With just over a year before the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2024 exhibition opens for business in South Africa, the largest and longest running exhibition of its type in Africa was officially launched at the DSEI (Defence and Security Equipment International) exhibition in London this week (12 September).
Armscor is the lead partner for AAD 2024, set down for Air Force Base (AFB) Waterkloof in Centurion from 21 to 24 September. Phillip Dexter, who currently chairs the State-owned defence acquisition and project management company, did the honours in London telling invited guests at the South Africa pavilion that AAD 2024’s theme “encompasses a plethora of possibilities”. The theme is exploring new paths, sharing solutions, showcasing innovation and capabilities with possibilities presented by special South African innovation hubs covering, among others, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), space, general aviation and energy highlighted by him.
An official AAD statement has the Armscor chair saying: “A subject gaining importance, not only in the military but also in government, corporates, academia, financial institutions, and civil society, is cyber security. This is critical due to the deleterious impact of malicious hacking, to which could be added artificial intelligence (AI) revolutionising much of how we go about our daily lives”.
Looking ahead he noted “a greater number of foreign delegations”, including defence ministers and chiefs of “various arms of the military”, will be invited to AAD 2024. Response, to date, is positive and augurs well for next year.
AAD 2022, at the same venue, was a success albeit with reduced attendance and exhibitor numbers – “only to be expected given the global lockdown which prompted cancellation of AAD 2020”.
“That is now behind us; we cast our eyes ahead for better times and focus on our rebound,” he said, adding the world is now “in a different space” with global aviation and the world’s defence industries on an “upward trajectory”.
Attention will be given to conferences and seminars, as well as capability demonstrations, which afford visitors and delegations a first-hand opportunity to see equipment in action. Capability demonstrations and live aerial displays are popular, especially for public visitors who attend in numbers over the weekend after the three trade days.
Dexter gave some insight into what he termed “South Africa’s stance on the world stage” saying it is incumbent on all nations to seek peace and security.
“Only in peaceful and secure circumstances can countries develop optimally to ensure progress and advancement of their people. This is the philosophy that undergirds South Africa’s stance on the world stage and it is the philosophy upon which we as AAD are building the upcoming event”.