes, and it will commence building six Philippine offshore patrol vessels before the end of the year.
HHI is also discussing with Thailand its requirement for a second frigate, after Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering commissioned a first one in 2019. (Source: AMR)
DSEI 2023 – POWERING PROGRESS, DEFINING YOUR FUTURE
DSEI connects governments, national armed forces, industry thought leaders and the entire defence & security supply chain on a global scale. With a range of valuable opportunities for networking, a platform for business, access to relevant content & live-action demonstrations, the DSEI community can strengthen relationships, share knowledge and engage in the latest capabilities across the exhibition’s Aerospace, Land, Naval, Security & Joint Zones.