The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » Monthly - September 30, 2015
Poland Meetings Destination
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Defense Industry Shows off Wares in Poland
   
A total of 586 exhibitors from 30 countries came to show their wares at the 23rd International Defense Industry Exhibition (MSPO) in Kielce, some 200 km south of Warsaw, Sept. 1-4.

Taking up 27,000 square meters of space, this year’s event was the largest exhibition to be held at the Targi Kielce exhibition and congress center to date. In addition to almost 20,000 visitors, it was attended by the Polish president, Andrzej Duda, and official delegations from 58 countries. The event comprised meetings, discussions and presentations and was accompanied by the 21st Logistyka International Logistics Fair.

According to Katarzyna Prostak, deputy director for trade fairs at Targi Kielce, the exhibition was notable not just for its record number of exhibitors and visitors. “Particularly worth mentioning are the organizational and logistics-related solutions we used during this year’s exhibition,” says Prostak. “We learn from the largest organizers of defense exhibitions in Europe, such as Eurosatory in Paris and DSEI in London. We have been gradually developing our infrastructure to finally introduce new solutions this year. Examples include meeting rooms for business negotiations. We met the expectations of exhibitors, providing them with extra space to meet their future partners. This shows we deserve our position as the third biggest defense industry exhibition in Europe after London and Paris.”

Praise from the president
Prostak says official foreign delegations at the exhibition are a result of the organizers’ good relations with the Polish Defense Ministry. “The delegations add value to the event,” says Prostak. “Our exhibition is also attended by specialists and people who make decisions regarding the purchase of military equipment.” Official guests at this year’s exhibition included President Duda, who during the closing gala presented a special prize awarded to a product that has most improved the safety of Polish soldiers. In his presentation speech, Duda also praised the organizers of the exhibition.

Norwegian know-how
Exhibitions by individual countries have been a regular part of the International Defense Industry Exhibition since 2004. So far, visitors have seen countries such as Germany, France, Israel, the United States, Sweden, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Britain, Italy and Turkey displaying their military potential. This year it was Scandinavia’s turn again, with the spotlight on Norway. Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide highlighted the importance of Polish-Norwegian cooperation and said she felt honored to attend the exhibition and show what Norwegian defense companies had to offer.

Contacts and contracts
Andrzej Mochoń, CEO of Targi Kielce, says many important contracts were signed at the event. The business aspect aside, the contracts are a promise of long-lasting partnership and access to research and development.

“Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa [arms group] unveiled its strategy and signed a cooperation agreement with Boeing on aviation, astronautics and defense,” says Mochoń. “The Zakłady Lotnicze Nr 2 [aviation facility in Bydgoszcz] signed a preliminary deal with SAAB on joint efforts to modernize systems used by the Polish Air Force, including upgrades of MiG-29 aircraft. [Arms producer] MESKO partnered up with Turkish corporation Roketsan, TAI and Orbital ATK from the United States. Roketsan will also work with the Zakłady Lotnicze Nr 1 [aviation facility] in Łódź. [Military equipment producer] Lubawa signed a contract with the Ukroboronprom corporation in Ukraine. I could mention many more contracts and I can promise that as far as international cooperation and technology transfer are concerned, each contract is important to the development of the industry and of the Polish army. I am glad to see we have become an important event in terms of the defense industry’s development in Europe and beyond.”

More than 40 conferences, briefings, presentations and debates took place during the exhibition, giving defense industry insiders and military and government officials a perfect opportunity to share expertise, learn about cutting-edge military technology, to hold talks and establish new contacts.

Broad media coverage
While the International Defense Industry Exhibition broke records in terms of the number of exhibitors, visitors and new products, it also drew a lot of media attention, with over 564 reporters, photojournalists and television crews accredited by the Targi Kielce Press Office. Along with national and local Polish media, the event in Kielce was attended by journalists from 12 other countries: Britain, Ukraine, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, Hungary, Greece, Belgium, Slovakia and France. They filed 2,700 stories in total.

The future
According to Prostak, the exhibition organizers have many more goals to achieve. “We want to increase the number of visitors who represent national agencies, the armed forces as well as other areas,” says Prostak. “The exhibition is the best way to promote Poland’s defense industry. Polish companies are frequently unable to attend events in Paris, London and the Arab Emirates, as the prices there are much higher. The more visitors we bring in, visitors keen to buy equipment, the more companies will want to exhibit their products. That way, the market will gain momentum and our exhibition will grow stronger.”