Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEi), Europe's premier exhibition for the air, land and sea applications of defence and security products and technologies, takes place at ExCeL London from 13-16 September 2011.
This milestone event will demonstrate how the global defence and security industry is responding to the diverse threats facing many nations today.
In addition to the latest ideas and innovations from 1,300 exhibiting companies from around the world, this year's DSEi sees the launch of individual focus areas dedicated to unmanned systems and security, as well as a military vehicle park.
The exhibitor list includes companies from leading manufacturing nations such as Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, the UK and the US.
Institutions such as the Nato Maintenance and Supply Agency, the US Department of Homeland Security and the UK Ministry of Defence will also have a strong presence at the event.
The increasing importance of the Asia-Pacific region is highlighted by the presence of exhibitors from Australia, India, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. Overall, the significance of DSEi as a global showcase is underlined by the fact that 30 countries will have national pavilions.
Increased focus on aerospace
The aerospace sector has always been well-represented at DSEi and this year will be no exception, with leading names in the platform and systems manufacturing and integration sectors - including BAE Systems, Britten-Norman, EADS, Finmeccanica, Iveco, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Thales - all exhibiting.
The commitment of original equipment manufacturers is highlighted by the presence of a Wildcat helicopter and a full-scale mock-up of the Joint Strike Fighter.
Inside the halls, a broad spectrum of aerospace capabilities will be on show, spanning everything from the design and manufacture of advanced composites and instrumentation to logistics and project management specialists.
Unmanned systems showcase
Aerial capability is increasingly about UAVs and these, together with UGVs, will be the focus of the Robotics and Unmanned Systems Showcase, which makes its DSEi debut.
This will host a twice-daily, scenario-based demonstration with an asymmetric warfare theme.
Developed with the support of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the demonstrations will feature both UAVs and UGVs, and involve a number of suppliers working together.
The unmanned systems on show will include the Boeing ScanEagle, which can stay on station for more than 24 hours, and the Diamond Airborne Sensing Dominator, which is based on the fully certified Diamond DA42 commercial aircraft. Then there's Sky-Watch's Huginn X1, which can be used for visual reconnaissance in disaster areas.
Magna Parva will be showing a number of unmanned systems innovations including its Centre of Excellence for Unmanned Air, Land, Marine and Space Systems (CEUS), which delivers holistic solutions to complex systems engineering, operational and support problems, and includes a Schiebel Camcopter UAV.
A range of systems and equipment will also be on display. DST Control will exhibit its lightweight, high-performance and gyro-stabilised, electro-optical systems, while Velodyne plans to showcase its deployable UAV hangars.
Land systems lead the way
DSEi has always been a priority event for the land systems sector. Leading names such as BAE Systems, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Iveco, Navistar, Nexter, Force Protection and Oshkosh will all be there, together with suppliers of everything from portable roadway systems to ammunition packaging technology. Highlights will include the General Dynamics Scout SV early-build vehicle and Force Protection's Foxhound light protected patrol vehicle - which will enter service with the British Army in 2012. Lockheed Martin will also demonstrate the way ahead for the Warrior armoured fighting vehicle by displaying its proposal for the UK's Warrior capability sustainment programme.
The vehicle display area - a new feature for 2011 - adds depth to an already strong land systems showing. In the display area will be a Husky protected logistics vehicle fitted with Chemring's ground-penetrating radar and its Resolve communications electronic warfare system, both of which play a significant role in countering the threat of IEDs. Pearson Engineering's mine-clearance ploughs will also be featured.
Medical equipment is becoming increasingly prominent and this year sees Lübeck showcasing its Dräger Oxylog intensive care quality ventilator, which can be applied to patients in a variety of intra-hospital transport, emergency and air rescue scenarios.
Warships and anti-piracy craft
DSEi always attracts significant warships from the leading maritime nations. This year the British Royal Navy is contributing one the world's most advanced destroyers, the Type 45, together with a River Class offshore patrol vessel. Also moored in the dock will be a brand new K130 Class corvette from the Federal German Navy, FGS Braunschweig, which will only just have completed its sea trials, and Dutch survey ship HMNS Snellius.
Throughout the event there will be a programme of waterborne demonstrations that spectators can watch from a specially built grandstand in front of the jetty. An exciting, all-action demonstration called Operation Vision will feature boats - including special forces craft - and equipment used in maritime boarding and surveillance operations.
The exercise will also involve small unmanned surveillance helicopters with video links to a large screen. Other equipment on display will include command and control systems for seaborne operations and maritime rescue. Northrop Grumman, Marlborough Communications, Advanced UAV Technology, SAAB, Ultra and BCB are all taking part.
The significance of security
The spread of terrorism has brought national security to the top of the agenda for governments around the world and for many nations defence and security issues are becoming more integrated.
New to the DSEi show floor this year are three theatres. Theatre two will host the security showcase where international agencies, government organisations, industry and academia will come together for a programme of presentations, panel debates and product reviews.
The participants include BAE Systems, Finmeccanica, Thales, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and QinetiQ. Many of the small and medium-sized enterprises that play a distinctive role in innovation in the security domain will also be taking part.
The US Department of Homeland Security will also give a briefing on its latest national security requirements and technologies.
It is hard to think of a single piece of 21st-century military hardware that does not include a computer chip, a software-controlled component or a link to a communication network.
As a result, the European defence electronics sector is a key component of the international defence market, which in turn is a vital part of the global defence industry supply chain.
This is the reason why the new International Electronics Pavilion at DSEi will be fully booked with key players: ALR Services, XJTAG, BUS Solutions, Jaltek Systems, Lauterbach and Phaedrus Systems are all signed up.
The International Electronics Pavilion has been created with the help of exhibition organisers New Events and opens up DSEi to a wider audience, both from a supplier perspective - offering a platform to promote designs and technologies that are currently significant or potentially of value to the defence industry - and from a visitor perspective by attracting those involved in electronics product specification, engineering and design.
Other new features for DSEi 2011 include a seminar programme where visitors can find out about the latest industry technologies, and panel debates and keynote sessions where key ministry of defence and industry figures will share their thoughts on current challenges and future opportunities for the defence industry.
The new DSEi phone app features an interactive floor plan, up-to-the-minute information on seminars and show news, networking tools and multifaceted product and service supplier search functionality. The app can be downloaded from the DSEi Visitor Network from the middle of August, but to do so visitors must first register for the event online.
DSEi will take place in London from 13-16 September.
This article was first published in our sister publication Defence & Security Systems International.