Tuesday, March 5, 2024

China made its presence felt at Saudi Arabia’s defense show, surpassing the US and Russia

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China’s Wingron 10B armed drone (Defense Breakthrough) displayed with various weapons at the World Defense Show on the outskirts of Riyadh

World Defense Show 2024 — Next to Pakistan’s Shahpar armed drone and not far from Russia’s Pantsir SM surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, visitors to the World Defense Show this week held about 40 miles outside Riyadh. was offered an unusual benefit. , get an up-close look at China’s military equipment, including the full-scale Wing Loong drone, FT Series precision-guided bombs, and HQ SAM.

This, like exhibits at other Gulf trade shows, was an opportunity for Beijing’s defense industry to try to compete on the “world stage,” so to speak. And while Chinese companies offered a collection of platforms and weapons that outnumbered the United States and all other international pavilions, those who wanted to catch a glimpse of serially produced life-size fighter jets and warships were all I would have been disappointed because the model was not to scale. Domains were the mainstream at the time.

American defense companies may have come in droves to show off their wares, led by Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon and others, but Chinese companies claim the most floor space outside host Saudi Arabia. did. Beijing also held an aerial demonstration for the first time.

According to data shared by the organizers, China’s floor space (most of which is in the “China Defense” staging area) reaches 4,668 square meters (over 50,000 square feet), the largest among the international invited countries. It surpasses Turkey, which has its own huge presence at the venue. 4,355 square meters, US 3,335 square meters. Russia is also tagged with just over 800 square meters.

According to the show’s exhibitor list, a total of 36 Chinese companies participated, and there was also a flight display of the J-10 jet of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Ba Yi aerobatic team. This is a first for the World Defense Show. Although they do not occupy as much exhibition space, the number of American companies far exceeds Chinese companies, with more than 100 organizations officially listed.

This year’s World Defense Show may have provided some worrying scenes for U.S. officials who have long been concerned about Beijing’s efforts to expand its influence in the Middle East, but at least publicly there are no new orders from China. It may be a relief that this was not recorded. During the show.

Related: Asked about China’s Middle East arms sales, Qatari PM praises US ‘defense alliance’

Broadly speaking, government officials and manufacturers from all countries present reported no orders for big-ticket items such as fighter jets. However, organizers announced on Thursday that 61 orders worth a total of R26 billion ($6.9 billion) had been placed, and 73 memorandum agreements had also been signed, including those involving US and European companies. .


People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Ba Yi Aerobatic Team’s J-10 jet takes to the skies (breaks through defenses)

Major Chinese defense contractors and military export authorities in attendance included Aerospace Long March International Trade Co., Ltd. (ALIT), China National Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CPMIEC), and China National Aviation Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC). , including China Great. Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC), China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), ELINC, China Northern Industry Corporation (Norinco), and Poly Defence.

The full-scale equipment exhibited by China consisted mostly of armed and unarmed drones, but also included fighter aircraft models, air-to-air missiles, long-range air and missile defense systems, anti-tank kits, and C4ISR kits. .

Wing Loong II armed drone with Saudi markings, LD-35 35mm anti-aircraft gun and integrated air defense weapon system, CM-302 supersonic anti-ship missile model, Norinco blue, similar to the one sold to Saudi Arabia in 2017 The Arrow air-to-surface missile family was one of the most eye-catching systems on display. Norinco also displayed the Red Arrow 12E anti-tank missile and his 155mm GP155B GPS guided projectile.

Lesser-known companies such as Beijing-based Hoverwing Technology Group also exhibited products such as the HW150V hybrid vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) drone. According to company documents, the ISR platform will have a range of 300 kilometers, a maximum payload of 160 kilograms, an endurance of 10 hours, and a cruising speed of up to 150 kilometers per hour.


The China Defense section of the World Defense Show showcased Beijing’s extensive collection of air, land and sea equipment. (break down the defense)

Close military ties between China and Saudi Arabia, including joint naval exercises in recent years, remain of great concern to the United States and its Western allies, but on a competitive level, China could disrupt U.S. and Saudi defense business in all key areas. There is little evidence left that this is the case. Method.

The United States is the world’s top arms exporter, and its business is driven primarily by orders from Riyadh.data [PDF] According to a study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), from 2018 to 2022, nearly one-fifth of Washington’s defense exports were ordered from Saudi Arabia. During the same period, orders from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Serbia accounted for the bulk of China’s military exports.

According to SIPRI, China’s share is low at 5.2%, lagging behind the US’s share of 40%, and it will have to make up a considerable gap to catch up with the US in defense exports.

Chinese armored vehicles exhibited at WDS 2024

China displayed the camouflage sports LD-35 35mm anti-aircraft gun and integrated air defense weapon system at the 2024 World Defense Show in Riyadh. (break down the defense)

Russians in Riyadh

Meanwhile, Russia, another of the US’s biggest geopolitical rivals, participated in the world defense show but had less of a presence than China, but still has a strong presence in the Gulf region since the beginning of the Ukraine war in February 2022. It was the largest exhibition ever.

Here Russian companies present defense platforms not only as scale models, but also real systems such as the Oran drone, armored vehicles such as MRAP, Ilyushin military transport aircraft, IL-76MD-90A, missiles in the static exhibition area. A diverse collection was exhibited. Launcher and Kalashnikov rifle.

Although only four Russian organizations were listed on the exhibitor list, there were actually products from more than 20 companies on display, many of which were affiliated with Rosoborone Export, the country’s defense export agency. Ta.

“Compared to 2022, the scale of the Russian exhibition has doubled,” Rosoborone Export Director Alexander Mikheyev said in a statement on February 1.

Russian defense products will be exhibited at WDS 2024

Russia’s Oran family of drones used in the Ukraine war were exhibited at the World Defense Show in Riyadh in February 2024. (destruction of defense)

In a separate statement released by the Russian government earlier this week, Manturov said that “most of the samples presented were [of Russian equipment on display] “We have experience in using them in combat,” he said, noting that “products traditionally attract a lot of interest” from Russia.

Other Russian government agencies spoke on similar terms, but much like the case with China, no orders from the Russian side were announced.

Before the show, Rosoboronexport also said it offers several types of UAVs for export, including the Orion reconnaissance/attack UAV, the Orlan-10E and Orlan-30 reconnaissance drones, and the Kub-E loitering weapon. Ta.

“We are negotiating local production of drones in our customers’ regions as well as joint research and development of advanced drones,” the statement added. “These proposals are based on extensive experience in organizing infrastructure for the mass use of unmanned vehicles in real combat situations.”

At the World Defense Show, unlike the Dubai Airshow and IDEX held in the UAE last year, Russia’s booth will be located on an indoor exhibition floor among the stands and booths of other international companies, and will be isolated in a separate exhibition area. It wasn’t.

According to a report by the Saudi Press Agency, Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Denis Valentinovich Manturov met at Shaw to discuss “aspects of joint cooperation in the military industry” We talked.

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