WDS: Bahrain promises 2024 airshow extravaganza

Bahrain’s ruler, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, this week inaugurated the newly introduced Bell AH1-Z Cobra attack helicopters into the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) as part of the Bahrain Shield project.

Yousif Mahmoud, director general of BIAS, invites the industry to Bahrain for November’s show spectacular. (Image: Billypix)

The inauguration was part of the 56th anniversary celebrations of the BDF and was the latest in a series of acquisitions that has seen ongoing development of the force.

The Royal Bahrain Air Force is the first to operate the AH1-Z Cobra outside the USA.

And the helicopter, along with other hardware with the BDF, will lead the flying festivities at this year’s Bahrain International Air Show (BIAS) which takes place at the Sakir air base on 9-11 November.

The show has grown in size and reputation since it launched in 2010, and Yousif Mahmoud, director general of BIAS, is at WDS to encourage the defence industry and its supply chain to be part of the event.

“The current trend in the region is to create a local defence industry with each country now planning for the products or technology to be used, rather than just to order from outside,” Mahmoud said.

“I think there are a lot of projects for joint venture discussion and the environment we have created at the show since the beginning makes it very comfortable for these discussions. I think it is more about how to get cooperation and joint ventures and projects rather than selling and buying equipment.”

Major OEMs already signed up include BAE Systems which inked a contract at WDS this week.

The Bahrain show features a spectacular flying display – at three hours, one of the most impressive on the show circuit. This year will feature a packed display from both civil and military aircraft, including a show-topping flying pyrotechnic spectacular from aerobatic aircraft as the sun sets over the Bahrain desert.

Sakir has its own airspace, allowing exhibitors the opportunity to prove their capability and manoeuvrability to the crowds.