Tuesday, 22 December 2015

MAST Europe Closes on the Finish Line

MAST Boasts New Quality in the Defence/Security Events Sector 

MAST Events Ltd., best known to the worldwide naval community for their conferences and exhibitions in Gdansk (Poland), Istanbul (Turkey), and Yokohama (Japan), finalises another unique event - MAST Europe 2016 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. According to MAST Events, there will be a busy three-day programme for the thenth anniversary MAST conference and trade-show in June next year, with sponsors and exhibitors expecting high-level participants from many senior-level operators and buyers from around the world. According to the organisation, Chiefs of Navies and Heads of Procurement from the following countries are being invited to take part in the event in Amsterdam next year:
NATO/Europe – Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, UK, USA;
Other Europe – Sweden;
Asia/Pacific – Australia, India, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam;
Gulf States – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
It is interesting to note that most of these countries have already formulated requirements for comprehensive naval procurement and modernisation programmes, also including naval aviation and related systems, components, and equipment. For instance, there is an urgent need for more advanced shipboard helicopters and unmanned aircraft in Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the UAE. Not ignoring land-based aviation like Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) for which nations like Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, and the UK have outlined their requirements, calling for new aircraft or modernised/upgraded airframes. Another country, India, already received new aircraft from the US. And do not forget the massive need of more modern patrol ships by most of these countries, specifically Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, Poland, and the Philippines.
MAST Events can be seen as a pioneer when addressing specific needs of exhibitors and visitors. Therefore, in 2010, the organisation created an Exhibition Steering Group (ESG) and the Executive Advisers Board (EAB), "which play direct roles in the strategic direction and tactical management of MAST and identify the specific needs of our exhibitors and visitors", said Warren Edge, Business Director at MAST Events Ltd. "The NATO Naval Armaments Group became an integral part of the event. Needless to say that we are proud to host their annual meeting in concert with MAST. This creates truly unique networking opportunities during MAST."

The MAST Event team with participants from Japan's defence industry at MAST Eurasia 2014 in Istanbul on 22 May 2014. Photo: Stefan Nitschke

The upcoming conference and trade-show - MAST Europe 2016 - will be testament of this. It will present its exhibitors the optimal event in Europe next year to meet these leaders on a one-to-one basis, according to the organisation. "Similarly, VIPs and visitors can expect to see displays from the world’s leading manufacturers of platforms and systems by way of solutions to their future capabilities needs."
What was heard from numerous participants in Istanbul and Yokohama is that the MAST series of conferences and defence trade-shows are "world-class" events, originating from a fascinating understanding by MAST Event's team of the ever-shanging needs of the naval/maritime community. These reflections underscore many announcements and statements heard from industry and visitors that the concept "made by MAST Events" will be able to shape the style of information sharing among the community, since it is most important that new developments in naval/maritime technology must be shared in time and in a robust, but innovative way.
The philosophy of MAST Eurasia 2014 conducted at the Istanbul Convention & Exhibition Centre (ICEC) in Istanbul in May 2014, for instance, proved to be different from most other international maritime conferences and exhibitions, as it brought completely new insights into the nature of exactly these new naval/maritime technologies. Due to a dramatic growth in the conference, the organiser introduced air and space and undersea domains. Additionally, Japan's first international defence trade-show (MAST Asia), conducted in Yokohama in May 2015, offered a first glimpse about a country that owns a highly advanced defence industry, offering numerous opportunities for exports and cooperation with international partners, namely Australia, India, and the Philippines. MAST Asia, in particular, showed that Japanese defence manufacturers are preparing for global business. The event was simply perfect as it appeared at a time when Tokyo’s self-imposed trade restrictions have been removed.
Maintaining consistency in quality is the MAST Event's main issue. So, the stimulus to introduce the MAST series of international seminars and trade-shows back in 2006 was that there was no global forum dedicated to senior-level maritime security technologists and operators, according to Warren Edge in an interview with NAVAL FORCES in 2014. "The success of the first event and growth since stands testament to having delivered the right event at the right time." MAST Eurasia in Istanbul, for example, hosted 65 exhibitors and received 851 participants to the conference sessions and 428 to the exhibition, coming from 54 countries. The conclusion given by Warren Edge is that the early events were successful simply because MAST was new, offering a refreshing change to other events and focusing primarily on the surface maritime domain.
By Stefan Nitschke