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Covering the air, land, homeland defence and security sectors, Eurosatory is a highly specialised professional exhibition that is the meeting point for decision makers and experts from around the world, including politicians and the media.

This year 114 official delegations and 50,000 visitors will browse 1,209 exhibition stands. Here, Eurosatory general manager General (ret) Patrick Colas des Francs tells Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh what visitors can expect and what new technologies are on display.

ECM: How many countries will be represented, and how many exhibitors have never shown at Eurosatory before?

PCdF: This year, seven new countries are joining our community of exhibitors – Brunei, Columbia, Iceland, Lithuania, Mexico and Qatar, bringing the total number of represented countries to 53.

“The professional soldier represents a major investment in the defence sector.”

Around 30% to 35% of our exhibitors are first timers this year, including CSI Camp Supply International, Bohemia Interactive, Force Protection, Laser Devices, Scania, Kylmar, General Dynamics Europe Land Systems and Aucar Trailers. Most of the exhibitors in the training and simulation section of the exhibition are new as well.

ECM: What types of technology will be on display?

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PCdF: An analysis of the types of exhibitors, compared with 2006, shows an increase in the number of systems integrators (up from 35.8% to 46.2%) and a decrease in the number of equipment manufacturers (down to 20.3%) and suppliers / contractors down to 12.7%.

The vehicles, aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles segment is growing strongly from 14.8% of exhibitors in 2006 to 17.4% this year.

Two popular sectors stand out; battlefield management, including everything related to positioning, observation aids, firing aids, liaison systems, methods of detection, intelligence gathering and identification; and everything related to the warfighter including training methods, warfighter-related support and logistics, and troop protection.

ECM: Are there any new specialist areas at Eurosatory this year, and what technological innovation can visitors expect to encounter?

The professional soldier represents a major investment in the defence sector. Military headquarters tend to reserve their use for operations and to outsource training of the forces. In recognition of this trend, Eurosatory has created a new training and simulation area.

In the 1,600m² area, 29 companies will display their systems, in many cases based on cutting-edge technologies using virtual worlds, 3D images and realistic video games. In a related conference area, five theme-oriented afternoon sessions have been organised with expert speakers in the field as well as an ‘innovation showcase’ presenting the most innovative products in the sector.

Eurosatory has also introduced technology clusters for the first time, bringing together companies from the same sector to increase their visibility. The UAV / UGV cluster is of particular interest. It will have its own arena which will be used for daily demonstrations of land robots in 50-minute slots. The night vision cluster has been organised around a purpose built tunnel to test the different systems on display.

An area has also been set aside to display technology innovations of the French armaments industry, either privately financed or funded by the defence ministry’s research and redevelopment budget. The DGA procurement branch of French MoD and GICAT are presenting 16 companies selected for outstanding performance.

ECM: In addition to the new show areas, will there be innovations on display that visitors haven’t seen before?

In 2008 for the first time, Eurosatory is offering exhibitors the opportunity to seek advice from experts specialising in marketing strategy or in a given geographical region. Six international consultancies will be present at the show to offer this service to exhibitors.

Eurosatory also wanted to add an extra strategic dimension and a forward-thinking contribution from the defence and security institutes, which has resulted in the creation of ‘Think Tank Village’. Located at the main show entrance, it will bring experts from the armaments industry, the military, administrations and economic decision makers, scientists and politicians. They are sure to give the show a new dimension of geopolitical analysis and conceptual thinking in defence.

ECM: What exposure can companies expect to gain from exhibiting?

PCdF: Eurosatory is the best opportunity for exhibitors to enhance their presence in the world market and position their company among the key actors in land and air defence and security.

“This year,
114 official delegations and 50,000 visitors will browse 1,209 exhibition stands.”

They have the opportunity to meet the leaders and professionals in defence and security, including 110 official delegations from 71 countries, 447 politico-military leaders and senior political authorities, chiefs of staff and national armament directors, as well as commercial delegations in charge of equipping forces.

Exhibitors also gain exposure to representatives of international organisations such as EU military staff, the European Defence Agency and NATO.

ECM: There is a conference running alongside the exhibition – what can delegates expect to hear and who is presenting?

PCdF: The aim of the conference is to debate with industrialists and elaborate solutions with them. Some of the topics covered are homeland security in urban area, presented by the Secretary General of National Defence Ministry Francis Delon, and a panel discussion looking at future weapons systems and the constraints and opportunities between defence and security, chaired by the European Defence Agency deputy chief executive for strategy, Carlo Magrassi.

There is also a symposium organised in conjunction with GICAT, DGA and the French Army on Tuesday, looking at land forces and future coalitions.