A Major Arms Exhibition Is Happening In Beijing This Week
China’s powerful state-owned defense contractors are attending a 10-day summit in Beijing this week. The occassion was announced by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) last Friday in a terse press release bereft of details:
An exhibition will be held in Beijing to display nearly 1,000 military industrial products, ranging from lunar probes to deep-sea manned submarines.
The event organized by China Association of Peaceful Users of Military Industrial Technology, is slated for July 16 to July 25.
The products will be provided by the country’s 11 leading military industrial groups and China Academy of Engineering Physics, and will include Chang’e lunar probes, Long March-5 carrier rocket, China’s deep-sea manned submersible Jiaolong, and the 981 drilling platform.
In addition, the AC311 helicopter, known as the “Air Elf,” and unmanned planes will be on display in the outdoor area.
It’s worth noting how the author emphasized maritime technology along with other strategic assets, i.e. a lunar probe and a drilling platform. China’s navy and coast guard are still sowing tension across East and Southeast Asia in an effort to expand sovereign territory.
Mentioning the AC311 and “unmanned planes” could mean the PLA is now very interested in ISR and scout aircraft. The AC311 is an indigenous light helicopter comparable to the US-made MD 500.
Judging by the duration of the event, which spans 10 full days when most arms shows average just three business days, there’s going to be a lot of face time between the military-industrial complex and the PLA.
With publicity surrounding the event scarce, it seems its length is occupied by seminars, lectures, and training sessions for the participants.
Another announcement published by the MND on July 2 was more detailed, describing the unnamed exhibition as a “civil-military integrated development expo.” The same press release mentioned the event organizer, the ironically named China Association of Peaceful Uses For Military Industrial Technologies.
It also revealed the venue, the National Agricultural Exhibition Center, and the major companies participating:
China National Nuclear Corporation, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, China State Shipbuilding Corporation, China North Industries Group Corporation and China Electronics Technology Group Corporation.
The National Agricultural Exhibition Center is located in Beijing’s Chaoyang District. A trade show venue opened in 1959, it’s known for its distinctive “traditional” architecture and vast floor space–exhibitors can lease up to 30,000 square meters. The National Agricultural Exhibition Center is across from Beijing’s embassy row and behind a PLA hospital.
According to the MND, this particular civil-military affair involves 20,000 square meters, ample room to absorb at least 2,000 guests. The exact number of visitors, foreign delegates, and invited media are unknown but the MND did specify that:
Leaders and experts from the government, the military, defense industry enterprises and private companies will attend the forum.
After checking regional trade show and exhibition calendars, it appears the unspecified event is either the 4th China Defense Information Equipment & Technology Exhibition 2015 (CNTE 2015) or an appendage to it.
This exhibition–organized by Beijing Qifa Exhibit Service co., Ltd.–is from July 16 to 18 and is being held at the China International Exhibition Center near Beijing International Airport.
A press release from the organizer reveals CNTE 2015 involves 500 exhibitors, 1,300 booths, 20,000 visitors and 20,000 square meters of floor space. For outsiders, what exactly transpires in both venues is a matter of speculation.