Ground forces reporting back from London!
These last few days I have been visiting the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) in London with several of my Elmatica colleagues. It has been a interesting fair, which brings the global defence and security industry together for discussions, knowledge sharing, present updated technology and new innovations.
The DSEI, is one of Europe’s most significant defence technology exhibitions, with more than 1600 exhibitors. 14 countries were represented, also with upcoming countries, like Poland and Turkey – to be considered as new actors in this industry.
Opportunities and experiences
For us, at Elmatica, being the largest, most certified and experienced broker of printed circuits in the defence industry, this is not only a excellent way to see what’s new in the market, catch up on new technology, but also a venue to talk to many of our partners around the globe. It’s a place to discuss projects and opportunities with new entities and experience how technology is being adapted across the globe.
This trip was planned several months ago. Both in scale and amount of exhibitors, DSEI is the largest european event in this sector – no doubt its of high interest for us as an experienced partner in the defence sector to visit.
So what did we expect to learn? What kind of learnings did we bring with us back home?
First of all, when we travel to London, the obliged tourist-selfie in front of Buckingham Palace had to be done. And ok, we might be more loyal, than royal! Still experts on printed circuits, thats for sure.
Personally I was impressed by the innovation in the industry on the digital aspect. Its no secret that the technological innovation in materials, 3D and software helps companies and organisations to perform tasks better, faster and in new ways.
The number of exhibitors are impressive and the stands with full size defence apparatus. 1600 exhibitors within the defence industry demand a location, which gives room for large products on display. Even a full size military fregatt, the HMS Argyle docked aside the conference hall, was on display for visitors to enter and take a closer look at.
With large fregatts and boats just outside the hall, the naval flavour was certain, however we also observed new technology in helicopters and airborne systems, unmanned systems, sensors and networking, as the military looks into replicating the commercial trends of IoT.
What we experienced, was that there is an immense innovation focus in the defence industry and a drastic shortening of time scale from product development and testing to implementation to existing or new defence systems. The main focus seems to have switched from the traditional weapon production, towards focusing on more advanced systems. The producers are moving towards more automated defence systems that are both manned and unmanned.
The unmanned systems, not just in the air as we traditionally have seen, but ground based handled by ground forces. Every army aim to reduce the burden on the dismounted soldier, develop systems which supports them in the complex battle scene.
Systems and equipment that are more or less unmanned, are for sure the future. Aeroplanes, RIBs, drones and boats, the possibilities seems endless. What we imagined some few years ago, is now a reality.
The unmanned systems provide a different support to the defence capabilities than we have experienced earlier. The ability to board unsecured vehicles and surveil non-identified groups or actions, contribute to a safer environment for all the parties involved.
If you have followed our blog the last months, you might have noticed, that this is not the first post, article or press release on this particular industry. This is no coincidence. We value all the industries we do business in equal. However, we have lately experienced that the knowledge on rules and regulations related to this industry, might cause a headache for product owners and end customers.
If the specifications when ordering or developing defence material are not addressed properly, you might end up in trouble. Compliance is a key factor between financial success or costly mistakes, especially if you are buying or selling defence material to the US.
Do not pour millions down the drain
As we experienced at the event in London, product owners display their technical solutions and new innovative machines. Imagine the consequence if in post production, the following aspect is discovered. PCB to the defence product has been bought from a non authorized country in relation to the end customer. Millions down the drain. Not just the loss of income on the product, but the costly affair to move the production or being banned from future deliveries to that country.
In all industries, but in particular the defence industry it is crucial to keep track of not just your contractors, but your subcontractors – not just on the larger visual parts, but to know the country of origin down to the tiniest component or PCB. Not everyone seems to know, or choose to ignore it.
As I have pointed out, there is a innovation focus in the defence industry, and I think Morten Brandtzæg, CEO of Nammo, summed it correctly in Defence News.
– The defense industry, as well as the largest governments, are too occupied with what’s been delivered before, stilting innovation, but also opening the door for smaller, more nimble countries to push game-changing technologies among its industrial base.
I agree that the industry needs to stop looking backwards to what they have delivered and start looking forwards, think outside the box. Use the technology to counter new threats and ensure that we are well positioned for future unnecessary challenges. At Elmatica we know, and we care. We have been a trusted supplier to the defence industry for decades. Our experience, formal certifications and approvals provide our partners with security.
As always on fairs, you get to meet lots of knowledgeable and highly skilled people. We always seek to have constructive and good discussion, and at the DSEI we had several. It’s a pleasure to meet up with partners, developers, technical innovators and product owners.
Thanks for now DSEI – see you next time!
Didrik Bech – CEO at Elmatica