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Defence & DSEi Special DSEi 2011 –A Global Defence industry

Warships on display at ExCel, DSEi 2007 (image provided by Clarion Defense and Security Ltd)

Neil Tyler takes a look at this year’s DSEi, Europe’s leading defence exhibition, which this year is being held at a time when tough decisions are required by governments to reconfigure their armed forces to confront future threats whilst at the same time tackling mounting budgetary pressures


his year’s DSEI takes place at a time when world military expenditure is under growing pressure, especially among the leading military powers who are confronting budgetary restraints and an extended period of austerity. But it is also a time in which military matters seem to be dominating the news from the ongoing campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq and the air campaign by NATO to oust Colonel Gaddafi in Libya to the reshaping and future funding of military forces. Defence spending totalled an estimated $1.6trillion in 2010 an increase in real terms of just 1.3 per cent, which represents the slowest annual rate of increase since 2001. The average increase in spending between 2001 and 2009 was 5.1 per cent and this slowdown would appear to represent a delayed reaction to the global financial and economic crisis that broke in 2008 and the impact of cuts in public expenditure.

Estimated total military expenditure in

Europe last year amounted to $382bn, a 2.8 per cent fall in real terms when compared to 2009. However, military spending is still nearly 12 per cent higher than it was in 2001. The global increase in spending last year was accounted for almost entirely by the US where total expenditure rose by 2.8 per cent. While that represented a significant slow down when compared to an average increase of 7.4 per cent since 2001, the US continues to be exceptional in terms of its military expenditure. Defence spending now accounts for 4.8 per cent of GDP up from 3.1 per cent in 2001, while around the rest of the world that figure has either remained steady or fallen. The US spends

six times that of its nearest rival China and has raised military spending by over 81 per cent since 2001. However, the general slow down in spending seen last year masks significant regional variations. In the Far East spending on defence rose by only 1.3 per cent, while in Africa and South America spending jumped by 5.2 per cent and 5.8 per cent respectively.

DSEi 2011 is seen as a key location in which to do business in the global defence and security market. According to the organisers there will be a record 35 national pavilions on show at the event, which takes place at ExCeL in London from 13 - 16 September. This compares to the 27 seen in 2009.

This year will see Poland making its DSEi debut, while other nations have increased their stand space. Companies from the major NATO and European Union countries will also be represented, as well as many of Europe’s neutral or non-aligned countries. The emerging defence markets will also have a strong presence, including Brazil, India and the United Arab Emirates. These countries are emerging as important players in the global defence market both as importers and domestic producers of defence and security technology and equipment. The increasing globalisation of the

international defence and security market means that companies from countries, such as Brazil, India and the United Arab Emirates see DSEi not only as an opportunity to establish links with potential partners in their home markets, but also a chance to find new export customers for their existing products and services. These

16 July/August 2011 Components in Electronics

countries as a matter of national policy are seeking to establish international partnerships to facilitate technology transfer, local defence manufacturing and the development of exportable products. Accordng to Carlos Afonso Pierantoni Gambôa, Executive Vice President of Brazil’s defence and security manufacturers’ association, ABIMDE, “In our globalised world, countries cannot keep various economic sectors, including the defence and security industry, as purely domestic markets. Brazil, for example, has an industrial base for defence and security products which is internationally competitive.”

Military electronics The UK and European defence electronics sector plays an increasingly important role in the international defence market which in turn is a vital part of the global defence industry supply chain. This year DSEI will be hosting a new International Electronics Pavilion with key players including ALR Services, XJTAG, BUS Solutions, Jaltek Systems, Lauterbach and Phaedrus Systems present.

The organisers believe that the

International Electronics Pavilion will help to open up the exhibition to a wider audience both from a supplier perspective – offering a platform to promote designs and technologies that are currently key or potentially of value to the defence industry – and also from a visitor perspective by attracting those involved in electronics product specification, engineering and design.

Chief Technical Officer of Phaedrus Systems, Chris Hill said, “Defence and security are central markets for us and at DSEi, both exhibitors and visitors are the key players in these markets. However, the all-encompassing nature of DSEi sometimes makes it hard for people with similar interests to find each other. The new international electronics pavilion is going to provide a fantastic focus for suppliers and systems developers to meet and get to know each other better.”

The Pavilion will cover a total of 200m2 of the exhibition floor and visitors will be able to see a broad selection of equipment and services.

The market for Unmanned Systems (US)

is set to show steady growth over the next ten years with total values for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) increasing annually from just over $3 billion in 2011 to more than $5.5 billion in 2019. This growth is reflected in another new feature area, the Robotics and Unmanned Systems Showcase.

Supported by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the Robotics and Unmanned Systems Showcase is a dedicated arena that will be used for demonstrations of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) and UAVs during the show. A football pitch-sized area, located in

one corner of the North Hall, has been set aside for the demonstration and viewing arena, while AUVSI will help provide the intellectual content for the series of showcases. There will be displays from Insitu which will be showing the ScanEagle; this can stay on station for more than 24 hours and its systems include over 450,000 hours of combat experience.

Other suppliers participating include: DST Control with its light-weight, high performance gyro-stabilised electro-optical systems with both EO and IR capabilities; Robosynthesis, a UK specialist developer of proprietary extreme-modular robotics systems; Velodyne with its LIDAR sensor; Sprung Instant Structures, which makes deployable UAV hangars; and Sky-Watch’s Huginn X1 which can be used for visual reconnaissance in disaster areas, fence patrol, indoor inspection.

Close by Magna Parva will be showing a number of unmanned systems innovations including CEUS, its Centre of Excellence for Unmanned Air, Land, Marine and Space Systems which delivers holistic cost- effective solutions to complex systems engineering, operational and support problems and includes a Schiebel Camcopter UAV. DSEi Exhibition Director, Duncan Reid, said, “The Unmanned Systems market is an area of tremendous growth and our feature area will provide both exhibitors and visitors with a real opportunity to interact, see some of the latest technologies and gain a deeper understanding of how these types of robots can help in the battlespace.” ■

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