In an age of increasingly complex challenges and global uncertainty, military allies are now collaborating to protect mutual strategic interests and maintain robust defence and security capabilities.
Where traditionally Defence ministries would seek to support their requirements internally, they now look much further afield to encourage knowledge and skills transfer, and help grow their industry, economy and resources.
Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition is a key enabler for strategic cooperation among legitimate players on the global stage. Senior military representatives from countries such as Italy, Germany, Australia and Canada will join all four UK Service Chiefs in the seminar programme, providing an opportunity for visitors to learn directly from the world's leading powers. DSEI also expects to welcome some 2500 international delegations from traditional and emerging defence and security markets. This includes VIP representation from the Middle and Far East, where new opportunities are developing in maturing defence forces.
The DSEI exhibition floor will play host to over 40 international pavilions, each of which will provide a regional hub of defence and security ingenuity. Ranging from Australia to the United States, and Norway to the People's Republic of Korea, the DSEI pavilions are multiplying and expanding to reflect the growing global marketplace.
Several pavilions will feature for the first time, including: Bulgaria, Hungary, Malta, Slovakia, and Slovenia, while the UAE will return in force. Many other countries have increased their pavilions to accommodate more local industry and expertise. Poland has more than quadrupled its presence, with Austria and Italy nearly doubling in size, while the Czech Republic has grown by more than 50 per cent since DSEI 2015.
The Turkish pavilion at DSEI has seen significant growth and this year and is the largest Turkish pavilion to-date. This growth is in line with the continued development of the the Turkish defence industry, whose annual turnover topped $6 billion in 2016 with total annual exports of over $1.68 billion. The Turkish Under-secretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) reports that in 2016 over 500 companies added nearly 3000 military products to the Turkish defence industry portfolio.
The Finnish government has announced that it will boost its military strength by 20 per cent through increased troop numbers against a background of increasing regional tensions. Finland will also increase its annual military spending by €55 million (£47 million) over the next three years and by €150 million from 2021 onwards. The Finnish presence continues to increase at DSEI with a dedicated pavilion and 10 exhibiting companies, including Bittium Wireless, a secure communications provider who signed a EUR 30 million (US$35.1 million) Framework Agreement with the Finnish Defence Forces earlier this month.
The German pavilion will host over 30 companies – an indication of the renewed importance of defence spending and exports within the country. In concert with other NATO partners who are increasing their defence budgets, the German defence budget will rise by eight per cent this year, to EUR37 billion. The German defence industry will be promoting opportunities for increased collaboration. This follows on the heels of last month's announcement that they will be committing to joint manned and unmanned air platforms with France. France continues to have a strong presence at DSEI with over 24 companies in its national pavilion and ten individual companies have taken stands at this flagship event.
The UK pavilion, hosted by ADS, is the largest pavilion at the event. In addition, the Department for International Trade's Defence and Security Organisation (DIT DSO) Showcase will present current expeditionary and security capabilities with participation from 36 companies. It is divided into the following themed areas: Infantry Zone – Soldier equipment, weapons and fighting vehicles; Artillery Zone – Find, Fix, Strike assets; Communications & ISTAR Zone – Comms platforms, ECM systems and software; Engineering and Security Zone – C-IED, EOD, CBRN and security/force protection
Stephen Phipson Head of the Department of International Trade's Defence and Security Organisation said: "DSEI is one of the best global defence and security networking events and an important opportunity for UK companies to identify joint venture partnerships and industry collaboration. It is also an excellent opportunity for UK companies to profile innovative equipment in both sectors to delegations from across the world".