In an interview with Defensehere.com, Amanda Stainer, Chief Commercial Officer of the World Defense Show, discussed the upcoming edition of the World Defense Show, scheduled to take place in the capital city of Riyadh from February 4th to 8th, 2024.
WDS is organized by Saudi Arabia's General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI).
According to official records, the inaugural edition of WDS in 2022 witnessed the participation of over 600 exhibitors and attracted 65,000 visitors during the four-day event in Riyadh. The show resulted in defense deals and announcements worth SR29.7 billion ($7.9 billion).
"The World Defense Show will be held in Riyadh from February 4th to 8th, 2024. It is Saudi Arabia's premier defense exhibition, focusing on defense across five domains: land, air, sea, space, and security," said Amanda Stainer, Chief Commercial Officer of the World Defense Show. "The show features a comprehensive exhibition, conference program, as well as land and air displays."
WDS 2030 Vision
"WDS primarily focuses on Saudi Arabia's 2030 vision. The vision aims to achieve the localization of 50% of defense expenditure by 2030. This goal underscores the Kingdom's commitment to forging partnerships with international and regional stakeholders," explained Stainer.
"The World Defense Show brings together global leaders, international delegations and defense and security participants from around the world, providing an excellent opportunity to engage with the Kingdom and contribute to its localization program. Additionally, the show serves as a platform to showcase cutting-edge technology and innovation," Stainer added.
What's New at WDS 2024?
Regarding the 2024 edition of WDS, Stainer shared, "We have an exciting addition to the show this year. The Space Arena which will be located in the new Exhibition Hall 3 specifically will focus on space and provide insights into its future by 2030 or even 2050."
"The Space Arena offers exhibitors an opportunity to showcase the latest developments in Space technology. Moreover, it serves as a platform for the Kingdom to demonstrate its interest in space, with the participation of the Saudi Space Agency, CST, and the Ministry of Defense sharing insights with international partners on the future of space exploration," Stainer elaborated.
The WDS Agenda
"The program at WDS holds immense significance as it serves as a gateway to investment in Saudi Arabia, connecting exhibitors and visitors to key Saudi defense government entities and facilitating the sharing of procurement and investment guidelines. The show introduces new and enhanced features, such as the Future Talent Program, B2B Connect, Content Theatres, and Journey to the Future, offering an immersive experience with innovative defense technologies. WDS aligns with Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 and the goal of localizing over 50% of military expenditure by 2030, contributing to the country's economic diversification. Through programs like the Future Talent Program, Meet the KSA Government Program, and Journey to the Future, WDS provides a pathway to support and engage with Vision 2030. Furthermore, WDS has emerged as a vibrant discussion hub for the global defense industry, fostering insightful conversations on the future of the defense sector through conferences and panels such as the Future of Defense Forum and Content Theatres."
New Opportunities for Start-ups at WDS
"At WDS, we place a significant focus on innovation and technology. This begins with research and development at universities. We have established the Future of Defense hub that specifically targets research and development at universities, encouraging their participation. Start-ups and university projects can showcase their prototypes, ideas, and data, and engage in discussions and pitches," Stainer revealed. "We also have an investor program to facilitate opportunities for these promising companies. The future of defense begins with these upcoming universities and research and development centers. It's an exciting part of our program."
Turkish Participation at WDS
Stainer expressed delight regarding Turkish participation, stating, "We are delighted to welcome 22 Turkish companies to WDS 2024, and we anticipate more participation. The Turkish pavilion will be one of the largest at the show. It's fantastic to have them on board."
"The Future of Defense is at WDS"
"Let's talk about our new features as well—the journey to the future. In response to requests from exhibitors, we will be showcasing a wide variety of new products that have never been showcased before. The future of defense is on display at WDS, across every aspect of the exhibition," Stainer highlighted.
"This time, we are reaching out to exhibitors early, asking them what's new and what they would like to highlight. We will map their contributions throughout the show, guiding attendees to the latest products and creating dedicated threads to showcase innovation and technology," Stainer concluded.