With its sizeable pavilion at the DSEI show in London this week, South Africa continues to signal that it has the products and is keen to grow its share of world defence markets. The DSEI (Defence and Security Equipment International) exhibition is the world’s largest defence show to combine land, air, and sea elements, say the organisers.
Although defence spending is likely to face severe pressures over the next decade in Europe and the US, the show is bigger than ever in terms of number of visitors and exhibitors. Growth in defence spending in Asia and the Middle East will drive much of the growth in the international security market in the next decade.
Over the four days of the show, held every two years, about 30 000 visitors are expected at the ExCel centre in the docklands area of London. There are more than 1 500 exhibitors, compared to a little over 1 100 at the most recent International Defence Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi. DSEI builds on Britain as an international centre for business, rather than as a big market itself, sometimes called “the Wimbledon effect”.
South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry paid around R6 million for its stand at the show. On the pavilion are stands for smaller South African companies whose presence is funded by the Department.
Government’s signal of the importance to which it attaches to the show is indicated by the presence of a sizeable delegation headed by the Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Tabang Makwetla and the Chief of the SANDF, General Solly Shoke.
Without the presence of the heavyweights Denel and Armscor in the pavilion, the stand lacks an impressive focus. In previous years the two big state owned companies were on the South African stand.
The nearby Denel stand is dominated by the company’s heavy calibre gun and mortar that will be the main weapons mounted on the Badger infantry combat vehicle for the South African army. The GI-30 30 mm cannon and the M10 60 mm mortar system were launched earlier in SA, but today marks their international debut. Denel has already sold the turret and gun to Malaysia and intends to pursue other international opportunities.
On the morning the show opened the weapons had stirred some intense interest from a Chinese delegation who could be seen photographing the systems from a number of angles.
The smaller companies on the South African national stand are:
parachute manufacturer, Aerodyne Research, luxury vehicle armourer, Armormax, special purpose vehicle supplier, DCD Protected Mobility, fuse manufacturer, Fuchs Electronics, electronic warfare equipment manufacturer, GEW Technologies, ultra-high intensity searchlight supplier, Megaray, protected vehicle supplier, Osprea Logistics, electronic technology solution supplier, Parsec, antenna designer and supplier, Poynting Antennas, data modem product maker, RapidM, camp system supplier, Redeployable Camp Systems, communication and data solution company Tellumat, secure military communications provider, Reutech Communications, firearms manufacturer Truvelo, marine vessels builder Veecraft Marine, Reutech Radar Systems, grenade launcher maker, Rippel Effect Systems, power pack supplier, Shelhurst Components, specialised electronics maker, Shrike Marine, and helmet and body armour maker, Zebra Armour.