Clarion Events Defence and Security appointed in November 2020 Rear Admiral (ret) Jon Pentreath CB OBE FRAeS as Military Advisor, primarily providing dedicated support for Clarion’s principal event, DSEI, as well as the specialist Undersea Defence Technology conference and exhibition.
Fully endorsed by the UK Ministry of Defence, DSEI has a strategically strong standing in the naval and land communities. The expertise Pentreath brings to the role will reinforce DSEI’s growth in these markets, further develop the Royal Navy and British Army’s engagement with industry, and lead the growth of international delegations, high-level military and VIP participants for the event.
Naval News: With nine months to go until DSEI 2021, how is the preparation going?
Jon Pentreath: DSEI preparation is progressing well and we are we are committed to delivering DSEI 2021 in September at the London ExCeL centre as planned. While the trajectory of the pandemic is still not clear, what is evident is the enthusiasm and appetite in the defence community to come together again and we are doing all we can to facilitate that. The DSEI floorplan is, at time of printing, 80% sold; with the vast majority of the biggest industry players confirmed to take a stand. We are also seeing increased demand in the Naval domains and have increased the Zone to accommodate this. DSEI is also preparing to welcome over 90 new exhibitors.
The disruption to the events sector has encouraged us to think differently and adapt the role that DSEI plays for the industry globally. While the planning for the live event continues at pace, including necessary health and safety measures, we are developing more ways for DSEI exhibitors and visitors to connect, both with each other and with key military stakeholders.
Naval News: BREXIT being a reality since the beginning of the month, what is the impact, if any, on the event?
Jon Pentreath: For DSEI, the impact of the Brexit decision is limited. It is a truly global event and it has been very much business as usual. The movement of defence goods is not subject to trade agreements in the same way as consumer goods.
Naval News: What will be the focus of the DSEI Naval Zone this year? Have you identified some key themes for the naval seminar and DSEI conference yet?
The Naval defence industry has consolidated around DSEI’s Naval Zone – 92% is now booked and we are looking forward to welcoming large primes such as Atlas Elektronik, Marine Specialised Technology, Navantia, JFD and SubSea Craft. The recent emphasis on boosting British shipbuilding will undoubtedly feature and we are also excited to welcome Fincantieri as a new key naval exhibitor.
Jon Pentreath: DSEI 2021 will represent the first meeting of the global defence supply chain since the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent disruption to the defence industry. As we head towards the recovery phase, it is more important than ever for the military, government and industry to collaborate in the delivery of new capabilities to the frontline commands.
The Naval Seminar, led by the Royal Navy, will offer the industry an insight into the progress of the services expansive equipment modernisation programmes and the opportunities within for solution providers.
2021 is a really exciting year for the Royal Navy, as its transformation enters its delivery phase. The Integrated Review, due to be published imminently, will confirm the direction of travel for the RN for the next few decades. But the 3 big strategic priorities, of a Carrier Strike Group, the nuclear deterrent, and an Amphibious Task Group seem set fair. With Carrier Strike’s Initial Operating Capability (IOC) having been recently declared, 2021 will see the first deployment of the Carrier Strike Group, led by HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, out to the Middle and Far East. Meanwhile the design and construction of Type 26’s, 31’s and 32’s continues apace. But one of the more exciting areas is perhaps the shift into rapid procurement of new and innovative technologies, where robotics, automation and unmanned systems are set to dominate. Close liaison with both the larger OEMs but also with the SME community will be critical to ensuring the success of the RN’s Transformation programme.
Admiral Tony Radakin, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff commented:
“The Royal Navy continuously seeks to remain at the forefront of maritime defence technology, and events such as DSEI help to keep us there. I am delighted that the Royal Navy is once again playing a leading role in DSEI in 2021,” “Our ongoing success on operations around the world is a direct result of the strength and skill of the UK defence industry, as well as our international partners. DSEI gives us the ideal opportunity to bring all the key players together to discuss the latest innovations, developments and technological achievements.”
Admiral Tony Radakin, First Sea Lord
Naval News: Can we expect visiting warships and waterborne demonstrations “as usual”? How likely are foreign navies to dispatch a vessel to DSEI in the current health crisis?
Jon Pentreath: DSEI 2021 aims to deliver an event as similar to those in previous years as possible, and this includes welcoming visiting warships and waterborne demonstrations. Discussions with foreign navies are ongoing and in line with the timelines of previous cycles.
Naval News: Last but not least, are you currently working on a fully “in person” event?
Jon Pentreath: DSEI 2021 is currently on-track to go ahead as a live event in September 2021 as planned. DSEI is working alongside the venue, government and public health officials to deliver an event which is as similar as possible to previous years and is committed to implementing all public health requirements in order to ensure that the venue is COVID-secure. Naturally, recent events have brought more digital interactivity and we intend on broadcasting some of the content virtually during the show, but our digital offerings will be to complement the event, not replace it.
Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) is recognised as the world’s largest land, sea and air biennial defence and security exhibition, bringing together senior international trade and military experts from across the entire supply chain in an optimal business environment. DSEI 2021 will take place 14 – 17 September 2021 at ExCeL London.
Naval News is the official media partner of DSEI 2021’s Naval Zone.