His Excellency Ahmad Al Ohali, Governor of GAMI who attended the launch event, has been tasked to localise 50% of the Kingdom’s military spending by 2030. According to Al Ohali, the World Defense Show will play a key part in developing that business, “to attract the transfer of technologies, transfer of production and to optimise the Kingdom’s purchasing power.”
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Shaun Ormrod (above), the former head of Farnborough International Air Show, is CEO of the World Defense Show. He brings with him 20 years of experience organising defence trade shows, and said WDS will be the next generation aviation show. He told the virtual audience, “Interoperability and the new challenges facing the defence industry will be the central concept of the event, reaching out across air, land, sea, satellite and security domains”, writes Alan Warnes.
In an already cluttered aerospace calendar, Ormrod said that they considered all the other defence events in the region – IDEX, Dubai, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi International Airshow before opting for the March date. He said, “These events demonstrate the vibrancy in the region and the market place, and where better to have a new event than in the centre of three continents, which offers great opportunities.” He added, “Saudi Arabia is also the largest market available for our customers and there will be full scale access and opportunities to Saudi military entities.”
Ormrod did not think that there would be any clash with the Saudi International Airshow which was only launched last March, because their objectives were different. “WDS is a defence exhibition and SIA is a commercial event.”
A decision on a venue for WDS will be announced on September 1 but will be big enough to accommodate land demonstrations and air displays. Ormrod finished, “Saudi’s growing commercial and industrial infrastructure offers unique logistical opportunities to showcase the latest defence technologies.”
Image courtesy GAMI
The GAMI governor admitted that it was a big task to localise 50% of the military expenditure and while it was early days yet, he had so far managed to reach 7-8% of that goal. Clearly the World Defense Show will be a useful tool to increase that figure even further before 2030.
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