Let's talk defence

DSEI 2013 enjoyed the strongest ever attendance from UK ministers and the MOD, with the Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, providing a keynote address.

An impressive 32,169 visitors attended Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2013, a rise of 13 per cent on the previous record in 2011. The exhibition featured 1,489 exhibitors, representing 54 countries, and included 40 international pavilions. 97 official delegations from 56 countries attended, marking a 30 per cent increase on DSEI 2011, while the number of additional VIPs who attended increased by 20 per cent to 1,034.

The event enjoyed the strongest ever attendance from UK ministers and the MOD. Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, provided a keynote address on the show’s opening day which highlighted DSEI’s importance as a showcase for the defence industry:

“This exhibition is an excellent example of the opportunities that we can create when government and industry work together, hand-in-hand, with a shared objective.”

He explained that while Defence Reform is ongoing to make a smaller, more efficient MOD, these plans are echoed in what is now expected of industry: “By making MOD a more intelligent customer, we’re putting the emphasis on industry to make itself more efficient, to reduce its overheads, to streamline processes, to invest in the latest equipment facilities. That, I know, will not be a pain-free challenge.”

Signing of the Corporate Covenant
On the penultimate day of DSEI, four defence companies – BAE Systems, ISS Facility Services, BMT Group and General Dynamics UK – signed the Corporate Covenant, which was launched earlier this year. It is a written and publicised voluntary pledge from businesses and charitable organisations who wish to demonstrate their concrete support for the Armed Forces community.

All corporate covenants include a core statement of commitment that those adopting the scheme sign up to. This covers the two key principles of the armed forces covenant, which are:

that no member of the Armed Forces community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen, and that in some circumstances special treatment may be appropriate, especially for the injured or bereaved.

Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Mark Francois said: “Our Armed Forces and their families give everything to our country so I am delighted that BAE Systems, ISS UK, BMT Group and General Dynamics are signing a corporate covenant.

“I would encourage other organisations and charities from across the country to get behind the corporate covenant and do their bit to support the Armed Forces in any way they can.”

As part of their corporate covenant commitments, BAE Systems will work with Recovery Career Services and the Career Transition Partnership to support employment of Service leavers, and ISS Facility Services will offer internships to members of the Armed Forces.

John Whelan, UK HR Director at BAE Systems, said: “BAE Systems is proud to be one of the first signatories to this corporate version of the armed forces covenant. Our company is committed to supporting the men and women of the Armed Forces and we see resettling ex‑military personnel as an important part of our resourcing strategy for future military projects.

High profile atendees
Other ministers who attended included: the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne; the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Andrew Robathan; the Minister for International Security Strategy, Andrew Murrison; the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint; and the Lords’ Spokesperson for Defence, Lord Astor of Hever. Michael Moore and David Jones, the respective Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales, also attended.

The MOD also fielded a strong team, epitomised by the attendance of the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Houghton and Chief of Defence Materiel, Bernard Gray.

DSEI’s expanded seminar programme included significant contributions from an enviable roll-call of senior military personnel such as: the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas; the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford; the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Peter Wall; and the Chief of Materiel (Land), Lt General Chris Deverell.

The calibre of international stakeholders was also high: DSEI welcomed guests from new and traditional markets including high‑calibre representatives from the Middle East, India, South America, South and Far East Asia, Australasia, United States and Europe.

International Pavilions
Nations making their debut among the record 40 international pavilions included Japan and South Korea, clear evidence of the importance that these key emerging players place on DSEI. India, a previous exhibitor, increased its presence significantly, mounting both public and private sector pavilions.

Other newcomers include Chile, which joined Brazil in representing Latin American growth markets, while the UAE was among the list of Middle Eastern nations at the event.

Six zones of exhibitiors
In total, DSEI 2013 enjoyed a strong exhibitor presence across each of its six dedicated zones: Land, Air, Naval, Security & Special Forces, Medical & Disaster Relief and the award winning Unmanned Systems Showcase.

Visitors to the Land Zone witnessed Nexter Systems unveiling the Titus armoured vehicle, while Finnish company, Patria introduced its Next Generation Armoured Wheeled Vehicle concept. Air Zone highlights included daily briefings from the RAF presentation team, fixed-wing static displays such as the Eurofighter Typhoon and Spitfire, as well as rotary static displays including the Merlin Mk II and Wildcat.

Demonstrating its strength as the fourth pillar of DSEI, the Security & Special Forces Zone was expanded fivefold on its 2011 footprint to accommodate 70 exhibitors, while the Medical & Disaster Relief Zone showcased products from a wide range of first-time exhibitors such as Lifesaver Systems, Prometheus Medical and Safe Patient Systems.

The Naval Zone
The vessels docked alongside the ExCeL arena formed a significant element of the strongest maritime proposition the event has ever offered.

This included two vessels from the Republic of Korea, marking the first time that the Korean Navy has visited London since the 1960s.

The impressive roster of vessels also included: the German Braunschweig Class Corvette, FGS Magdeburg; the Dutch Holland Class Corvette, HNMLS Groningen; HSwMS Vinga and Ulvon – two Swedish MCMVs which have been very recently updated.

Meanwhile the Royal Navy despatched a Type 23 Frigate and a River Class OPV.

In order for visitors to get the most out of this unique fleet, specially conducted tours, organised through the show’s Ships Visits E

Bureau, were staged, offering arranged government, military and industry representatives a valuable opportunity to view the latest developments in naval ship design and equipment.

The international nature of DSEI’s naval proposition was also evident from the breadth of nationalities to be found in the shipyards exhibiting this year. For the first time the likes of Cammell Laird, Lurssen, ThyssenKrupp, Damen, Daewoo and Hyundai Heavy Industries were present, in addition to Asmar, Mazagon Dock, Babcock and BAE among others. An enlarged US Maritime Pavilion also featured, in conjunction with an inclusive showcase of prime contractors and niche suppliers displaying the latest technological developments.

The event also offered an extended programme of live waterborne demonstrations to demonstrate the cutting-edge maritime equipment on display. The programme included the first public demonstrations of several RIBs, Force Protection Craft, Blue Force Tracking systems and unmanned MCM surface and subsurface vessels.

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