On July 28, 2023, the 16th edition of the International Defence Industry Fair (IDEF 23) concluded its activities in Istanbul, Turkey.
IDEF 23 is one of the most prominent defence industry exhibitions worldwide, and its 16th edition – spanning four days – has become a significant platform for promotion, marketing, and cooperation in the defence and security sector.
Under the patronage of the Turkish Republic Presidency, the exhibition was held at the “Tüyap” Fair Convention and Congress Center in Istanbul, with the participation of 1,461 companies from 55 countries.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attended the opening ceremony through a recorded message, while vice president Cevdet Yılmaz, the Minister of Defence, Yaşar Güler, and the Minister of Industry and Technology, Mehmet Fatih, along with several local and foreign officials, were present at the event.
High-Level UAE Military Delegation Visits the Exhibition
A high-level military delegation from the United Arab Emirates, led by Lieutenant General Engineer Issa Saif bin Ablan Al Mazrouei, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces and several senior officers, attended the opening of the 16th edition of the International Defence Industry Fair in Istanbul.
During his visit to the exhibition, Major General Al Mazrouei toured various pavilions of participating countries and global companies, where he was acquainted with the latest defence products, industries, and solutions showcased by major international corporations.
Moreover, Al Mazrouei met with several ministers, officials, and high-ranking commanders, discussing issues and topics related to the defence sector, in addition, he toured the national UAE pavilion and reviewed the products of the participating Emirati companies in the fair.
Outstanding UAE Participation
The UAE participated in the 16th edition of the International Defence Industry Fair (IDEF 23), in Istanbul, through a national pavilion organized by the UAE Council for Defence Companies.
The UAE’s national pavilion at IDEF -the fourth-largest defence exhibition in the world in terms of the number of exhibitors – is part of the UAE’s continuous efforts to enhance defence cooperation and exchange expertise with global companies and institutions. Additionally, it showcases the capabilities and modern technological innovations produced by Emirati defence companies bearing the mark “Made in the UAE.”
The pavilion Hosted eight prominent government entities and leading national companies, including the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), Yahsat, Caldas, Al Hamra, Rabdan Academy, Al-Jundi Magazine, and Adnic Group.
During the event, UAE companies showcased the latest defence developments in the fields of independent aerial and ground systems, technological advancements, and industrial development.
Regarding independent ground systems and solutions, Caldas showcased its latest armoured combat vehicles, equipped with state-of-the-art ground-to-ground and ground-to-air missile systems.
As for industrial development, the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) highlighted the most attractive opportunities and incentives in the industrial sector, catering to the business needs of international investors to facilitate investment in Abu Dhabi.
Concerning advanced technological solutions, “Yahsat” showcased the latest communication systems. To enhance the competitiveness of the UAE product in international markets, the “Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology” promoted the “Made in the UAE” forum, as part of its commitment to strengthening national industries and discussing partnership and collaboration opportunities in the industrial sector.
Regarding military armament, “Al Hamra Group” showcased the latest military and security solutions and equipment.
Furthermore, “Adnic Group” promoted international defence exhibitions, “IDEX and NAVDEX 2025,” and unmanned systems and simulation training exhibitions, “UMEX and SIMTEX 2024.” Meanwhile, “Al Jundi Magazine,” issued by the UAE Ministry of Defence, played a prominent role in media coverage of the exhibition and the UAE national pavilion.
Mona Ahmed Al-Jaber, Chairwoman of the UAE Council for Defence Companies (EDCC), stated: “Our participation in the International Defence Fair Turkey (IDEF 2023) is a valuable opportunity to highlight the progress achieved by our national defence industries and to express our firm commitment to achieving sustainability and development in the defence and military sector.”
She added: “Our active participation in this exhibition reflects the efforts of the United Arab Emirates to enhance international cooperation in the field of defence and security and to strengthen strategic ties with friendly countries and leading global companies. We take pride in representing the UAE’s defence sector through the UAE Council for Defence Companies in these important global platforms, where we foster communication and knowledge exchange with other defence sectors.”
For his part, Anas Nasser Al Otaiba, General Manager of the UAE Council for Defence Companies (EDCC), stated that the council’s participation in the International Defence Industry Fair (IDEF 2023) reflects the depth and strength of UAE-Turkey bilateral relations.
The continuous support from His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE, and His Excellency Recep Tayyip Erdogan president of Turkey, further strengthens these bonds.
Moreover, the council is committed to fortifying these relationships in line with the UAE-Turkey Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, signed in March 2023, serving the future vision and developmental goals to bolster the national economy and enhance its competitiveness.
Memorandum of Understanding to Enhance Innovation in the Defence and Aviation Sectors
During the exhibition, “Black Cobra”, a tactical gear manufacturer and a member of the UAE Council for Defence Companies, along with the Turkish company “Ostim Defence and Aviation Cluster” signed a memorandum of understanding on the sidelines of the International Defence Industry Fair in Istanbul.
The memorandum aims to explore promising opportunities for innovation and technological advancement in the defence and aviation sector and to strengthen cooperation between the UAE and Turkey, in addition, it will establish a roadmap for joint business development activities between Black Cobra and OSTIM, as well as technology transfer, and strategic support for the development of small and medium-sized Turkish projects.
This comes as part of the efforts to achieve the UAE’s vision of enhancing partnerships and expanding bilateral relations with Turkey.
The initiative and negotiations of the Memorandum of Understanding were signed by the top management of Black Cobra Military Supplies, Ali Al Mannaee, Chief Executive Officer and Mostafa El Samahy, Managing Director and Ibrahim Yarsan, the Chairman of the Board of OSTIM Defence and Aerospace Cluster in Ankara at the UAE pavilion under the patronage of the Emirates Defence Companies Council.
Ali Al- Mannaee emphasized that the partnership with Ostim represents a crucial step for both institutions. It will facilitate the exchange of expertise and resources, which will drive growth and innovation in the defence sector.
Furthermore, Ibrahim Yarsan confirmed that the new memorandum of understanding with Black Cobra will open new avenues for providing exceptional solutions in the defence industry, aligning with the group’s mission to enhance technological advancement and global partnerships.
Ostim and Cobra will collaborate to develop advanced technologies to meet future defence needs, marking an important achievement in their partnership at the local and international levels, Ibrahim also emphasized the significance of the exhibition as an opportunity to deepen relationships and find new partners.
Prominent Arab Presence
IDEF witnessed a significant presence from Saudi Arabia, with the Saudi Pavilion overseen by the “General Authority for Military Industries.”
Moreover, the Saudi Pavilion included six companies: Saudi Arabian Military Industries, National Company for Mechanical Systems, Saudi Chemical Limited Company, Intra Defence Technologies, ERAF industrial company, and the World Defence Show.
The Fair also saw participation from Qatar in the field of airborne surveillance, Jordan in vehicle armouring, and Sudan in the drone sector.
“A Highly Productive Exhibition”
In his speech during the closing ceremony of the exhibition, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that his government aims to enhance the defence industries and increase exports of advanced technology in this field. He emphasized Turkey’s significant progress in the defence industries as a testament to its achievements.
Erdogan further stated: “We will present new products with advanced technology that will lead the defence industries and open new horizons in this field.”
He added, “We will continue to share our skills and capabilities in the defence industries with fraternal and friendly nations. Our goal for the upcoming period is to strengthen our defence industries and increase our exports in this field.”
The President highlighted that IDEF saw participation from 81 countries, including NATO, the African Union, and the American Business Council.
IDEF hosted 1451 companies (689 local and 762 foreign) and welcomed over 100,000 visitors, 15% of which were foreigners.
Erdogan emphasized that the exhibition was highly productive in establishing work relations, with over 5,000 business meetings taking place between participating companies, foreign delegations, and Turkish supply brands.
Numerous promotional cooperation protocols and contracts totalling 120 were signed during the four-day fair.
Erdogan encouraged all Turkish companies to dedicate themselves and focus on achieving their goals, highlighting the importance of making the next edition of IDEF a new starting point for the Turkish defence industries.
Turkish Defence Minister: IDEF 2023 Saw Record Participation
Turkish Minister of Defence, Hulusi Akar, stated that IDEF 2023, saw a record number of participants, both local and foreign. He expressed his happiness and pride in the exhibition’s significant turnout, describing it as an important platform to enhance cooperation between representatives of defence industry companies.
“The 16th edition of IDEF 2023 set a record in terms of the number of local and foreign participants, as well as foreign delegations’ presence,” Akar said, pointing out that this massive turnout indicates the high interest in Turkish defence industries.
Coverage: Razi El-Hadmi – Photography: Omar Abdulla Al-shehhi