Best defence: DSEI 2011

Best defence: DSEI 2011
The world's largest defence and security exhibition returns to London's ExCel in September. Once again, the latest military and security technology will be on display with land, sea and air displays vying for the visitors' attention. Matt Bailey reports.

Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEi) is the world's largest fully integrated defence and security exhibition. It provides a forum where visitors can meet representatives from across the whole defence and security supply chain. DSEi takes place at ExCeL in London's docklands from 13 to 16 September.

The last DSEi, held in 2009, saw 25,000 visitors from 98 countries in attendance. To encourage increased levels of visitor attendance the show's organiser, Clarion, has expanded the focus on key sectors such as air platforms and introduced important new feature areas. The event will also offer a range of innovations to enhance the visitor experience, including a downloadable app to assist navigation around the exhibition floor.
Visitors to DSEi 2011 will be able to view systems and equipment from more than 30 leading manufacturing nations, including Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, UK and the USA. Institutions such as the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA), the US Department of Homeland Security and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) will also have a strong presence at the event.

New features will include an indoor unmanned vehicle and robotics demonstration zone; land, sea and air static displays, including the Apache helicopter and Joint Strike Fighter. Also new is a security demonstration area. Since DSEi was last held in 2009 the event's name has undergone a subtle but significant change – the S now stands for security. The exhibition has increasingly covered products and services related to national security over the last few events but as the lines between traditional military and homeland security have continued to merge it was decided to reflect this in the event's name.

One of the new feature areas will be dedicated to security. The Security Showcase and Demonstration Area will host live scenario and product based demonstrations. This platform allows exhibitors to promote their technology and services to a highly targeted audience and the official delegations invited to attend the event include internal security specialists as well as military.

DSEi 2011 will feature a dedicated international electronics pavilion which will act as a focus area for electronics companies of all sizes; it will include a lounge area for the use of all those exhibiting in the pavilion and will be designed to allow exhibitors an easy way to promote what can be complex products. Leading international electronics players such as XJTAG, Vicor, Lauterbach, ALR, Schroff, Jalteck, Humiseal and Phaedsys will be exhibiting.

The world's largest showcase for unmanned vehicle systems is also taking place. Supported by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the Robotics & Unmanned Systems Showcase is a dedicated arena that will be used for demonstrations of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) and unmanned aerial vehicles (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 area, while AUVSI will provide the intellectual content with a series of panels and showcases.

ExCeL's dockside location means waterborne demonstrations can also be staged. Planned demonstrations of equipment, such as RIBs, pontoon equipment and offshore raiding craft will take place, while visiting naval vessels provide another valuable platform for the demonstration of new systems and equipment. Visitors can inspect this on specially conducted tours of the ships including a modern frigate or destroyer and an offshore patrol vessel from the Royal Navy, while the Royal Netherlands Navy will also be sending a vessel.

Once again DSEi will feature an impressive line-up of presentations and speakers. According to the organiser, top level speakers from the Ministry Of Defence (MoD) as well as key industry figures will share their thoughts on current challenges and future opportunities for the defence industry through a series of panel debates, keynote sessions and live demonstrations. "Our seminars are the place to go to find out about the latest technologies in the industry and how they can keep your business competitive," it claims.

All sessions are free to attend to all DSEi attendees. They will be split into three themes, with their own dedicated theatres to help delegates quickly indentify topics that are relevant to their interests. Situated in the heart of the Innovation Zone, Theatre One will be covering topics from Personnel Survivability through to Rapid Deployment Opportunities.

It will also be hosting DSEi's new initiative, the DSEi Innovation Challenge where visitors can discover various technologies that are still under development. Theatre Two which is located in the Security Zone, will focus on topics relating to recent security threats, including Cyber Warfare, Piracy and Combating Terrorism. While at the centre of the robotics and unmanned display area, the Unmanned Theatre will cover a range of topics from UAV System Development, to Robosynthesis and Pathway Detection.

The sessions in the theatre will be complemented by live demonstrations of the latest unmanned technology in the Unmanned Display area. As well as the seminars, a series of high level keynote addresses and briefings will be held away from the show floor. DSEi this year will see a strong ministerial presence across all departments, with a range of keynotes and visits planned from UK Ministers, including the Secretary of State for Defence, the Minister for International Security Strategy and the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology.

A series of breakfast and afternoon briefings will be held which the organiser says will give visitors and exhibitors the chance to talk to those who shape current Government policy and thinking from security to strategy to defence offset to medical frontline trauma.

Matt Bailey

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