LONDON: Saudi Arabia plans to host a massive international defense show as the world’s largest arms importer seeks to develop its own manufacturing sector.
Currently the International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi, is the region’s largest industry gathering, with the next one due to be held next February.
Former Farnborough Airshow CEO Shaun Ormrod has been hired as chief executive of Saudi Arabia’s biennial World Defense Show which will be held for the first time in March 2022.
Gulf states including Saudi Arabia and the UAE are investing heavily in their domestic defense industries to reduce their reliance on imports and increase the number of prized manufacturing jobs. The Kingdom, currently the third biggest spender on defense globally, aims to localize half of its military spending by 2030.
“The World Defense Show is a key milestone for Saudi Arabia as it continues to develop a sustainable local defense industry,” said Ahmad Al-Ohali, the governor of the General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI).
The show’s venue, that will accommodate about 80,000 square meters of floor space, will feature demonstration facilities and the latest military kit used across land, sea and air.