Abu Dhabi: International Defence Exhibition, Idex 2019 got underway in Abu Dhabi with hundreds of companies displaying their latest defence equipment as security challenges grow in the region and across the world.

More than 1,310 defence firms are participating in the five day event that is being held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. The number is up 6 per cent compared to the previous edition of Idex in 2017.

International companies account for 85 per cent of the total number of participating companies, while the number of local firms is 170, representing 15 per cent of the exhibitors.

The event takes place as defence spending goes up in the region. A report released by Jane’s by IHS Markit forecasts defence spending in the Gulf region to hit $103 billion (Dh378 billion) in 2019 and continue upwards to $110 billion in 2023, up from $82 billion in 2013.

Ratheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Rostec from Russia, among others are taking part in the event.

Russian State Corporation Rostec is showcasing the latest models of military and civilian equipment including Pantsyr-ME, a shipborne air-defence missile and artillery system, as well as the 200 series of Kalashnikov assault rifles.

In addition to military products, it is also exhibiting Aurus, the armoured limousine.

The Middle East and North Africa are strategically important regions of the Corporation’s presence. In 2018, the Middle East accounted for nearly half of all exports of military products, handled by Rosoboronexport, the parent company of Rostec.

“The countries of the Middle East and North Africa are extremely important markets for us, where we implement a lot of projects in the field of military and technical cooperation, Sergey Chemezov, the CEO of Rostec said in a statement.

He is expected to announce more details about the company’s plans for the region during a press conference on Monday.

At Idex 2019, more than 50 enterprises of the Russian defence industry are showcasing their developments with a total of about 1,000 exhibits, with a number of weapon and military equipment models on display for the first time ever.

The US-based Lockheed Martin, on the other hand is highlighting a diverse portfolio of capabilities, products and services at the event, including its integrated air and missile defence technology, tactical aircraft, rotary systems, unmanned vehicles, and beyond.

“At Lockheed Martin, we recognise that next-generation technological innovations shape the future of global security and progress,” said Robert S Harward, Chief Executive for Lockheed Martin in the Middle East. “As such, our core focus is to create and develop advanced defence capabilities, which will support all our regional partners in ensuring the safety of their citizens and stability of their nations against evolving threats in this modern age.”

Boeing is also present in a big way at Idex 2019 with advanced helicopters like AH-64 Apache and the CH-47F Chinook. It is also showcasing KC-46A Pegasus, a multi-role tanker with the ability to refuel all US, allied and coalition military aircraft.