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January 13, 2009
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Strong bond between venue and organiser looks set to produce best ever Gulf defence show




Investments by the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) to boost facilities at its venue in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) capital, will ensure next year’s IDEX (International Defence Exhibition & Conference) will be the best-ever since inception, according to top officials involved in the organisation of the show.

IDEX, first held in 1993 and biennially since, is one of the world’s largest defence events catering for Land, Sea and Air Systems and Equipment. IDEX 2009 will be held 22-26 February 2009 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre under the patronage of HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the UAE, ruler of Abu Dhabi and supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The show is organised by ADNEC in coordination with the UAE Armed Forces GHQ.

Big improvements
Major venue enhancements undertaken by ADNEC for IDEX 2009 include a doubling of indoor exhibit space to 55,000 square metres since the previous edition in 2007, dredging of the channel opposite the exhibition centre will allow naval vessels up to frigate size to berth right alongside the venue, the construction of a 350-metre quay and connecting bridge from the main exhibition centre, and the planned development of a test track for live vehicle mobility demonstrations of tracked and wheeled vehicles, opposite the ADNEC grandstand.

“With the support of the UAE leadership and the active involvement of the UAE Armed Forces, IDEX has emerged as one of the premier showcases for systems and equipment for all three defence environments – land, maritime and air,” said ADNEC managing director HE Ali Saeed Bin Harmal Al Dhaheri.

“The show provides a focal point for defence procurement in the Middle East North Africa and Sub Continent region. We are very conscious of IDEX’s importance to the UAE and to Abu Dhabi, and the platform it represents for the global defence industry. We have, therefore, invested substantially to re-develop the venue for this next edition which promises to be the best-ever IDEX, since the show was first held in 1993.”

Space invaders
The completion of Phase 2 of ADNEC’s new venue has doubled total indoor exhibit space and IDEX will occupy all 12 halls of the newly-completed exhibition centre. The Al Bateen Channel opposite the venue had been dredged to 6 metres thereby enabling frigate size warships to berth alongside the venue. The 350-metre quay under construction will be connected to the venue via a foot-bridge thereby improving accessibility for visitors.

In addition, the facilities for the traditional small craft demonstration have been improved, allowing companies to demonstrate a wider range of smaller vessels, such as patrol boats and landing craft designed for inshore and amphibious operations.

The previous eight editions of IDEX have seen warships having to dock at Port Mina Zayed, some 20 kilometres from the main IDEX exhibition venue. Next year, however, companies will have the opportunity to demonstrate their products on board the visiting warships as well as on their stands.
Besides the naval vessels, a full range of maritime systems, including port and coastal protection, will be displayed at the show.

A number of international companies have expressed interest in participating in the mobility demonstrations, which have always been a popular feature of the show. Progress is also being made in developing a test-track for these demonstrations in front of the ADNEC grandstand.

Staff Major General Obaid Al Ketbi, chairman of the IDEX 2009 Military Committee said: “I am pleased to note that preparations are well on-track for IDEX 2009 and would like to commend ADNEC for their determination and commitment to delivering a world-class show. The UAE Armed Forces GHQ is very pleased to be working with ADNEC to make the 2009 edition another historic success.”

Large numbers expected
IDEX 2009 is poised to attract over 900 exhibitors from 52 countries. At last count, 34 nations will maintain national pavilions at the exhibition. The number of official delegations expected to visit the show number more than 100.

Contracts worth more than AED 2 billion ($545 million) were announced at the last show including AED 1.4 billion ($380 million) worth of deals signed by the UAE Armed Forces General Al Ketbi said that he was optimistic that the forthcoming edition would see more defence deals being signed.

On top of  a broad exhibitor portfolio, IDEX also delivers an international audience of key decision-makers from governments, the military and industry, including ministers, chiefs-of-staff, senior government officials, national and international delegations, strategists, analysts, international contractors, systems integrators and service providers.

Capitalising on this, Janes will be organising the Gulf Defence Conference (GDC), regarded in international academic and military circles as a top forum on defence strategy, will be held on 23 February 2009 during IDEX. The conference will focus on emerging threats and new security challenges and feature expert international speakers.

The collaboration between ADNEC and IDEX reveals how developing a strong relationship between venue and organiser can benefit delegates and exhibitors as well as improve the event overall.


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