Arms Industry Hardware on Show
September 30, 2013
Products by 400 companies from 23 countries were showcased at this year’s 21st International Defense Industry Exhibition (MSPO) in Kielce, 200 km south of Warsaw, Sept. 2-5.
Exhibitors took up almost 25,000 square meters of space and represented countries including Italy, Spain, Turkey, Sweden, Belgium, germany, Norway, Sweden, and the Czech Republic, in addition to Canada and the United States.
This year’s show attracted 13,000 visitors who had a chance to see cutting-edge defense systems such as “the digital battlefield” and “the soldier of the future,” in addition to a military driving simulator equipped with a night vision system.
Since it was first held in 1993, the International Defense Industry exhibition has grown to become Central Europe’s most important event of this kind. It is also the third largest military exhibition in Europe.
This year, for the third time, the exhibition was held under the auspices of Polish President Bronisław Komorowski, who also opened the event.
In his opening address, Komorowski congratulated the organizers on how the event has developed over the years. “I remember the first show and can see how far we’ve come,” he said, adding the exhibition showed that Poland’s defense industry is a success story.
Treasury Minister Włodzimierz Karpiński and Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak both attended the show. They briefed journalists on the government’s plans to consolidate Poland’s defense industry, saying that all state-owned companies in the sector will be subject to the process. The idea behind the move is to combine all defense industry assets managed by the Treasury Ministry so that companies can work together more efficiently, the officials said.
For a number of years the event has been accompanied by special exhibitions staged by participating countries, which have become a permanent fixture. This year Turkey put its military potential on display, marking 90 years since diplomatic relations were established between that country and Poland. A concert by Turkey’s oldest military band, accompanied by the Polish armed forces’ official orchestra, was the highlight of this year’s exhibition opening ceremony.
The Kielce show is a venue for many important meetings. For example, defense industry giant Polski Holding Obronny hosted a summit of defense industry officials from Weimar Triangle and Visegrad Group countries. In another highlight, the Mesko company from Skarżysko Kamienna in south-central Poland signed a cooperation agreement with the U.S. corporation Lockheed Martin involving the Homar rocket program, which aims to provide Poland with a rocket protection system. The agreement is of pivotal importance to Poland’s defense system.
The exhibition also attracted the deputy defense minister of Ukraine, Arturo Babenko, who praised the exhibition and said Ukraine is interested in exchanging experience with Poland in the field of defense and national security. According to Babenko, the International Defense Industry Exhibition is a valuable event that showcases key defense industry products. “Everything is displayed in one place, ranging from products for the army to those for the air force,” he said. “I wish to express my gratitude for the people in Poland who advocate Ukraine’s integration with the European Union.”
As in previous years, an awards ceremony was held on the last day of the exhibition. This year the Polish President’s Award was presented to a consortium of Wojskowe Zakłady Mechaniczne, a company from Siemianowice ¦l±skie, in southern Poland; Autocomp Management from Szczecin; and Trinity Interactive from Warsaw—for its training simulator for the Rosomak armored vehicle. Moreover, the panel of judges handed out Defender awards from the defense minister to outstanding defense sector companies. These were presented by Gen. Waldemar Skrzypczak, Poland’s deputy defense minister.