The 2023 edition of FEINDEF dedicates a lot of space to startups | Atalayar

The Minister of Defense, Amparo Valcarce, was the protagonist of the official presentation of the third edition of the International Exhibition of Defense and Security in Spain (FEINDEF), a biennial trade fair that will be held on 17, 18 and 19 May 2023 at the Madrid Exhibition Center (IFEMA) under the slogan “The defense of our security”.

In front of an auditorium full of top managers from the sector in Spain, important positions in the army, navy and ministries of defence, interior, industry, foreign affairs and universities, those responsible for weapons and material policies, research, development and innovation have described the FEINDEF exhibition as “best showcase” and “the gateway to the European and international market (…) that opens up new business opportunities for our defense industry and our companies”.

Five months into his mandate, Amparo Valcarce presented a whole series of arguments in favor of the industrial structure of the Spanish defense, which “we must support” because “it plays a crucial role (…) it represents a key sector of the economy and investment as well as an engine of progress”.

PHOTO/JPons – The defense has asked the defense industry collective to be able to take a big step towards internationalization and become more competitive, independent and strategic

She pointed out that it is “fundamental” to achieve our own industrial development in order to “achieve a sufficient level of sovereignty”. If we achieve this, “it will allow us to successfully overcome the difficulties associated with the increasingly uncertain and complex scenarios that may arise”.

Amparo Valcarce, political right-hand man and confidante of Minister Margarita Robles, asked the group “to be able to take a solid leap towards internationalization”, and to become “more competitive, independent and strategic” to benefit from the synergies of the international sphere and “to achieve the goals shared with our European and Atlantic partners”.

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PHOTO/FEINDEF Foundation – Former Defense Minister Julián García Vargas pointed out that the armed forces have very clearly identified their immediate need not to lose capabilities that in many cases are on the verge of being weakened.

Now is the time to bet on the defense industry

With a €12,825m defense budget proposed to Parliament for 2023, he is pleased to have achieved growth of 25.8%, “an undoubtedly historic increase commensurate with the historical circumstances we live with”, which “We will have taken a fundamental step: we will be at 1.2% of GDP”.

He considers the increase to be “firm and progressive” and understands that the industry “has the capacity to absorb all these investments”, especially the 4,902 million allocated to the so-called special modernization programs. To achieve this, the Ministry is committed to “increase its leadership and its own – referring to the industrial fabric – to enable its companies to absorb this extremely important investment effort”.

La Défense wants companies in the sector to be integrated into Spain’s industrial and technological base. “It is time to engage with the defense industry (…) we must flex our muscles, demonstrate our strength as the engine of the Spanish economy as a whole,” he said, “as an indispensable element in the creation of jobs and prosperity in the country”.

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PHOTO/FEINDEF – FEINDEF 2023 wants to pay special attention to innovative startups, as this is the best way to help them show their capabilities to large companies and public administrations

She qualified as “clear and safe” the new investment cycle that opens until 2029, when Spain’s defense budget will reach 2% of GDP, as President Sánchez promised his Atlantic partners at the NATO summit at the end of June. To achieve this, Valcarce made two calls to obtain “the consensus and support of the great majority of parliamentary groups and the support of all Spanish society”.

As president of the FEINDEF Foundation, organizer of the fair, the former Minister of Defense, founder and first president of the Spanish Association of Defense, Security, Aeronautical and Space Technology Companies (TEDAE), Julián García Vargas, emphasized that Spain has “very competitive and leading defense and security companies capable of participating in all European projects and even leading them.” And he pointed out that while the 2021 show will be one of consolidation, “the 2023 show will be one of growth.”

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PHOTO/JPons – The 2021 edition was a consolidation with the presence of around 300 exhibitors and a significant number of defense companies from different countries. The organizers want the 2023 show to be placed under the sign of growth

Identification of immediate and future needs

He confirmed that the exhibition area will be 40,000 square meters and the expectation is to accommodate “400 exhibitors from 20 countries, a hundred international delegations and around 20,000 visitors”. Regarding the novelties of the 2023 edition, García Vargas said that “the most important one is the Startup Space, where new companies with great imagination and ingenuity will be able to show their abilities to more consolidated companies and to public administrations”.

With his knowledge of the sector, the former defense minister argued that the future of the national defense fabric “depends on cooperation with other European companies in naval, aviation, land vehicles, space and cyber, as well as logistics, secure radio communication, maintenance and combat and protective equipment”.

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PHOTO/FEINDEF – The organizers of FEINDEF 2023 plan to welcome around 400 exhibitors from 20 countries with around 20,000 professionals and around 100 international delegations

With regard to the additional contribution of 2 billion EUR to the defense budgets for the current year and the 12.825 billion EUR planned for 2023, both amounts will result in “more capabilities and better equipped armed forces”. The Army, Air Force and Navy have defined “the major programs for the future and very clearly identified their immediate needs not to lose capabilities that in many cases are on the verge of being weakened,” he warned.

Asked about his vision for the future of defense in Spain in a European and global context, the former minister replied that the sector “is able to meet all the needs of the Spanish Armed Forces in the medium term in cooperation with other European companies”.

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PHOTO/FEINDEF – For the Ministry of Defense, the time has come to invest in the defense industry, to flex its muscles and demonstrate its strength as the engine of the Spanish economy

But he nuanced that it will be possible, “provided that we maintain the stability of the budgetary efforts announced by the President of the Government, support for business R&D and, above all, our participation in joint EU and NATO projects”. If this goal is achieved, the sector will be “a key driver of technology, employment and exports, while ensuring the support of our armed forces and guaranteeing our national security and sovereignty”.

Marc Murtra, chairman of Indra, main sponsor of FEINDEF 2023, also attended the presentation. According to him, the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine accelerated three trends. First, “technology which is the key to safety”. Secondly “security and defence, without which there is no business, no civil society, no sustainability, no family, no life”. And he emphasized that in order to be sovereign and to be able to make decisions on a national level, “you have to have local technology”.

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