Spazio-News Magazine will be media partner of Defence Exhibition Athens – DEFEA, the most modern exhibition centre in Greece which is located at Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos”. Spazio-News, a privileged observer, interviewed Mr. Vassilios Barkas, Director of DEFEA, in order to understand how the world of Defence industry changes and which technological challenges will be faced.
How did Defence Exhibition Athens – DEFEA come about and how are you preparing for the second edition?
Defence Exhibition Athens is the international defence and security show that takes place in Athens 9-11th of May 2023 at Metropolitan Expo Center, next to Athens International Airport. DEFEA is officially part of the Government Policy Plan for the Reinforcement and promotion of the National Defense Industrial Base.
The organisation of the first DEFEA in 2021 was a great success, with 315 exhibitors from 22 countries and the presence of 45 official national delegations at the very high political and military level. This year, the bar has been set even higher. In cooperation with the Hellenic Manufacturers of Defence Material Association (SEKPY), which represents more than 150 certified Greek defence companies, and under the auspices of the Ministry of National Defence, DEFEA will be once again an exhibition worthy of the history of defence exhibitions of our country and the importance of its geopolitical position.
However the second edition is much easier than the previous one, not only because of the experience gained, but because of two more factors. In the first edition we had to take measures to protect the public health, as the coronovirus pandemic was not yet over. And we are proud that these measures proved to be sufficient and thus none of our exhibitors and visitors was affected.
As about the preparations, we are happy to announce that after almost two years of contacts with the largest industries of the market internationally, the most important of them will be present in Greece next May. So far more than 350 enterprises from 27 countries have confirmed their participation and the list is still growing.
The technology is definitely a crucial factor to enforce the Defence, what are the solutions presented by companies?
High Technology is developed by the Research and Development Departments of the defense corporations exhibiting, as well as the Armed Forces and other entities of the MoD and start-ups involved. So there will be many different solutions for similar defence needs the countries are facing. All these solutions will be presented by the exhibitors in DEFEA, so that senior executives and decision makers, the Ministries of Defence and Citizen Protection that will be visiting, will have the best possible knowledge of the technological achievements available, so that they will prepare their future planning on procurement and forces structure. For that reason DEFEA whose goal is to constitute a reference point for the Southeast Europe and East Mediterranean region, will include defence industry events and workshops for the defence industry, as well as EU and NATO initiatives such as the EDF Cross-Project Conference, and NATO defence innovation initiatives, such as the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) and the NATO Innovation Fund. Moreover, it will include side actions on special and current matters, such as: The Future of Firefighting: Impact on Life, Environment, Economy; Piloting, Validation, and Best Practices of Innovative Border Management Solutions; and Critical Infrastructure Protection.
How about new geo-political scenarios and how DEFEA can support the development of new technologies?
An international defence exhibition is a forum for interstate contacts and international co-operation. In such a forum technology is examined in conjunction with the geo-political developments. DEFEA located in the crossroads of three continents is the forum for Southeast Europe, Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. However, in reality it works the opposite way. It is not the geo-political scenarios that guide or support the development of technologies. Technologies take a long time to develop. Thus, in the effort to deal with geo-political situations, decision makers and defence policy planners take into account the technological capabilities already available. And in DEFEA, they can have the best possible briefing for such technological achievements. Additionally, they may have the touch with the future, as DEFEA’s Exhibitors are also presenting the trends shaping tomorrow’s defence technology and the future systems that will be available to the Armed Forces in the next decades.
Finally, could you please provide us an advice for who plans to attend this event?
Already Ministers and General Armaments Directors and Chiefs of Armed Forces from NATO, EU and other countries are planning to attend DEFEA 2023 and have contacts with the biggest industries of the defence sector internationally, as well as with their counterparts in the Hellenic Ministry of National Defence and Armed Forces. Specifically, the Hellenic Ministry of National Defence has issued more than 65 official invitations to counterparts as well as to high level Military Delegations.
Furthermore, matchmaking events will be arranged also through the electronic platform which will be available for our visitors during DEFEA 2023.