Tech­nolo­gies to the Fore

De­fence ex­hi­bi­tions across the world at­tract con­sid­er­able at­ten­tion, but one which is a must at­tend is Eurosatory held bi­en­ni­ally in Paris. The rea­son is sim­ple: some of the best and lat­est tech­nolo­gies are show­cased here and one gets a world­wide per­spect


De­fence ex­hi­bi­tions across the world at­tract con­sid­er­able at­ten­tion, but one which is a must at­tend is Eurosatory held bi­en­ni­ally in Paris.

R. Chan­drakanth

THE STOCK­HOLM IN­TER­NA­TIONAL PEACE Re­search In­sti­tute (SIPRI) has pointed to a steep in­crease in mil­i­tary spend­ing by na­tions in­clud­ing Rus­sia, China, In­dia, Saudi Ara­bia, South Korea, Bri­tain, Ger­many, France and Ja­pan. Though in 2013, the global mil­i­tary spend­ing was $1.7 tril­lion, a de­crease of nearly two per cent from 2012, the broader trend has been sev­eral coun­tries are spend­ing more on arms.

As per SIPRI, the two per cent drop has been at­trib­uted to bud­getary cuts in mil­i­tary spend­ing in the United States, still the top spen­der in the world. The United States alone is re­spon­si­ble for more than one-third of all mil­i­tary spend­ing. Mean­while, China, Rus­sia and Saudi Ara­bia sharply in­creased their spend­ing be­tween 2012 and 2013. Bei­jing in­vested 7.4 per cent more in its armed forces, bring­ing its to­tal budget to $188 bil­lion. Saudi Ara­bia rose from sev­enth to fourth in the world. In 2013, its mil­i­tary ex­pen­di­tures to­talled $67 bil­lion, an in­crease of 14 per cent from the pre­vi­ous year.

SIPRI re­port also noted stark growth in Africa, Asia, East­ern Europe, Latin Amer­ica and the Mid­dle East as the West spent less. The head of SIPRI’s mil­i­tary ex­pen­di­ture pro­gramme, Sam Perlo-Free­man, said the causes stemmed from more than one fac­tor. “In some cases it is the nat­u­ral re­sult of eco­nomic growth or a re­sponse to gen­uine se­cu­rity needs,” Perlo-Free­man said. “In other cases it rep­re­sents a squan­der­ing of nat­u­ral re­source rev­enues, the dom­i­nance of au­to­cratic regimes or emerg­ing re­gional arms races.”

Africa – led by oil-and-gas-rich na­tions Al­ge­ria and An­gola — spent more than any re­gion in 2013 with a to­tal in­crease of 8.3 per cent year-on-year. Mean­while in Asia, China’s bol­ster­ing of its mil­i­tary, com­bined with ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes with neigh­bour­ing coun­tries, prompted Ja­pan, the Philip­pines and Viet­nam to also spend more.

Rus­sia Out­spends US

SIPRI ranked Rus­sia num­ber three on its list, not­ing that it had in­vested a greater per­cent­age of its GDP in its mil­i­tary in 2013, beat­ing out the US for the first time in a decade. Moscow spent 4.1 per cent of its GDP on its armed forces, barely over­tak­ing Wash­ing­ton, which spent only 3.8 per cent of its GDP on the same sec­tor. Perlo-Free­man said a slow­ing of eco­nomic growth could re­verse this trend.

“The goal of build­ing up mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­ity has been seen as more ur­gent [by Moscow] since the Ge­or­gia war in 2008, which re­vealed se­ri­ous short­com­ings in Rus­sia’s mil­i­tary tech­nol­ogy and readi­ness,” he said. And, now the Ukraine cri­sis. “[How­ever] the econ­omy is a key fac­tor, in­clud­ing es­pe­cially oil and gas prices,” he added. “Many ob­servers be­lieve that the State Ar­ma­ments Plan is based on over-op­ti­mistic eco­nomic projections, so that this may act as some­thing of con­straint on the rate of in­crease of mil­i­tary spend­ing.”

Moscow’s de­ploy­ment of troops along its south-western bor­der with Ukraine has wor­ried Western lead­ers, who are try­ing to de-es­ca­late ten­sions be­tween Rus­sian Presi- dent Vladimir Putin and the tran­si­tional govern­ment in Kyiv. The SIPRI re­port noted that the per­ceived threat of Rus­sian mil­i­tary ag­gres­sion could also have an in­flu­ence on EU mil­i­tary spend­ing, which has dropped in the face of the eu­ro­zone cri­sis.

Lack of Trans­parency in Mid­dle East

In 2013, mil­i­tary spend­ing has con­tin­ued to rise in the Mid­dle East, a trend that’s been go­ing on for years not only re­sult­ing from the tense po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion, but also the high rev­enues from the sale of oil. Saudi Ara­bia has the world’s fourth largest mil­i­tary spend­ing budget. In Perlo-Free­man’s view that’s not only due to strate­gic con­cerns: “The mil­i­tary budget is a way of chan­nel­ing oil rev­enues into the pri­vate bank ac­counts of lead­ers — that is one fac­tor that makes mil­i­tary spend­ing very at­trac­tive.” On the whole, data on mil­i­tary spend­ing in the Mid­dle East tend to be quite opaque, the SIPRI ex­pert said. There were no data avail­able for Iran, Qatar, Syria, Ye­men or the United Arab Emi­rates in 2013.

Eurosatory In­di­cates Trends

De­fence ex­hi­bi­tions across the world at­tract con­sid­er­able at­ten­tion, but one which is a must at­tend is Eurosatory held bi­en­ni­ally in Paris. The rea­son is sim­ple: some of the best and lat­est tech­nolo­gies are show­cased here and one gets a world­wide per­spec­tive with re­gard de­fence over here. Un­like ex­hi­bi­tions in US which is so US-cen­tric, ex­hi­bi­tions held in Europe are seem­ingly for the world as Euro­pean mar­kets are limited.

De­fence & Se­cu­rity Tech­no­log­i­cal Con­tin­uum

Orig­i­nally de­voted to de­fence, Eurosatory has grad­u­ally ex­panded into the se­cu­rity mar­ket. While the con­texts of use dif­fer greatly be­tween de­fence & se­cu­rity, the prod­ucts are def­i­nitely on the same tech­no­log­i­cal con­tin­uum. Eurosatory has taken these de­vel­op­ments on board and now in­vites new cat­e­gories of de­fence and se­cu­rity prod­uct buy­ers. The mar­kets of the fu­ture are with­out any shad­ows of doubt South­east Asia and Latin Amer­ica.

The Air-land to the Ex­hi­bi­tion Heart

ALAT (French Army Light Avi­a­tion) has cho­sen Eurosatory for its 60th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion, thus boost­ing the airland as­pect of the fair. Avi­a­tion del­e­ga­tions from many coun­tries are par­tic­i­pat­ing in the event.

In­ter­na­tional Meet­ings

On the dis­cus­sion side, Eurosatory is de­vel­op­ing its con­fer­ences. In par­tic­u­lar it will be hold­ing the SIMDEF sem­i­nar on “Sim­u­la­tion, a means to pre­serve op­er­a­tional po­ten­tial” or­gan­ised by ADIS, the Euro­pean Club for Coun­ter­trade & Off­set (ECCO) sym­po­sium on trade with Turkey and the Land Op­er­a­tions Fo­rum.

Eurosatory 2014 will have two-thirds of the ex­hibitors from for­eign coun­tries (51 coun­tries have reg­is­tered) in­clud­ing new ones such as Ja­pan and Ar­gentina. The venue for all prod­ucts of the land and airland in­dus­try, Eurosatory will mir­ror the lat­est trends in 2014. It may be too early to say what they all will be, but big changes in the ro­bot­ics in­dus­try are al­ready on the way.

Ev­ery two years, the en­tire Land and Air-land De­fence and Se­cu­rity in­dus­try and mar­ket meet dur­ing the Eurosatory tradeshow. In 2012, Ex­hibitors num­ber in­creased by 9.3 per cent, 53 coun­tries and in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions were rep­re­sented. Over 50 per cent of ex­hibit­ing com­pa­nies had their chair­man or CEO at­tend­ing the show and over 450 new prod­ucts were of­fi­cially pre­sented. All these fac­tors con­trib­uted to cons Ol­i­date Eurosatory as the world leader trade show in the do­main.

What’s New for 2014?

Eurosatory strives to present the en­tire in­ter­na­tional of­fer­ing and the whole land de­fence & se­cu­rity in­dus­try and sup­ply chain, from raw ma­te­ri­als to fin­ished prod­ucts. The ex­hi­bi­tion en­deav­ours again to cover the full spec­trum of de­fence and se­cu­rity equip­ment in all price groups, from new, com­plex and high-ticket most ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy sys­tems, to more af­ford­able and tried-and-tested so­lu­tions, that par­tic­u­lar coun­tries pre­fer.

Eurosatory in­tends to main­tain and de­velop the ex­hi­bi­tion’s se­cu­rity sec­tion, which is ac­tu­ally linked to the de­fence do­main through tech­nol­ogy. There­fore, two new tech­nol­ogy clus­ters are be­ing cre­ated: ‘Civil Se­cu­rity and Emer­gency Re­sponse’ and ‘Crit­i­cal In­fra­struc­ture and Sen­si­tive Fa­cil­i­ties Pro­tec­tion’. Such a grow­ing fo­cus on se­cu­rity also brings new vis­i­tors ei­ther from govern­ment de­part­ments seek­ing to equip emer­gency re­sponse forces, or from the pri­vate sec­tor, scout­ing for so­lu­tions for people and as­sets se­cu­rity.

For new ex­hibitors, a “Dis­cov­ery Vil­lage” will be set up for very small businesses tak­ing part for the first time in Eurosatory. Fea­tur­ing 6m2 fully-fit­ted stands, it is an op­por­tu­nity to dis­cover and ben­e­fit from all ex­hi­bi­tion’s fea­tures and au­di­ence at the low­est cost.

Air­bus He­li­copters’ EC645 T2 on dis­play

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