One hour before the 2022 edition of Eurosatory closes its doors, we meet again Maj.Gen. (ret) Charles Beaudouin, the exhibition organiser and COGES CEO in his office. The last visitors are leaving the premises while teams of workers are ready to dismount the stands that in the last five days have seen tens of thousands of visitors walking through the aisles of one of the most comprehensive showcase of land (and not only) military equipment.
“After four years Charles Beaudouin tells EDR On-Line, adding that 73% of them were Europeans, a percentage that grows to 80% considering the two American NATO members, the United States and Canada. Overall 63 countries had some of their industries exhibiting in the Villepinte premises, many part of the 39 National Pavilions. Among the 250 international delegations from 100 countries that visited Eurosatory 2022, over 30 were led by ministers or deputy-ministers, showing the importance of the exhibition in the defence world.
This was further underlined by the fact that for the first time in decades Eurosatory was inaugurated by the President of the French Republic, previous editions having seen as highest authority the Minister of Defence. In his speech Emmanuel Macron stated that the defence industry should adapt to a war economy model, long development times and small series being not compatible with the current situation, as industry should produce more and at lower costs. The speech was done in front of the European industrial base, the message reaching therefore a much wider audience, the French Semester ending on June 30th. Of course those words echoed among the Eurosatory community. “Many industrials as well as the military are now trying to understand how to translate those words in reality,” Charles Beaudouin says, due to the strong European presence both in the high ranking attendance as well as in the industrial one.
The Villepinte event has seen northern and eastern European countries among the major players, both as exhibitors as well as potential customers, many of them having stated the need for getting new military hardware in very short time, something that is at odds with the scarcity of raw material that is hitting the industrial world, the COGES CEO explains. In his opening interview Charles Beaudouin underlined the comeback of heavy armour, and some of these have definitely been the highlights of the exhibition.
“A category which was absent in 2018 was that of armed drones, which this year are well represented, recent conflicts having brought a different light on them. Networking and cyber were also key subjects, those two capabilities being now often considered together, which might bring to an evolution of some industrial organisations,” Beaudouin says.
As for exhibitors comment in the closing day of Eurosatory 2022 these were all very positive, the high number and quality of delegations having proved the importance of such an event which after having cancelled the 2020 edition was finally back in presence. “Beside official delegations, in this edition we created the figure of what we defined ‘VIP Experts’, experts in defence systems, military or civilian, who are influencers who can orient decision makers,” Charles Beaudouin explains. These further increased the number of high level professionals who met with the many exhibitors.
While the clock marks the last minutes of the 2022 edition, the COGES, and Charles Beaudouin first, are already looking at Eurosatory 2024. “While this was a transition exhibition, planning started in 2021 when the world situation was pretty different, in two years time Eurosatory will take place when European re-armament programmes will have taken shape, and the situation should be much more clear,” the COGES CEO states.
“We foresee a focus on energy, a topic that is acquiring importance every day, as the digital world is heavily depending on it. I also consider that the need for military formations to repair a territory after a confrontation, helping population and taking care of the environment, will also be a theme. Disaster relief that was taken into account this year in our HELPED experiment, which raised considerable interest among United Nations delegations,” Charles Beaudouin notes. HELPED , the acronym for Humanitary Emergency Logistic Project and Eco Development, is a “demonstrator” where a number of dual-use systems were exhibited “in operation”, which attracted considerable interest during Eurosatory 2022, which marked for the first time the opening of the event towards those themes, which might be further increased in the next edition.
See you in 2024!
Photo courtesy P. Dupont