The 2021 edition of the International Defence and Security Fair of Spain has already far exceeded its expectations of welcoming a greater number of participating companies and organisations than at its inaugural show in 2019.
Five months ahead of the official opening scheduled for 3 November, the president of FEINDEF 2021, former Defence Minister Julián García Vargas, has assured that the marketing of the show "is going very well" and has confirmed that a total of 168 companies and official organisations have already contracted spaces in the exhibition area.
The organisation piloted by García Vargas is very satisfied when comparing the number of entities attending with the figures of the first edition, held at the end of May 2019. There were a total of 130 exhibitors then, which means that the increase compared to two years ago is 29,2 percent.
For the former defence minister, FEINDEF 2021 "is going very well" from a commercial point of view. Of the 168 stands already contracted, 150 correspond to companies, of which 48 are international and the rest to official, national and foreign entities.
Among the national companies are Aernnova, Alestis Aerospace, DAS Photonics, Einsa, Elecnor Deimos, Escribano M&E, Expal, Fecsa, Gahn, GMV, Hisdesat, Indra, Instalaza, Inster, ITP Aero, Navantia, PLD, Sener, Tecnobit and Uro.
From the international sphere are Airbus, Elbit Systems, General Dynamics European Land Systems, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, MBDA, Nexter, Saab and Thales. Attending industries from Austria, the United States and the Czech Republic will be grouped under national pavilions, all of which means that the organisers have contracted 31,000 square metres at the Institución Ferial de Madrid, IFEMA, more than double the amount of space available in 2019.
The ambitious target set by the organisers is to reach 300 exhibitors, but that is the "ideal figure", says the former minister. "I'm happy with the 168 we have now, although at this stage it is still feasible to reach 300 stands".
A showcase for the wide-ranging capabilities that Spanish industry has and offers on a global scale, García Vargas stressed that the focus of the 2021 edition "is not exclusively to showcase defence material". The aim of FEINDEF 2021 is "to showcase the security and defence-related technology created by our companies and used by official bodies in different fields of activity".
FEINDEF 2021 is conceived as a professional trade fair with the aim of being "a great opportunity for Spanish companies to meet their European neighbours". Within the framework of the European Union's Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIPP), the implementation of any project requires the cooperation of at least three companies from three different countries. This is why "it is important for our companies to build up a network of international relations".
In the third year of implementation of the European defence funds and the first year of the European Resilience Action Plan, both budgetary frameworks "benefit our most developed SMEs and companies," García Vargas emphasises. They are "aimed at promoting not only military technology but also dual-use technology, and for the moment, Spanish companies are achieving notable successes in the annual calls for proposals".
In parallel to the exhibition, different forums have been devised. One of them is dedicated to the incorporation of women into technology companies and the Armed Forces. Another will focus on military talent that can be incorporated into civilian life, "especially when passing to the reserve administrative situation", said Marine Colonel Ramón Pérez Alonso, Managing Director of the Feindef Foundation.
En el marco del salón también tendrá lugar la fase final de los Premios Fundación FEINDEF a la Innovación o DSiB, acrónimo de Defense Security Innovation The final phase of the FEINDEF Foundation Awards for Innovation or DSiB, an acronym for Defence Security Innovation Brokerage, will also take place at the show. Its aim is to highlight those technologies that can be transferred to other aspects of industry and services, through the exchange of ideas and bringing together entrepreneurs, companies, the academic world, research organisations and end users.
FEINDEF 2021 is organised by the FEINDEF Foundation, a new structure whose trustees are the Ministry of Defence, headed by Margarita Robles; the Spanish Association of Defence, Security, Aeronautics and Space Technology Companies (TEDAE), chaired by Ricardo Martí Fluxá; and the Association of Companies Contracting with Public Administrations (AESMIDE), headed by Gerardo Sánchez Revenga.
The former minister stressed that the FEINDEF Foundation has not only been set up to hold an equipment exhibition. "It was also set up to implement complementary initiatives to promote defence culture in Spain."
Security measures against COVID-19 will be based on international standards and the new B Safe system, emphasises Colonel Ramón Pérez Alonso, managing director of the Feindef Foundation. It provides "traceability to the people and equipment" that will be on display at FEINDEF 2021 to avoid "collisions in movements". Exhibitors and visitors will be able to attend without fear, concludes Julián Gracia Vargas.