Companies from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine are not attending Defence Services Asia (DSA) 2022, for obvious reasons, but the three-day event at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre, which has returned after a gap of four years, has not lost any of its sheen because of their absence.
As many as 1,170 companies from 54 countries are at the 17th edition of the event, showcasing the latest in military equipment and technologies in the land, air, sea and cyber domain at the exhibition venue that is spread over 38,000 square metres. The significance of the event and its enduring popularity can be gleaned from the fact that there are as many as 20 country pavilions, from host country Malaysia, United Kingdom, United States, Turkey, France, China, Canada, Japan, Indonesia, Germany, Italy, Austria, Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Pakistan, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
The biggest contingent of companies is from Turkey, which had a strong presence at the recently concluded DIMDEX 2022 as well. Among the companies from Turkey that are at the event are Turkish Aerospace Industries, Aselsan, STM, Roketsan, Turan Ammo, Simsoft, Nurol Makina, Havelsan, and Dearsan Shipyard. Most of the major international players, including Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Leonardo, Thales, BAE Systems, SAAB, Northrop Grumman, Fincantieri, Honeywell, L3Harris, Navantia, and Nexter Systems are attending.
The event, which will conclude on March 31, has a wide range of exhibits that include airborne platforms and surveillance systems, land and sea-based platforms, unmanned systems and robotics, training and simulation systems, systems for critical assets protection, as well as ammunition and explosives. The second NATSEC Asia 2022 or National Security Asia 2022 is being held concurrently with DSA.
The presence of major exhibitors from all regions is primarily because Malaysia is looking to modernize its military capabilities. Among its planned purchases is 18 light fighter aircraft; among those in the fray is Leonardo with the M-346 Master, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China with the Hongdu L-15 Falcon, India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas made by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Turkish Aerospace Industries’ Hurjet, and Korean Aerospace Industries’ FA- 50. The aircraft selected will replace the ageing fleet of BAE Systems-made Hawk 108 trainers and Hawk 208 light-attack jets.
Keenly watched during the show will be the growing relationship between Turkey and Malaysia. The host country has in recent years purchased military equipment, mainly armoured vehicles, from Turkey and also depends on its support to develop its indigenous defence industry. Turkey, which saw defence exports zoom past US$3 billion in 2021, is targeting US$4 billion this year and will be looking to make a real impression at the ongoing event.
According to DSA Exhibition and Conference executive director Nadzeem Abdul Rahman, the event is likely to attract about 4,800 international visitors, including domain experts, government officials, industry leaders and media. More than 15,000 local visitors are also expected over the course of the three days. With the pandemic yet to be a thing of the past, all COVID-19 protocols are being followed to ensure the health and safety of the participants.
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