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RIYADH: In a bid to provide a fillip to the domestic defense industry, Saudi Arabia will launch its first-ever edition of the World Defense Show on Sunday. The four-day event held from March 6–9 will host 30,000 visitors, including high-level delegations and exhibitors from nearly 80 countries.

“March 6 will mark an important milestone in the Kingdom’s journey toward localizing 50 percent of its military expenditure by 2030,” said Ahmad Al-Ohali, governor of Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Military Industries, the organizer of the World Defense Show.

“There has never been a better time to partner with Saudi Arabia’s defense and security ecosystem as we continue to transform a nascent industry with immense potential. Our doors are open to international manufacturers and service providers who share our vision for technology transfer, talent development, and defense industrialization,” he added.

March 6 will mark an important milestone in the Kingdom’s journey toward localizing 50 percent of its military expenditure by 2030

Ahmad Al-Ohali, governor of Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Military Industries, the organizer of the World Defense Show

The show will accelerate the industry’s future by showcasing the latest technological developments and demonstrating defense interoperability across all major domains — air, land, sea, space and security systems.

The show will feature products and demonstrations from hundreds of local and global exhibitors, including international partners such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Navantia, BAE Systems, L3 Harris, and Norinco.

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“The level of international demand is unlike anything we have seen before in the industry, and that is testament to Saudi Arabia’s position as a key market for the industry and its vision to support economic growth through developing the defense sector. We look forward to inspiring conversations about the future of defense among visitors, delegations, and exhibitors from over 80 countries,” said World Defense Show CEO Andrew Pearcey.

The show will facilitate a unique platform for networking, collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and the discovery of innovations. A tailored meet-the-buyer program will host up to 600 meetings, connecting buyers and suppliers across the global defense industry.

Another flagship networking platform is “Meet the KSA Government Program,” highlighting opportunities in Saudi Arabia for investors to meet with critical local defense players and learn more about the industry’s strategy, objectives, tendering and procurement guidelines, and partnership requirements.

The government representation will include main partners ministries of defense, interior, national guard, Presidency of State Security, GAMI, and the Saudi Arabian Military Industries.

WDS venue in Riyadh

The World Defense Show venue spans 800,000 sq. meters and features three large exhibition halls, outdoor exhibit spaces, a dedicated interoperability demonstration area, a purpose-built 3km-long runway, and space for static aircraft.

Running up to six times per day, an interactive and immersive command and control center will feature a 20-minute show simulating the future of interoperability at the highest levels. There’s also a dedicated startup zone that will display the latest technologies driven by small and medium companies worldwide.

The venue has its own runway

Daily themed panel discussions and keynote presentations will introduce the audience to insights giving rise to the technologies exhibited at the show. Key Saudi entities developing the Kingdom’s industry and the economy will deliver sessions that offer insights into Saudi Arabia’s defense industry transformation.

On International Women’s Day, March 8, leading women in defense will gather at a special event to celebrate, promote, and accelerate participation in the defense industry. The full-day event will feature keynote presentations and interactive panel discussions to advocate for and connect with the diverse voices of today’s defense community.

The show’s final day will open its doors to 5,000 talented Saudi students from the Kingdom’s best STEM institutions for the Future Talent Program. The program will connect participants to career opportunities and apprenticeship programs in the defense and security sectors, offering valuable advice to young professionals to kickstart and progress their careers.

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