Countdown Begins for DefExpo 2018

By Anantha Narayanan K 17-Mar-2018

The countdown for DefExpo 2018, the biennial Land, Naval and Internal Homeland Security Systems Exhibition, has begun. And this time the South Indian city of Chennai has been selected for the first time as the venue for the massive four-day event. The tenth edition of DefExpo will be held at Kancheepuram near Chennai in Tamil Nadu, from 11th to 14th April 2018. In order to encourage the Indian small and medium scale defence companies, the Ministry of Defence has reduced the participation charges significantly compared to last year. This will give a major boost to MSMEs for showcasing their latest defence products at the expo.

Over the past editions, DefExpo has witnessed an unprecedented growth in terms of participants, visitors, delegations, exhibitors etc. The ninth edition of DefExpo India, held in Goa in March 2016, has recorded an unparalleled growth in foreign as well as domestic companies’ participation over its previous editions. It has witnessed a 50% increase in terms of participants, 60% growth in number of exhibitors and nearly twice the number of delegations. The event has marked around 100,000 footfalls and around 1000 companies put on display their latest innovations and products. Around 230 foreign companies from 32 countries have participated in the even with 15 country pavilions. And all these records are expected to be broken in Chennai this year as the DefExpo India is gaining popularity around the globe as an ideal platform to display the best in the industry.

DefExpo 2018 will, for the first time, project India’s Defence manufacturing capabilities to the world. This is reflected in the tagline for the Expo, which is ‘India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub’. The event will brand India as a defence exporter of several defence systems and components for all three Services - Army, Navy and Air Force. While showcasing strengths of India’s substantial public sector, it will also uncover India’s growing private industry and spreading MSME base for components and sub-systems.

The exhibition will brandish Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s various flying platforms including domestically designed and manufactured fourth-generation Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) - Tejas; Advanced Light Helicopter - Dhruv which have both civil as well as combat variants; Light Combat Helicopter for which IOC was received recently; Dornier civilian aircraft for which DGCA clearance was received and which is likely to be inducted for regional connectivity purposes. Apart from HAL’s platforms, the Expo will also promote domestic private industry and aero-components industry.

As the DefExpo is being held on sea-shore, along the East Coast road from Chennai to Mahabalipuram, it provides Indian Navy to brandish its domestic design and manufacturing capabilities. India will proudly present its Naval designing capabilities in shipbuilding. India is one of the few countries of the world with capabilities to design a naval vessel from scratch to finish. India will also physically showcase, along the shoreline several frigates, corvettes and other ships. The exhibition will also unveil India’s capabilities in manufacturing Scorpene class submarine. Naval shipyards in public sector including Mazagon Docks, GRSE, Goa Shipyards, Hindustan Shipyard and private shipyards will bring to view their capabilities in manufacturing and servicing ships. There is growing demand for Indian built vessels from many countries in South Asia, ASEAN and Africa and DefExpo will be a perfect stage to unfold the might of India’s shipbuilding capabilities.

About land systems, India will unveil its 155mm Advanced Towed Artillery Gun (ATAG) in DefExpo. This is the first time that India has its own ATAG which has been designed and developed by DRDO in partnership with Kalyani Group, Tata Power and OFBs. India also proposes to showcase its tank making capabilities, including MBT Arjun, T90 and T-72, Bridge Laying Tanks (BLTs) with a span of over 70 feet among others. India will also be showcasing 155mm artillery gun 'Dhanush'.

The Defence Minster Nirmala Sitharaman has said that DefExpo will attract visitors from over 80 countries by providing an environment for partnership and growth for the defence suppliers as well as OEMs which want to be a part of the climbing economic trajectory India enjoys. It will cover the complete spectrum of the country's aerospace, defence and security interests. India's mammoth defence expenditure, sheer size, geo-political standing and growing military modernisation make it a prime market for foreign companies looking to export aerospace, defence and security products. This year’s expo will give the State of Tamil Nadu an opportunity to prove its strength as one of the largest hubs for defence manufacturing in India.

Given the focus on highlighting India as an emerging defence production hub, DefExpo 2018 has earmarked at least half the space for domestic exhibitors. This will make DefExpo 2018 the biggest ever opportunity to show their capabilities and integrate with the global supply chain of defence manufacturing. Emphasis is being put on inviting delegations from countries which have shown keen interest in India’s weapon systems and platforms so that DefExpo 2018 provides a boost to overall defence manufacturing capabilities in the country and to its export potential.