RIYADH — Several leading Saudi, regional and international companies are showing massive interest to expand their investments through participating in the second edition of the World Defense Show (WDS) which will be held in February 2024 in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

The exhibitors were quick to reserve 93 percent of the exhibition space, estimated at about 47,000 square meters, that is, five months before the scheduled commencement of the leading global defense and security event. The WDS serves one of the pillars of Vision 2030, achieving the Kingdom’s goal to localize 50 percent of its military equipment spending by 2030.

The General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) is organizing the event on February 4-8 under the patronage of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, and the event embodies the government’s aspirations to organize one of the best defense and security exhibitions in the world. The event focuses on the future of the defense industry by showcasing the latest global technological developments across land, sea, air, space, and security sectors.

It also facilitates communication with decision-makers in the defense field from the Kingdom and the world, featuring royal visits, official delegations, government officials, and executives from various defense and security industries. The exhibition draws its importance from the Kingdom’s strategic location at the heart of global supply chains, making it an exceptional venue for the event.

The second edition of the show targets 750 exhibitors from 45 countries, 115 official delegations, and 100,000 visitors from within the Kingdom and abroad. The Chinese, Turkish, American, and UAE pavilions will be among the largest pavilions at WDS, along with pavilions of South Korea, Russia, Croatia, Austria, Poland, Estonia, Greece, Ukraine, and other countries.

The show will witness new programs, most notably: “the Future Platform of Defense”; “the Future of Defense Forum”; “Journey to the Future”; “Space Platform”; and “Communication and Acquaintance Meetings,” in addition to the basic programs that the event witnessed during last season, including air shows, accompanied conferences, and ground and live demonstration area.

The first day of the exhibition will be dedicated to the presence of important figures, delegations, exhibitors and the media, in addition to organizing the high profile “Future of Defense Forum”. It includes prominent speakers presenting their visions and ideas and discussing the future of defense and security.

Through the “Future of Defense Platform,” inventors will present their ideas to investors, demonstrating the importance of continuous innovation for the future of the industry. The “Space Arena” will highlight the rapid progress in space technology and its crucial role in the future of the military, defense and security industries.

Regarding the “Journey to the Future” program, visitors will have a unique experience by highlighting the features and activities that focus on the future of defense, and thus enhancing interaction between attendees and exhibitors.

During the first edition of World Defense Show, held in March last year, 81 percent of exhibitors agreed that the event offers world-class display and networking features, and 77 percent of companies saw the event as focusing on technology and innovation, while 82 percent described the quality of the exhibition as excellent.

On behalf of King Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman, who is also chairman of the Board of Directors of GAMI, inaugurated the first edition of the show and toured its facilities, which witnessed the participation of more than 590 companies from around the world.

The first edition witnessed unprecedented interest from local and global defense markets. It saw the presence of 600 exhibitors, and 65,000 commercial visits from 45 countries, as well as 100 official delegations, 16,000 registered exhibitors, and 26 of the top 40 global defense companies, which resulted in the conclusion of purchase contracts worth SR29.7 billion ($7.7 billion).

The show achieved great success, exceeding expectations to become one of the leading defense exhibitions that attracts the sector’s attention. The main objectives of holding the exhibition focus on strengthening the Kingdom’s position in the defense and security industry at the global level, benefiting from the latest technologies, exchanging experiences, presenting ideas, and displaying products to explore the future of the sector.

The Saudi government targets the exhibition to become one of the three most important exhibitions in the defense and security industry in the world by 2030, and for the country to have an effective role within the global supply chains concerned with the fields of land, sea, air, space, and security defense.

The exhibition supports international business tourism by hosting high-level international delegations, exhibitors and visitors, and also the country’s goals of localizing more than 50 percent of government spending on defense and military services and products by 2030.

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