Arms Fairs are crucial to the smooth-running of the arms trade. They help to promote weapons sales by giving arms dealers the chance to meet and greet military delegations, government officials, other arms companies and a host of individual visitors. Unsurprisingly, the guest lists for arms fairs frequently include regimes who abuse human rights, and countries actively involved in armed conflicts.
Government support for arms fairs
The UK government has a department dedicated to promoting weapons sales: the UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO).
UKTI DSO is an essential part of UK arms fairs, organising the presence and itinerary of overseas military delegations. It also plays a major role in promoting UK arms producers at overseas arms fairs. It facilitates high-level UK delegations, takes exhibition space and even provides serving members of the UK armed forces to demonstrate arms companies' weaponry.
The arms fair circuit
Find out more about the two biggest UK arms fairs:
DSEi is one of the world's largest arms fairs, owned and organised by Clarion Events, a commercial company. DSEi takes place in the ExCel Center in the Docklands area of London and takes place every two years. It receives major financial, logistical and political support from the UK government, most notably through government arms sales unit UKTI DSO.
The most recent DSEi arms fair took place in September 2011 - the next is scheduled for September 2013. CAAT is campaigning to end DSEi and end the government support that makes it possible. Find out more about DSEi and join us in action to Stop the Arms Fair.
Farnborough International displays civilian and military aircraft and is held at Farnborough Airfield in Hampshire. It is run by Farnborough International Ltd, a subsidiary company owned by the arms industry body ADS. The most recent Farnborough International took place in July 2012.
At Farnborough International booths of weaponry sit side-by-side with civil aerospace stands and the event finishes with a public air display, but it is still very much an arms fair. Farnborough features the world's top arms companies and military delegations from around the world. Find out more about Farnborough.