Earning the international praise from high-level visitors and exhibitors alike, the first edition of the prestigious defence exhibition DEFEA was completed in total success, presenting 315 leading exhibiting defence industries from 22 countries and visited by 45 official national delegations, represented at political and military level, from 36 countries.

From 13th to 15th of July, 2021, Metropolitan Expo, the largest and most advanced exhibition centre in Southeast Europe, hosted highly specialised visitors from 53 countries representing the most important private and state-owned companies in the world, offering top-tier services and facilitations.

DEFEA 2021 was globally the first covid-free defence exhibition that took place in total compliance with all safety measures and health protocols, creating efficiently through excellent organisation and planning a safe environment for networking and cooperation.

Inaugurating DEFEA 2021, the Greek Minister of National Defence, Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos underlined that the exhibition “is a platform for international contacts, industrial cooperation and exchange of information on modern technological developments”. He also added: “There is no doubt that the exhibition will present the most advanced systems that global defence market can provide, proving once again that the evolution of defence systems is a ‘driving force’ for technology.”

The largest and most prominent defence industries around the world participated as exhibitors showcasing their latest technologies and the defence systems that will prevail in the future. Impressive national pavilions with state of the art products and equipment and private companies with the most advanced solutions in every category of the defence and security sector covered the halls of the exhibition centre offering to visitors and officials an integrated view of the capabilities of modern military technology.

The official delegations that visited DEFEA were comprised of political and military leaders of the highest level, invited by the Hellenic Ministry of National Defence. The countries that were represented through official presence were: Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Austria, Bahrain, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Jordan, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States of America.

During the exhibition, leaders of the delegations had important meetings with the Greek hosting Minister of National Defence, Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, and the Hellenic military leadership led by the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, General Konstantinos Floros.

A roundtable discussion about the European Defence was carried out, in which the Ministers of Defence of Slovenia, Mr. Matej Tonin, of Portugal, Mr. Joao Gomes Cravinho, and of Cyprus, Mr. Charambos Petrides commented. The discussion was coordinated by the Executive Director of European Defence Agency (EDA), Mr. Jiri Sedivy, while the Commissioner of Internal Market, Mr. Thierry Breton greeted through video message. The event was streamed live through the official channel of Hellenic Ministry of Defence and the social media with the presence of the Greek Deputy Minister of National Defence, the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff and the Chiefs of the three branches of the Hellenic Armed Forces.

The procurement programme of the Hellenic Navy of 4 new frigates, as well as the parallel  solution and the upgrade of in-service frigates was again at the centre of general interest. Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, referred to the programme, emphasising: “We are going to purchase four frigates that we believe it is necessary some of these ships to be built in Greek shipyards and we must work for that. Not only to have them built in our shipyards, but to have more defence industries that will take part in their construction. One of our two shipyards, the “Hellenic Shipyards” of Skaramagas, was acquired by a group of businessmen, led by a Greek shipowner. I think this will give a boost to the domestic shipbuilding industry, beyond the problems of the past”. Regarding the development of Greek shipbuilding industry, the Greek Minister of Development and Investments spoke in a related conference in front of an international specialised audience.

In parallel with the exhibition, an impressive static display was organised at the nearby international airport of Athens, in a specially designed area. The airport static dispay was comprised of multi-role aircrafts and helicopters, with highlights an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, a S70 Aegean Hawk naval multi-mission helicopter, a tactical transport NH90 helicopter and an OH-58 Kiowa helicopter for armed reconnaissance.

All participants expressed their satisfaction with every detail of the exhibition and they emphasised their return in two years time. The next edition of DEFEA – Defence Exhibition Athens will take place on 9th-11th of May, 2023, at Metropolitan Expo, in Athens, Greece.