DSEI returns to London

DSEI 2017, the world’s leading defence and security event, takes place at the ExCeL exhibition centre in London on 12-15 September. Defence Online’s Matthew Brown takes a look at what will be on offer at the show.

Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) will be celebrating its tenth edition when it returns to ExCeL, London on 12-15 September 2017.

For businesses operating in defence it is the perfect occasion for networking, discovering new growth opportunities and unveiling new products, as well as learning about the defence supply chain from the vast array of experts in attendance.

The world-leading biennial defence and security event will play host to more than 1600 exhibitors from around the world, along with more than 34,000 global visitors including representatives from government and the military, academia and industry.

DSEI 2017 is set to be the most exciting iteration to date, with both the range of features and exhibitors increasing as well as a comprehensive DSEI Strategic Conferences and Seminar Programme.

Due to increased demand from visitors to hear from industry experts, the DSEI Strategic Conferences component is being expanded, with five conference streams being run the day before the main event kicks off.

Senior industry professionals as well as high-ranking military and government officials from across the globe will be providing their insight into the key questions, requirements and issues engaging the sector.

The conference streams will focus on policy, strategy, innovation and the implications of future equipment programmes on five main topics: Land Capability, Air Capability, Maritime Capability, The Future of Military Rotorcraft, and Trauma Innovation & Military Medicine.

In a first for the event, DSEI will be hosting Triple Serpent, the UK Surgeon General’s conference to which the Committee of the Chiefs of Military Medical Services in NATO are invited.

As you would expect at such a prestigious showcase, keynote speakers are drawn from senior military figures including Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier; General Sir Nick Carter, Chief of the General Staff; General Sir Chris Deverell, Commander, Joint Forces Command; and Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff.

Senior political representatives in the shape of Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, Defence Procurement Minister Harriett Baldwin, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and Security Minister Ben Wallace are also all set to deliver keynote addresses at DSEI.

The exhibition, meanwhile, will feature five themed Zones – Air, Land, Naval, Security and Joint – showcasing the huge and diverse range of exhibitors that DSEI is famed for, including BAE Systems, Land Rover, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Rolls-Royce and Thales.

Fully supported by the Royal Air Force and Joint Helicopter Command, the Air Zone will comprise fixed, rotary wing and unmanned platforms and include a capability area dedicated to the aerospace supply chain. A comprehensive seminar programme will also be held focusing on procurement, training, export maximisation and promoting opportunities for SMEs.

The Land Zone will contain a vast range of notable military vehicles as well as a brand-new feature, the Dismounted Soldier Showcase, which will allow a multitude of companies to display their current and future land capabilities.

With its unique dockside positioning, the always popular Naval Zone will allow visitors to see first-hand the industry’s latest vessels in action with interactive presentations, waterborne demonstrations and impressive displays of international warships.

One area of the defence industry that is currently experiencing strong growth is the cyber security market as electronic communications continues to define modern business practice and cloud computing continues to expand. As the risks increase so too does the demand for robust cyber protection.

The Security Zone at DSEI 2017 will see a record number of first-time exhibitors providing visitors with an opportunity to examine the latest security equipment and systems designed to counter priority threats such as cyber attacks and terrorism, as well as an enlarged special forces and tactical equipment area.

DCI will be showcasing here how suppliers within the defence sector can become Cyber Essentials certified and comply with the latest Ministry of Defence Cyber Security Models being implemented.

In another first for DSEI, the inaugural Joint Zone will incorporate a dedicated Innovation Hub enabling SMEs from a wide range of industries to demonstrate their emerging technologies.

This new feature is no doubt a result of the greater emphasis being placed by the MOD on exploiting the solutions and applications of highly skilled people from sectors outside the traditional defence sphere. These transferable skills and solutions can provide the defence and security industry with the agility it needs to help combat the rapidly changing and evolving threats faced in the modern world.

Last year saw the launch of the MOD’s Defence Innovation Initiative, which included the introduction of an £800 million Defence Innovation Fund to enable the delivery of pioneering new technology.

The initiative also saw the creation of the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) under Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) auspices to provide a bridge between government, industry and academia in an effort to discover and develop innovative solutions to the most pressing requirements.

The Accelerator will host a demonstration area in the Innovation Hub to showcase state-of-the-art equipment in three categories: Big Data, Immersive Training and Sensors.

The final day of DSEI 2017 will see the focus shift away from capability and procurement to concentrate on one of the defence and security sector’s key capabilities: People and Skills.

Key topics will tackle the industry’s personnel, skills and STEM development with a dedicated seminar programme to be held addressing opportunities, development, investment and integration within the sector.

With uncertainty over Brexit continuing to affect the defence industry, DSEI comes at an opportune time, providing those within the industry a stage on which to discuss how Britain’s exit from the European Union might shape the future of European security and defence policy.

There is also the sense that with Donald Trump’s presidency Europe may have to become less reliant on US help and be prepared to act with limited support.

Defence companies in Britain have benefited from the fall in value of the pound, which has stimulated demand for their wares within overseas markets. As Brexit negotiations become more advanced and market fluctuations continue, suppliers can exploit the benefits of procurement intelligence tools such as DCI – an ideal solution to accessing global defence contract opportunities.

There is certainly confidence within the UK defence industry, with BAE Systems’ recently released half-year results revealing an increase of £3.6 billion in orders to £10.7 billion, including the production of the initial batch of three Type 26 frigates.

BAE Systems Chief Executive Charles Woodburn said the results demonstrated a “sound platform for medium-term growth underpinned by a clear and consistent strategy”.

Elsewhere, Rolls-Royce has given post-Brexit Britain a vote of confidence by announcing its plans for a £150 million investment in new and existing civil aerospace facilities in the UK.

Against this backdrop Duncan Reid, DSEI Event Director, said that DSEI 2017 simply “cannot be missed”.

Describing what visitors can expect at the show, Mr Reid commented: “The expanded Strategic Conferences and Seminar Programme, encompassing the most pressing discussion topics across the sectors, will involve key government, military and industry experts, while the increased range of international exhibitors and visitors will provide excellent business opportunities for all attending DSEI.

“DSEI will once again be the platform to research, procure and understand new products and services, plus meet and do business with the whole supply chain.”

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