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Inside Europe’s Largest Arms Fair: AOAV went to see what’s on sale

Europe’s biggest ever arms fair went under way in London this week with 40,000 people attending and over 1,500 exhibitors – including from countries with controversial human rights records.

Countries with poor human rights records – such as Egypt, Vietnam, Indonesia, Israel and India – sent delegations, often nations whose arms-purchasing strategies have been altered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

AOAV’s Dr Iain Overton travelled to the fair to document what was going on inside. His report can be read here.

Missiles and bombs were on display a plenty

Some exhibitors chose to display their wares in Lego

The DSEI boasted militaries from all over the world

The Utopian promise of Peace In The World was often present in the defence framing

Overwatch, a British drone company, has supplied almost £1m in MOD purchased drones to Ukraine’s Special Forces

The British Army’s Virtual Soldier stand has not changed much since 2021

UK – South Korean collaboration had created the K9A2 – a tank that dominated the displays

Ukraine had a stand – exporting a number of ‘battle tested’ items

Rifles and pistols, normally unseen in Britain’s streets, were on display a’plenty at DSEI

Leonardo unveiled a prototype for an unmanned helicopter – in collaboration with the UK MOD

The UK’s commitment to Ukraine was front and centre of its marketing message. At the same time, the MOD also sought more funding from the British government purse.

To date, the UK claims to have given £1.3bn in aid to the Armed Forces of Ukraine

CAT Defense boasted exports to dozens of countries, including nine on the UK’s own global list of countries of human rights concern

Delegates from the Middle East were a notable feature of the Arms Fair

BAE systems unveiled its “autonomous collaborative platforms” – another step towards autonomy in arms systems

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were, as ever, a major buyer at the event

Munitions of all sizes and shapes were on display – buyers unknown

“Who plays the bad guys” – it was hard to say at an event where so much was secretive

Pakistan Ordnance Factories produced the man with the silver gun.

Ammunition here was presented as beautiful items, not the hardware of war.

One small area dealt with the injuries of the hardware – but almost entirely focused on the military victim, not the civilian.

21st Century fighting means Vegan Ration Packs

Business was struck under the shadow of immense weapon systems

The British Army was out in force

Billion pound deals were struck with little in the way of transparency

Israel, a state heavily criticised for its human rights abuses, had a stand, as did India and Pakistan.