With the addition of Romania to the European Union in 2007, the EU stretched from the North Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea. This new territory allows ocean and land border access to approximately 300 million more people, with all the incumbent security and defense problems that are inherent in opening the EU to both these opportunities and threats. It was with this in mind that TNT Productions sponsored their third edition of BSDA, which was held on 13-15 April 2010 at the Romaero facility in Bucharest. Romaero is at the Baneasa Airport north of the city, and has access to the airport runways making the staging of airshows and airplane on-site displays convenient.
There was a significant international showing of defense and security products, but the small arms on display were primarily from the indigenous Romanian manufacturers. Romania has a well developed infrastructure of small arms manufacturing, and these groups, working under the international sales umbrella of Romarm, made a very respectable showing of their standard warhorses and new products. One theme that SADJ found as recurrent in the presentations and discussions was the entering of Romania into NATO, and the compliance issues with ammunition and weapon systems. Romania of course, like most NATO countries, wants to have their arms manufacturing inside their own country, and of their own design. Melding the NATO requirements to this desire is an involved process.
BSDA as a show is smaller than many found in Western countries, but it has a respectable 7,500 square meter footprint inside two buildings, as well as a large outdoor display, with highlights from many industries. Many heavy hitters from the U.S., UK, Europe, Turkey, and others, such as General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Bumar, BAE were there. There were over 200 exhibiting companies, representing 15 countries with 8,680 attendees being recorded. In our discussions with exhibitors, they seemed pleased with not only the face time they had gotten with the Romanian government, military personnel and potential business partners, they were also pleased with the amount of international delegations that had shown up. One contractor had serious discussions with a three-star Iraqi general and his staff in regards to small arms and training, and another discussed the opportunities he had with the Serbian delegates. The show was well attended with quality contacts, and the fact that it is also an Aero Show brought in many members of the general public as well. We found that almost all of these public attendees were either involved in the military as families, cadets, or respected military retirees, and the signal to noise ratio for secondary contacts appeared to be very good. Long-time show exhibitors have learned that if a show provides the quality delegates and buyers, it makes it worth the trip, but the associated public perception of their company and products can help win hearts and minds of the end users and buyers as well. It’s one reason that you’ll see professional behavior on the part of exhibitors who are seeing young children and teens on a family day, giving them tours and letting them try out the simulators. These may be children or cadets today, but in ten years they will be officers and NCOs.
Romarms and all the small arms factories we spoke with in Romania requested that SADJ come to Romania and go from facility to facility testing the small arms and ammunition. We plan to do so as soon as possible and bring the report to our readers.
TNT Productions has the BSDA show scheduled for April 2012, dates to be determined, but they also are starting a show in Split, Croatia, called the Adriatic Sea Defence & Aerospace exhibition and conference. This is scheduled for 6-8 April 2011, and a significant number of both exhibitors and delegates from different countries told us they would be attending. For more information on ASDA, email at firstname.lastname@example.org.