The pandemic has not thwarted Targi Kielce’s plan; Kielce has again been the capital of the globe’s defence. This year’s International Defence Industry Exhibition and LOGISTYKA International Logistics Fair hosted almost 11,000 guests from all over the world. The exhibition was graced with the presence of President of the Republic of Poland, Mr Andrzej Duda, the Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak and the Head of the National Security Bureau Paweł Soloch.
For years, MSPO has been a meeting place for the global defence industry’s giants. This year’s expo was no exception; 400 companies from 27 countries participated in the trade show. Kielce hosted more than a dozen foreign delegations, in addition to almost 11,000 visitors. An impressive exhibition that featured cutting-edge solutions for the army, both equipment and systems – no doubt it was worth seeing. More than 30 conferences and seminars were held within the scope of the expo. Many companies celebrated their anniversaries in Kielce. This year’s Defence Show hosted 34 attaché, including the US Deputy Military Attaché – Major Elizabeth L. EVANS; this is the most significant number of the diplomatic corps representatives in 5 years. MSPO hosted official foreign delegations from 14 countries of the world, USA, Great Britain, Czech Republic, Hungary, France, Korea, Norway, Ukraine, Estonia, Georgia, Italy, Lithuania, Spain, United Arab Emirates and diplomatic corps from 17 countries of the globe: Australia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Germany, Indonesia, Libya, Nigeria, Palestine, Qatar, Turkey, Austria, Morocco, South Korea, Pakistan, Italy, UK and USA. Three hundred journalists from Poland and abroad offered media coverage to what was happening in the Kielce exhibition and congress centre. The MSPO’s presentation included the traditional display of the Polish military: the Armed Forces Exhibition held this year under the banner of “Endure-Control-Defeat”.
President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, who traditionally granted the honorary patronage of the exhibition, also partook in the expo. Mariusz Błaszczak – the Minister of National Defence, formally and officially opened the show. The head of the National Security Bureau, Paweł Soloch, and his deputy Major General Andrzej Reudowicz visited MSPO. There were also representatives of uniformed services: Major General Dariusz Łukowski, Director of the Armed Forces Supervision Department at the National Security Bureau, Przemysław Funiok, Marek Pasionek and Andrzej Pozorski, Deputy Prosecutors General, General Rajmund Andrzejczak, Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces and many others.
– The days have been packed with presentations, talks, top-level visits and decisions. Poland once again showed its potential to the world at the Kielce expo. Global concerns brought their solutions to showcase in Kielce; the gear and equipment can then be used in Poland. I am proud that Targi Kielce’s MSPO witnessed the event of strategic importance for our country. The Armament Inspectorate of the Ministry of National Defence and the Polish Armaments Group concluded a framework agreement on delivering the Narew – a short-range air defence system. President Andrzej Duda emphasised that it has been the most extensive and most complicated contract in the history of the Polish armed forces – tens of billions of PLN earmarked for almost 400 launchers – said Andrzej Mochoń, President of the Board of Targi Kielce, during the Defender awarding ceremony.
Mariusz Błaszczak, the Minister of National Defence, who also partook in the opening ceremony, said –
-Let me start by saying that MSPO in Kielce is a strong brand, a leading Polish brand. This is already the 29th trade show; it has always been and will be a significant event for the defence industry (…) As the MOD, I find it my obligation to create the best conditions for military services, for soldiers, to provide the best equipment. This is what MSPO is for. (…) – Minister Mariusz Blaszczak recapitulated.
Innovations and premieres
The expo stands were packed with the latest-generation equipment. Lockheed Martin showcases a 1:1 mock-up of their F-35 Lightning II combat aircraft; Targi Kielce had already hosted this impressive machine at the 27th MSPO in 2019. The M1A2 Abrams tank was also an attention-catcher to visitors this year’s defence trade show; this reliable and robust combat vehicle has already proven itself in the armed conflict zones, the front-lines of the Middle East, and in the distant corners of Asia. The third-generation tank showcased at MSPO is still considered one of the best, if not the best, tank in the world. The BIZON autonomous vehicle premiered at MSPO. BISON is the fruit of a joint work of the Air Force Institute of Technology (ITWL) and the company Dobrowolski LLC. The 3 tons vehicle will be used for continuous testing of the load-bearing capacity of natural airport pavements and for monitoring the pavement of functional elements’ condition (EFL). One of the products presented for the first time at the International Defence Industry Exhibition is the Pilica system – recently used by the Polish army. – The Pilica anti-aircraft missile and artillery system – in service since December 2020; designed to fight low-flying, water and lightly armoured targets. The Logistics Training Centre presented a driving simulator designed to train drivers; a truck, a truck with a trailer, an ambulance or a bus can be simulated here. Leopard 2 tank crew – a tactical simulator was also on display.
Essential contracts and pivotal agreements
Traditionally, MSPO has become the arena for signing ceremonies; many agreements of key importance for Polish defence have been concluded here, among the most important the PGZ agreements for supplies to our army. PGZ in cooperation with Nammo – one of the world’s leading ammunition manufacturers will serve the Polish Armed Forces. PCO SA celebrates its 45th anniversary – the company has concluded two important agreements regarding expansion into foreign markets, WZL-2 has made further steps towards developing F-16 aircraft servicing capabilities, and Military Electronic Works SA has created a Consortium for the delivery of equipment for the “Wisła” sets. The 29 International Defence Industry Exhibition witnessed the official signing of a letter of intent to confirm the cooperation between the Polish Armaments Group and Targi Kielce.
Awards and distinctions
The MSPO included the gala of the 9th edition of the State Security Leader National Competition, awarding function of the “Proud Veteran” Statuette presented by the Association of Injured and Victims on Missions Outside the Country., and the Blue Ribbon award ceremony. The idea behind the Blue Ribbon award establishment is to symbolise and strengthen cooperation ties between Polish enterprises, to appreciate reliable and robust business partners. However, this is not the only distinction the Kielce exhibition and congress centre has earned. The celebration of the 45th anniversary of the PCO offered the opportunity to recognise Andrzej Mochoń PhD. who received a token of recognition for his services for PCO SA. The uniformed-class students of secondary schools gathered at the International Defence Industry Exhibition for the official roll-call headed by the Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszak.
The function included the awarding ceremony; the Minister of National Defence recognised the winner of this year’s edition of the knowledge competition on the Polish Army – the Military Extra-Class. The competition winner is the
the John Paul II Technical and Service Schools Ensemble in Tarnowskie Góry, the Sybirak School Complex No. 2 in Nowy Sącz, the Vocational Training Centre – School Complex in Rybnik and Cyprian Kamil Norwid Secondary School No. 2 in Stargard.
One of the highlights of the MSPO agenda is the Defender Gala; this ceremony sees the prizes and awards granting for the best products showcased at the trade fair.
The following were awarded during the function: Special Awards of the President of Targi Kielce Management Board, Special distinction of the MSPO Programme Board, awards and distinctions of the Inspectorate of Support for the Armed Forces, Main Award of the General Commander of the Armed Forces, DEFENDER statuettes.
The Minister of Development, Labour and Technology also presented special accolades in the “Best Polish Armaments Expert” category; WB ELECTRONICS SA | WB GROUP, were recognised with the prize.
The award of the Minister of National Defence presented in the form of a sabre was handed to the representative of the ARCHER Arms Factory from Radom.
Presented at the Gala Ceremony, the President’s Award is granted for the product which best serves the purpose of the RP Armed Forces soldiers’ safety enhancement;
Stalowa Wola Steelworks SA from Stalowa Wola; WB Electronics SA from Ożarów Mazowiecki, Rosomak SA from Siemianowice Śląskie for the artillery reconnaissance vehicle built on the KTO Rosomak are this year’s Award winners.
The Defender function was also the occasion to celebrate the jubilees of the companies: Griffin Group / Defence (30th anniversary), PCO (45th anniversary), Military University of Technology (70th anniversary), “PZL-Świdnik” Communication Equipment Factory (70th anniversary), Military Institute of Armament Technology (95th anniversary), Łukasiewicz Research Network (95th anniversary), Polska Zbrojna Magazine (100th anniversary).
The upcoming 30th MSPO is held next year – we look forward to seeing you.