The African Aerospace and Defence Expo 2022 was kicked off with a press briefing by the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Thandi Modise, at the seminar hall in an exhibition hall at AFB Waterkloof on 20 September.
The theme for AAD 2022 which is widely hailed as the largest defence and aerospace exhibition in Africa is: Exploring New Paths, Sharing Solutions and Showcasing Innovation and Capabilities.
“Through the exhibition and air show, we primarily seek to showcase the capabilities of the armed forces from both South Africa and abroad. Over the years, AAD has become synonymous with South African excellence, world-class capability and, of course, our exceptional warmth and hospitality. The show boasts a unique format of a combined exhibition of air, sea and land technologies, a static aircraft display and an air show.” Ms Modise Mentioned. “AAD is an event that carries a wealth of history. It is a rich legacy that has been built over the last 20 years. Indeed, the story of AAD is a story of dedication, hard work and commitment to sheer excellence.” she proudly added.
AAD has become a major contributor to job creation and of course the ficus, the 2018 edition generated a taxation revenue of R160 million and this edition is expected to exceed all previous records.
The format will as in the past comprise three trade days, for registered trade visitors and two air show days, that will be open to the public. The Expo will consist of the following elements: Indoor and outdoor exhibitions, A hospitality chalet line, a Static aircraft park, Capability demonstrations and displays, Parallel events with conferences, seminars and Business to Business (B2B) meetings and for the first time Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) demonstrations.
AAD will once again give exhibitors and trade visitors a unique opportunity to interact directly with various stakeholders over the trade days and allow for the public to witness the spectacular display of the Airforce and Aviation Sector. It has been reported that 200 exhibitors from 24 countries, with nine National Pavilions, will be catered for this year. Turkey is the largest foreign exhibitor with 25 companies participating in the Turkish Pavilion. Turkey has doubled their space from the previous exhibition. Despite this, a whopping seventy per cent of exhibitors are South African which once again proves the healthy state of the local defence industry.
The AAD Youth Development Program will be showcasing advanced aviation, defence, and aerospace technologies to 10 000 learners from South Africa. It is anticipated that pilots and crew from the South African Air Force and United States Air Force will also be hosting motivational sessions with learners.
Learners will be guided on opportunities in space technology and the importance of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics subjects. South African Airways would be flying learners from Durban and Cape Town. These learners will be experiencing the joy of flying for the very first time. They will then be escorted by our own South African Air Force members using the Gautrain to get to Air Force Waterkloof.
Learners will also be exposed to AI-driven drone technology designed by learners from Wits University School of Engineering, 3D printing (Additive manufacturing). The South African National Defence Force will also be showcasing various technologies from the South African Army, including Special Forces, SA Airforce, SA Navy, and South African Medical Health Services. Learners will be exposed to exciting technologies such as Robotics and Drone Technology.
The SAAF have made a remarkable effort to showcase the capabilities with many aircraft being returned to service just in time for AAD, it is rather sad that it takes an event of this nature to return our Gripen front-line fighters amongst others to the air. No matter what the reason for the return, we as South Africans are grateful to see the SAAF edging closer to fulfilling its constitutional mandate.
The "mini war" will once again be a drawcard for the public on the airshow days, Gen Wiseman Mbombo reassured everyone that it will be as impressive as in previous years.
Everything seems to be on track for the delivery off a very successful AAD 2022.