Skip to content

The Russian Naval Arms Show The World Should Not Miss

March 11, 2015

Russia St Petersburg admiraltyThere’s the Admiralty and there’s the mouthwatering blini.

But historic St. Petersburg has another draw for visitors with a business bent: the International Maritime Defense Show or IMDS, a biennial fair for naval systems and weapons.

This year’s IMDS is being held from July 1 to 5 at the Lenexpo, a commodious seaside venue with enormous halls and docking facilities for ships. The Russian Navy’s hardware will be out in force at IMDS together with hundreds of exhibitors.

Lenexpo, which is run by the events company Expoforum, has 11 pavilions for international exhibitors, 11 conference halls, and complete amenities, from dining areas to a first aid station.

Morskoy Salon JSC, the company publicizing IMDS, agreed to share an exclusive interview with Director General Mikhail Anatolyevich Zolotarev.

Russia IMDS M. Zolotarev

Director General M.A. Zolotarev

Director General Zolotarev is the civilian liaison for events promoting Russia’s maritime industry, a vital sector now that Moscow is forging closer ties with Asia and strengthening its sovereign control over Arctic sea lanes.

IMDS, first held in 2003, is also where brand new and upcoming military hardware is teased, like the Steregushchy-class corvette displayed in 2011.

Like many international trade fairs and arms shows, IMDS’ exists to boost Russia’s own enterprises. Its true organizers are the Ministry of Industry and Trade or Minpromtorg with help from several other government agencies, including Rosoboronexport, the official state-run arms exporter.

The last IMDS, held in 2013, was particularly successful at attracting both tourists and customers. During the interview below, Director General Zolotarev expressed his satisfaction with IMDS 2013’s post-show attendance figures.

21st Century Asian Arms Race (21AAR) is a media partner for IMDS 2015.

Russia IMDS venue

Aerial view of Lenexpo.

What does IMDS look like?

Zolotarev: IMDS in St. Petersburg is a federal event organized every two years in accordance with the Russian government’s orders. The organizer of the show is the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Tens of departments are involved in IMDS, including the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, St. Petersburg Government, Rosoboronexport JSC.

IMDS is the biggest event of its kind in Russia organized to develop business contacts between Russian enterprises and foreign partners for naval cooperation. These partnerships should also establish international industrial cooperation in producing naval equipment and armaments.

How is IMDS arranged, what are the main sections?

Z: For IMDS 2013 there were several sections in the venue for exhibiting products. These included exhibition stands, open-air areas, piers, live demonstrations of action maritime artillery at firing range and discussing theoretical and organization issues at conferences and round tables.

IMDS 2013 exposition at Lenexpo had a total area of 17,000 square meters. Moreover, a number of enterprises demonstrated the products at the open-air areas. All the leading enterprises of the maritime industry of Russia were represented among the participants. The manufacturers of component items, mechanisms and devices, electronic components, IT technologies and dual-use products occupied significant exposition areas.

36 ships, boats and vessels, including ships and boats of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, three ships from foreign navies, as well as boats and vessels of IMDS enterprise-participants were presented at demonstration sections at the piers of the marine passenger terminal and at the floating piers near the exhibition grounds.

RUssia IMDS dock

Steregushchy-class stealth corvette docked outside the Morskoy Vokzal hotel and marine passenger terminal near the Lenexpo exhibition grounds. (Via IMDS.)

The maritime artillery systems and small arms were successfully demonstrated in action at the Rzhevka firing range of the Ministry of Defense for the official foreign delegations and mass media representatives.

The Congress and Business sector of IMDS 2013 included five research and training conferences, as well as 25 other official events.

Two sailing races, which have already become traditional for the prizes of IMDS, took place during the show. An air show featuring Russkie Vityazi (Russian Knights) in Su-27’s, the Strizhi (Swifts) acrobatic team in MiG-29’s, and the Russian L-39 Albatross team was also held.

The negotiations between foreign official delegations were conducted with government officials, the heads of security and defense departments, and the directors of enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex.

According to the opinion of members of official delegations, one of the most interesting IMDS events became the visits to St. Petersburg shipbuilding enterprises, R&D establishments, design bureaus and factories and plants specializing in naval systems.

How many participants and visitor-specialists took part in IMDS 2013?

Z: There were 457 enterprises from 31 countries present. Among them were 89 foreign companies who also took part in IMDS 2013. There were 75 official delegations from 51 countries who visited IMDS 2013, that is, nearly all countries who deal with the production and operation of naval equipment, were represented. The delegations consisted of five Ministers of Defense, 14 Commanders-in-Chief of various navies and other high-ranking officials.

More than 48,000 visitors took part in the events of IMDS 2013.

Russia anti-ship missile

The bi-annual IMDS is also an occasion where cutting edge Russian hardware is displayed to the public, like the Uran anti-ship missile pictured above.

What are the main results of IMDS 2013?

Z: The 6th IMDS has confirmed its status as one of the leading world exhibitions in naval engineering and armament.

The negotiation sector occurred to be the most eventful. Within the frames of the Show foreign delegations conducted a lot of business meetings and outlined ways for future cooperation.

It is important to underline that overwhelming majority of IMDS 2013 participants is those companies and enterprises, whom we are already closely familiarized with, that is, it were they, who participated in the previous shows. A large amount of constant participants tells that IMDS is useful and effective event, successfully achieving its main goals.

On the whole I can note with pleasure that IMDS 2013’s hard-driving program was completely fulfilled, the format and the volume of our scheduled show exceeded the figures from the previous events.

Aerial acrobatics as seen from behind the marine passenger terminal at a previous IMDS.

What about the next IMDS?

Z: The 7th IMDS will take place from July 1 to 5 at Lenexpo.

The preparation for IMDS 2015 is in full blast. We’re arranging the show program, sending invitations, and registering first participants.

May I take this opportunity to inviting all interested persons to visit and participate in IMDS 2015 in the maritime capital of Russia – the city of St. Petersburg. See you soon at IMDS 2015!