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IMDEX Asia 2017: The Biggest Yet

11th IMDEX Asia

The 11th edition of IMDEX Asia, the Asia Pacific’s premier international maritime defence show, kicked-off on 16 May in Changi Exhibition Centre, Singapore. Organised for the fourth consecutive year by Experia Events Pte Ltd., and again supported by the Republic of Singapore Navy, the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), it is the biggest edition yet.

The Asia-Pacific region has become the world’s second largest naval market and is expected to spend around U$200 billion on new platforms by 2032, making up roughly 25% of the global projected new ship market. Submarines, patrol vessels, frigates and amphibious ships making up the primary group of these future new naval projects. With such a strong naval market growth in the Asia-Pacific region, IMDEX Asia is more than ever the platform of choice for delegates and trade visitors to learn more about the wide range of innovative technologies on offer and to network and forge partnerships with industry leaders from around the world.

By the year 2020, 19 Asia Pacific countries will account for nearly one-third of global defence budgets and more than one-third of all active-duty military personnel. Asia Pacific economies are also projected to drive 60% of the global increase in defence acquisition. Across the region, several countries are building up their navies. This is partly due to the continued growth in the region’s maritime commerce, and partly in response to China’s fast expanding naval presence. It comes as no surprise that Asia Pacific is expected to replace Europe as the second biggest submarine market over the next ten years. The regional market will grow from the current $7.3 billion to $11 billion in 2025. The global submarine market is expected to grow by 4.74% ($36.3billion) by 2026 and as such is Asia Pafific to replace Europe as the second biggest submarine market and the region will account for the largest spending on corvettes / offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) over the next 10 years.

The importance of IMDEX Asia was again underlined by a strong international participation, bringing together some 230 companies from more than 29 countries. In addition to the eight returning Pavillions (France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Singapore and the UK) , the China Pavilion, made its debut, while the India Pavillion doubled in space compared to 2015.

Apart from the returning exhibitors, such as Damen, DCNS, Israel Aerospace Industries, Lockheed Martin, L3 Technologies, Rheinmetall, Saab, ST Engineering, and thyssenkrupp Marine Systems – to name but a few – the show welcomes several new exhibitors such as Asia Security Technologies, Baglietto Navy, CAE, Controp Precision Technologies, Ferretti Security & Defence, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Intermarine, IMI Systems, Jeumont Electric, Larsen & Toubro, Marine Commerce, MTech Imaging, Nova Systems, Orbit Communication Systems, Parsh Marine, and Tractors Singapore.

Static displays on the exhibition floor included the OPH ROUGHNECK robotic welded boat, the Pioner multi landing craft and the new stackable Whaly 500 Pro from Kairos Spore Holdings P/L. The Republic of Singapore Navy showcased their Insitu ScanEagle UAV, the Rafael PROTECTOR USV, the mine killer K-Ster, light weight torpedoes and CCM Zodiac Combatant Craft Medium.

The 2017 edition also sees the largest number of warships at the ‘Warships Display,’ with 28 warships from 20 navies and 19 units from the host Navy. Moreover, for the very first time, IMDEX Asia also hosts the Commercial Maritime Cyber Security Forum, which brings naval and maritime industry players together to discuss the modern maritime threat landscape and the vulnerability of high value units to cyber-attacks.

At today’s Official Opening Ceremony Singapore’s Minister of Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen, the Guest-of-Honour, said that, “the seas around us are strategic and will remain so far into the future. The sea lines of communication ( SLOCs) must remain open and stable for all to use. SLOCs are the global commons which we and all other stakeholders must collectively protect and preserve. Integral to these collective efforts is dialogue and cooperation, supported by the institutionalisation and acceptance of a rules-based order by all countries.”

He also emphasised that the Republic of Singapore Navy plays a major role in efforts to tackle regional maritime security threats, through the Malacca Straits Patrol with Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, as well as assisting in regional efforts to combat maritime terrorism through the Information Fusion Centre in Changi Naval Base.

On this first day of IMDEX ASIA the Singapore Ministry of Defence signed a contract with thyssenkrupp Marine System to acquire two additional Type 218SG submarines. The first two Type 218SG submarines, which commenced construction in 2014, are projected for delivery by 2021.

Leading up to IMDEX ASIA 2017, the Republic of Singapore’s first-ever International Maritime Review (IMR) commemorated the Royal Singapore Navy (RSN) 50th Anniversary, held on 15 May 2017. During the review the RSN’s newly-commissioned Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV) RSS Independence made her debut, as the inspecting ship for Singapore’s President Tony Tan Keng Yam -the ‘reviewing officer’ – and high-ranking officers of the participating navies. The IMR, for which 46 warships from ASEAN Member States, the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus grouping and the Western Pacific Naval Symposium members had gathered in Changi, was attended by some 30 navy chiefs, vice navy chiefs and directors-general of coast guards, and more than 40 flag rank officers, from 44 nations.

Guy Toremans


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