Guide to defence and aerospace exhibitions in 2021 – which are still going ahead?


Grant Turnbull

Director and Co-Founder

Do you want to know what defence and aerospace exhibitions and events are taking place this year, and which events have been cancelled due to Covid-19? Find out below.

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has seen most in-person events cancelled or postponed across the world since March 2020, but there is optimism that we will see the return to some kind of normality in 2021. This optimism is being driven by the rollout of new vaccines across the world, which over time could see strict lockdown restrictions lift and allow international travel and events to take place again.

For the defence and aerospace industry – like other technology and manufacturing industries – international exhibitions play a significant role for businesses, particularly business development, sales, marketing and communications. While many companies have invested significantly in digital over the last year, and that is likely to remain for the foreseeable future, many in the industry have missed being able to meet customers and prospects face to face.

We’ve put together a helpful list of all 2021 defence and aerospace exhibitions, including whether they are still taking place or if they have been cancelled due to uncertainties created by Covid-19. We will update the list frequently.


Aero India 2021

Air Force Station, Yelahanka, Bengaluru

3-5 February

Status: Going ahead

Aero India 2021 began in 1996 and this year will be the 13th edition of the exhibition and airshow, which happens every two years. The last edition of Aero India saw over 400 exhibitors, with over 100 of those being foreign exhibitors looking to tap into the large Indian defence market. While the exhibition is still taking place this year with Covid measures in place, it is likely to be significantly downscaled due to ongoing international restrictions.

IDEX 2021 (International Defence Exhibition 2021), NAVDEX

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

21-25 February

Status: Going ahead

IDEX is a biennial event – taking place in odd years – and one of the largest defence exhibitions to take place in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Held in the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi, the event normally attracts over 1,300 exhibitors and around 124,000 visitors over the course of the week.

Unlike western exhibitions, this event attracts both Russian and Chinese companies looking to sell equipment into the Middle East. The 2021 edition is also significant as it will be the first time in IDEX history that Israeli companies will take part, following the normalisation of relations between the UAE and Israel.

Will IDEX 2021 be cancelled? Despite Covid-19 restrictions still largely being in place around the world, and cases/deaths remaining high, this year’s event is still planned to take place in Abu Dhabi. The 2021 edition – which will waive a requirement to quarantine for attendees – is likely to see significantly less visitors and exhibitors as companies choose not to expose their employees to the risk of contracting the virus.



New Orleans, United States

22-25 March

Status: Cancelled

HELI-EXPO is the largest global trade show dedicated to rotorcraft, and in recent years has expanded further into the innovative world of eVOTL, which includes air taxis. The event – organised by Helicopter Association International (HAI) – was planned to take place in New Orleans in 2021 and was estimated to have 700+ exhibitors.

Organisers had initially been confident that the event would take place, but with the Covid outlook not improving in early 2021 and a number of key exhibitors pulling out, the event was eventually cancelled by HAI.

The next event is scheduled to take place in Dallas, Texas on 7-10 March 2022.


LAAD Defense & Security 2021

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

6-9 April

Status: Cancelled

LAAD is billed as the biggest defence and security exhibition in Latin America, and is an important event for companies that want to access the Brazilian market. The 2019 event saw 450 exhibitors from 34 countries attend, and nearly 40,000 visitors coming to the Riocentro conference and exhibition centre outside of Rio.

Brazil continues to be one of the hardest hit countries in the world by the Covid pandemic with deaths totalling 224,000 as of Feb 2021. As a result, the 2021 edition has been cancelled “due to ongoing disruption to international travel, the continued uncertainty about the restrictions placed on conference and exhibitions, and to preserve the interests, health and safety of our attendees and staff”, said organiser Clarion.

The next edition is due 11-14 April 2023.

Indo Defence Expo & Forum 2021

Jakarta, Indonesia

6-9 April

Status: Cancelled

Indo Defence was planned to take place at the end of 2020 at the Jakarta International Expo, but holding the event was considered to be “impractical and difficult for exhibitors” owing to the ongoing Covid situation at the time. The organisers rescheduled the ninth edition of Indo Defence for April 2021, but Covid cases have continued to rise and hospitals in Indonesia have reportedly come under significant strain.

In February, it was announced that the rescheduled 2021 Indo Defence exhibition would not take place, owing to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and the next event would now occur on 2-5 November 2022.


Land Forces 2021

Brisbane, Australia

21-27 June

Status: Going ahead

Originally planned for September 2020, Australia’s biennial defence exhibition has been postponed until June 2021. Land Forces is an international industry event “to showcase equipment, technology and services for the armies of Australia and the Indo-Asia-Pacific”. The event is organised by Industry Defence and Security Australia Limited, a non-profit organisation to promote Australian defence and security capabilities. The 2018 edition had 15,000 attendees and 624 companies took part.

In January, a senior Australian health official noted that it would be likely that “substantial border restrictions” would stay in place throughout 2021. How this will affect Land Forces 2021 is not known at this point.

Paris Air Show 2021

Paris, Le Bourget, France

21-27 June

Status: Cancelled

The Paris Air Show is the largest air show in the world and is held every two years at Paris-Le Bourget airport. It normally attracts over 300,000 visitors from across the world and nearly 2,500 exhibitors.

Owing to the uncertainty created by the Covid pandemic, and the continued downturn in the aviation sector, the Paris Air Show board of directors and the French Aerospace Industries Association (GIFAS) announced the cancellation of the 2021 edition in December 2020. It is the first time the show has been cancelled since the second world war and follows the Farnborough Airshow cancellation in 2020.

When is the next Paris Air Show? Following its cancellation in 2021, the next air show is now expected to take place 19-25 June 2023.

Asian Defense & Security – ADAS 2021

Manila, Philippines

29 May – 1 June

Status: Going ahead

Launched in 2014, the next Asian Defense & Security (ADAS) exhibition will be the fourth edition to take place in capital Manila. The event has traditionally been held at the end of the year, and was planned for September 2020, but like other shows was rescheduled for 2021. ADAS is a tri-service show that specifically focuses on the requirements of the Department of National Defense, the Philippines Armed Forces and other government agencies, including the police.

Originally postponed to 5-7 May 2021, organisers announced in February that the event had moved again to 29 May – 1 June 2021.


Undersea Defence Technology (UDT) 2021

Rostock, Germany

29 June – 1 July

Status: Going ahead

Last year’s Undersea Defence Technology 2020 was due to take place in Rotterdam, but was eventually cancelled indefinitely. The 2021 edition is now planned to take place in Rostock, Germany (the location of the German Navy HQ). UDT is the largest global event dedicated to the undersea defence industry and incorporates an exhibition and conference, with previous events seeing 1,500 attendees.

Defence Exhibition Athens – DEFEA 2021

Athens, Greece

13-15 July **NEW DATES**

Status: Going ahead

Defence Exhibition Athens sees the return of a dedicated international defence event in Greece, taking place at the Metropolitan Expo. It is being organised by Greek exhibition company ROTA SA and the Union of Greek Manufacturers of Defence Material (SEKPY), under the auspices of the Ministry of National Defence/GDDIA. Greece spends over 2% of GDP on defence, meeting NATO spending targets, and has made a number of significant capital investments in its armed forces in recent years with more expected in the future.

The event was originally due to take place on 11-13 May, but has been postponed to 13-15 July to ensure safer conditions for exhibitors and visitors.


International Defence Industry Fair – IDEF 2021

Istanbul, Turkey

17-20 August **NEW DATES**

Status: Going ahead

IDEF is one of the key events in the defence industry calendar, and an important occasion for Turkey to show off its rapidly expanding domestic manufacturing capabilities. The exhibition is popular with both Turkish companies, which are increasing exports around the world, as well as international exhibitors that are keen to expand into the domestic market or already have key programmes with the Turkish military.

IDEF Turkey 2021 has been postponed this year to August 2021 as a result of ongoing restrictions and uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was originally planned to take place at the beginning of May.


MSPO 2021

Kielce, Poland

7-10 September

Status: Going ahead

MSPO was one of the only in-person defence events to take place in 2020, which was helped significantly by the decline of Covid cases last summer. The annual event takes place every September and concentrates mainly on the domestic Polish market. MSPO aligns closely with Poland’s defence ambitions, which includes increasing domestic manufacturing and replacing legacy Soviet equipment with new Western kit in the land, sea and air domains.

EW Europe, IT2EC 2021

Rotterdam, Netherlands

08-10 September *NEW DATE*

Status: Going ahead

Taking place yearly and run by Clarion Events, the specialist trade shows EW Europe and IT2EC are co-located together. The 2020 exhibitions, which were to be held in Liverpool, UK, were cancelled due to the Covid crisis, and was rescheduled for May 2021 in Seville, Spain.

In December 2020, Clarion announced that the 2021 event was postponed but it was unclear whether this was related to Covid or other reasons. An article in Spanish newspaper El Pais noted the cancellation was due to local opposition in Seville.

IT2EC and EW Europe are now scheduled to take place in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in September. Clarion Events said that it is “confident the new timeline will allow us to welcome international attendees to the show” and all “exhibitor bookings will be valid for the rescheduled dates”.

Defence Equipment and Security 2021 (DSEI 2021)

London, England

12-14 September

Status: Going ahead

DSEI is one of the biggest defence exhibitions in the world – occurring in odd years (its French counterpart Eurosatory taking place in even years) – with the 2019 edition seeing over 36,000 attendees and 1,700+ exhibitors. The event takes place at the ExCel Centre in London, and attracts visitors from 114 countries including high-level delegations, military buyers, decision makers and industry professionals.

It is hoped that worldwide vaccine programmes will have had a significant impact by the summer and that large-scale events such as DSEI 2021 will be able to take place once again as restrictions lift.


Association of the United States Army – Annual Meeting & Exposition (AUSA 2021)

Washington D.C., United States

11-13 October

Status: Going ahead

One of the premier defence events in the US, the Annual Meeting & Exposition is dedicated to the requirements of the US Army and its ambitious 21st Century modernisation efforts. The Annual Meeting & Exposition – colloquially known as just “AUSA” – is an opportunity for industry to show off the latest technologies and solutions to US Army leadership, and is also a chance for visitors to understand the latest thinking behind Army programmes such as Future Vertical Lift, or the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle.

AUSA events attract over 30,000 visitors during the shows and 650+ exhibitors. Many companies choose to unveil new products and solutions during the week, and there is a significant international media presence at the show.


Defense and Security 2021

Bangkok, Thailand

1-4 November

Status: Going ahead

Defense and Security is Thailand’s premiere tri-service defence exhibition, supported by the country’s Ministry of Defence. The organisers note that over 500 companies attend the exhibition, with most using the show as an opportunity to sell into the domestic Thai market and work with local suppliers and manufacturers.

Dubai Airshow

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

14-18 November

Status: Going ahead

The 2021 edition of the Dubai Airshow will be its 17th edition, and the show organisers have noted that the event will “reflect on the recovery and future growth of the aviation sector as it continues to remain critical in connecting people and goods around the world”. Organisers have said that the 2021 edition could be the biggest Dubai Airshow yet, with 1,300 exhibitors and 165 aircraft on static display. Success of the airshow will clearly depend on a noticeable global recovery from the Covid pandemic by the end of the year.

The Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition (Avalon 2021)

Geelong, Victoria, Australia

Status: Going ahead

Known by its shortened name “Avalon”, the biennial Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition is one of the biggest defence and aerospace events in the Australia/Asia Pacific region. It has grown over recent years as a result of Australia’s increase in defence spending and investment in modern military capabilities, particularly in the air domain. In 2019, Avalon welcomed nearly 700 companies and over 38,000 attendees on industry days.

Avalon was originally planned to take place in February 2021, but the ongoing Covid pandemic meant that the organisers pushed it back to November. If the event goes ahead, it will be the “centrepiece of the Royal Australian Air Force’s Centenary celebrations”.


Egypt Defence Expo (EDEX 2021)

New Cairo, Egypt

29 November – 2 December

Status: Going ahead

The 2021 Egypt Defence Expo – the country’s only tri-service defence exhibition – will be the 2nd edition after its launch in 2019. Egypt boasts the largest military in Africa and regularly invests in new defence equipment and capabilities from all over the world. Organisers expect 30,000+ attendees to the 2021 edition and 400+ exhibitors.

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