South Africa to host twelfth Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition in September 2024

The Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) trade exhibition and air show will be held from 18 t0 22 September 2024 at Air Force Base Waterkloof, under the theme of ‘Exploring new paths, sharing solutions, showcasing innovation and capability’.

More than half of the available exhibition space has already been booked and confirmed, which reflects a significant vote of confidence in the event that has continued to record success, the AAD said in a statement.

The event will see exhibitors coming from several countries, including Belgium, China and the US, and exhibitors include SAAB, Airbus, Turkish Aerospace Industries and L3Harris Technologies.

“We anticipate that more than 30 000 trade visitors will engage with more than 300 exhibitors. Visitors can also attend our maiden conference edition to hear thought leaders in the industry, academia, and the defence sector provide insights into topical issues that directly impact the industry,” said AAD exhibition director Nakedi Phasha.

AAD also projects at least 60 000 visitors will attend the public air show days to witness the exhilarating aerobatics spectacle, she added.

This year’s AAD will introduce several hubs that showcase the latest innovations. For instance, there are energy and general aviation hubs, as well as a third hub that features drone and anti-drone technologies. Drone operators can book space to demonstrate live at AAD through the unmanned aerial vehicle hub online by visiting AAD’s website.

Further, the AAD youth development programme sees youth from disadvantaged and marginalised communities being exposed to science and technology disciplines and related career opportunities.

In 2022, AAD hosted more than 9 000 learners through this initiative. For this year’s event, 12 000 learners from across all nine provinces are expected to descend on the base to benefit from this impactful programme, said Phasha.

“Our focus for the future will be on further increasing international participation, fostering collaborations and exploring new sponsorship and partnership opportunities to grow the event’s footprint into Africa. We want to provide our partners with a premier event that contributes to the global aerospace and defence market,” she said.

This year, international exhibitors have been confirmed from countries such as the United States, Belgium, and China, with headline exhibitors including Denel, Embraer, Saab, Airbus, Turkish Aerospace Industries, and L3Harris Technologies, amongst others.

“We are positioning the South African Defence Industry to use AAD 2024 as a platform for both buyers and sellers to come together and conclude those crucial and mutually beneficial deals,” said Armscor Chief Executive Solomzi Mbada earlier this year.

“Our South African defence budget might be dwindling but the global market presents an opportunity for local industries to take advantage of,” he said, adding the exhibition, “provides local industries with an international platform to showcase and market their value to a carefully curated and accredited global player network.”

Armscor is the AAD 2024 host, taking over from the SA Aerospace Maritime and Defence Industries Association (AMD), which hosted AAD 2022. AAD is presented in partnership with AMD, Arsmcor, and the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA), in collaboration with the South African Department of Defence and Military Veterans (DOD).

Organisers claim that the economic impact that the AAD has on South Africa’s economy is significant. International visitors to AAD 2022 contributed over R135 million to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) while public and trade visitors generated R150 million in revenue. R65 million of taxation revenue was raised and more than 1 350 jobs created.