In a very difficult moment for the whole world, international defence industries are gathering in Riyadh attending the first edition of the World Defense Show (WDS). The event, founded by Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI), takes place under the patronage of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
An 800,000 m2 venue was purposely built for this exhibition, which includes a 2.7 km long runway that will allow air assets to carry on flight displays, while a dedicated apron will host the aircraft static display. As for land systems, these will also have a dedicated space were to demonstrate their capabilities, besides being displayed statically in the exhibition area.
According to data provided by organisers the WDS will host nearly 600 exhibitors from over 40 countries, with more than 15 national pavilions. Trade visitors attendance during the four-day event is expected to overcome the 80,000 mark, notwithstanding COVID issues, a strict sanitary control being in place to avoid the spread of the virus.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remains one of the most influential nations in the Middle East, and its armament programmes draw the interest of the international defence industry community, the Kingdom being considered the third world spender in defence. The Vision 2030 programme that involves all aspects of the Saudi Arabian nation aims at keeping in-country half of the defence investment budget compared to the current 2%. The national industrial capability in this field is constantly improving; currently producing spares, armoured vehicles and ammunition, Saudi Arabia aims at extend its production to much more complex weapon systems such as combat aircraft.
Partnership with international partners have already been established, and more might be announced during WDS 2022, Saudi Arabia aiming at increasing overall foreign investments in the Kingdom from 3.8% to 5.7% in 2030, part of that increase definitely coming from defence. However the Kingdom is also looking at direct investments in the armaments industry to raise it to the aforementioned level.
How much the international situation will impact this première of the Saudi exhibition has to be seen, but definitely the Riyadh event is considered among the main ones of the current year.
Hereafter please find the articles on the major new items exhibited.