The Unmanned Systems (UMEX) and Simulation and Training (SimTEX) exhibitions will take place from 23-25 January 2024 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), with record participation expected from local and global specialised companies. The announcement was made at the press conference held at ADNEC to discuss the latest preparations for launching the largest edition of the exhibitions and the accompanying conference to date, organised by ADNEC Group in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence.

Major General Mubarak Saeed bin Ghafan Al Jabri, Chairman of the Supreme Organising Committee of the exhibitions, said: "Since their first launch in 2015, the UMEX and SimTEX exhibitions have witnessed significant developments on all fronts, thanks to four main success factors. The first factor is the significant and unlimited support from the wise leadership and their gracious patronage of these events, providing all aspects of support for their success, in addition to the leading global stature of the country and its diplomatic relationships with all countries of the world, which contributed to enhancing the competitiveness of the exhibitions and their ability to attract major global specialised companies from the five continents.

"The second factor is the leadership of the UAE and its transformation into a global economic hub for innovation and creativity in unmanned systems, simulation and training, robotics, and artificial intelligence industries, providing an integrated legislative environment that leads the world in this field. The third key to success is Abu Dhabi's sophisticated infrastructure, combined with ADNEC Group’s distinct business approach. This approach is implemented across ADNEC's seven specialised divisions, each adhering to the highest international standards relevant to their sector. The final factor contributing to success involves the ongoing and dedicated efforts of the Supreme Organising Committee. They collaborate with partners from both public and private sectors to consistently introduce new and additional events with each edition. This approach aims to surpass the expectations of both participants and visitors. What you see today is the fruit of efforts implemented over the past 24 months, where the preparation and promotion for the event began at the end of the previous edition in 2022."

Al Jabri clarified that the present edition of the exhibitions is the biggest and most comprehensive since their inception. This reflects the growing significance of unmanned systems in upholding international peace and security. Additionally, these industries and their advancements play a crucial role in driving the sustainable development of national economies. They now extend beyond defence applications to encompass commercial and civilian uses.

Al Jabri stated that the exhibitions provide a platform to showcase the latest innovations and technologies in unmanned systems, simulation, and training, including robotics and artificial intelligence applications, bringing together international industry leaders and decision-makers under one roof to discuss ways to advance the current state and future of these vital sectors.

The Chairman of the Supreme Organising Committee continued to state that the current edition would witness the participation of many official delegations, with over 245 official invitations sent to visiting delegations from around the world. The first day will include an opening ceremony with local and international senior officials and guests, showcasing the significant development in unmanned systems industries and the leadership of the UAE in these vital sectors.

Al Jabri said: "It is expected that over the three days, the exhibitions will see the influx of decision-makers and specialists eager to learn about the most prominent vital sectors experiencing unprecedented development and growth, thanks to artificial intelligence technologies that have revolutionised the world in recent years. We are also striving to provide the appropriate environment for emerging companies to find opportunities to connect with local and international partners, build strategic partnerships, and open channels for direct and indirect investment in the innovations and technologies of these emerging companies in these vital sectors.

"Our cooperation with ADNEC Group in these unique events, dedicated to unmanned systems, simulation and training, artificial intelligence, and robotics, marks a milestone in the world of specialised exhibition industry. This aligns with the goals of our wise leaders and the Ministry of Defence’s strategy to grow national industries across various key sectors. We aim to achieve this by strengthening partnerships with global industry leaders and actively working to bring and adapt advanced technologies within our country. This will contribute to affirming the growing position and reputation of the country as a global centre for the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and as a centre for innovation and creativity. The exhibitions will witness the announcement of many deals for the participating pavilions, in addition to deals for the Tawazun Council for the benefit of the Armed Forces of the United Arab Emirates."

Al Jabri said that organising the exhibitions will be accompanied by hosting the UMEX and SimTEX conference on 22 January 2024, under the theme Unmanned Systems, Ascending to New Spaces for Emerging Technologies and Unprecedented Impacts. It is expected to attract more than 200 top leaders, decision-makers, and experts, who, during several sessions, will discuss the most prominent challenges and regional and international issues, in addition to showcasing the latest technologies and innovations in these sectors and ways to employ them for civilian and military uses.

Hamid Matar Al Dhaheri, Managing Director and CEO of ADNEC Group, said: "The world turns its attention again next week to Abu Dhabi as a new milestone is reached in the state’s achievements in various economic and knowledge sectors, through hosting the largest edition of the UMEX and SimTEX exhibitions since their first launch in 2015."

Al Dhaheri explained that the current edition will witness the launch of five new initiatives for the first time, including the launch of the UMEX commercial platform with the participation of more than 37 international and local companies specialised in the civilian and commercial uses of unmanned systems. For the first time, live land and marine unmanned systems shows will be organised at the main platform and ADNEC’s water channel, in addition to aerial shows in the Sweihan Hills area. The current edition of the events will witness the launch of the first edition of the programming challenge within the exhibitions, targeting national talents specialised in programming sectors, in cooperation between the Ministry of Defence and ADNEC Group.

A new platform for startups from around the world will also be launched, inviting companies to present their latest innovations and technologies to compete for the UMEX Next Gen Innovation Award, in addition to launching a programme of daily dialogue sessions for the commercial sector with speakers from leading companies in this area.

Al Dhaheri said that the current edition of the exhibitions has attracted record participation from major global companies specialised in these vital sectors, with the exhibition area increased by 15 per cent, reaching over 30,000 square metres, compared to the previous edition in 2022. More than 214 exhibiting companies are set to participate in the exhibitions, with a growth rate of 19 per cent compared to the previous edition. Additionally, more than 35 countries are participating, marking a 30 per cent increase in the number compared to the last edition, while the current edition of the exhibitions witnesses the participation of 11 countries for the first time, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Singapore, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Taiwan, Estonia, the Virgin Islands, and the Czech Republic.

Hamid Matar Al Dhaheri, Managing Director and CEO of ADNEC Group, said: "Since its establishment, ADNEC Group has been committed to supporting the growth and development of national industries in various sectors, as part of its strategy to enhance the competitiveness of national companies and transfer and localise advanced knowledge in the country. The current edition of the exhibitions has seen an increase in the number of national companies to 72, a 64 per cent increase over last year’s edition. In this year’s edition, national companies’ participation represents 34 per cent of the total exhibiting companies, while the number of international participating companies reached 142, representing 67 per cent of the participating companies. The UAE pavilion is the largest among the national pavilions participating, with an area of 5,200 square metres, followed by the Chinese and then the American pavilions, affirming the importance of the exhibitions in advancing the present and future outlook of these vital sectors in the country."

Al Dhaheri thanked the Ministry of Defence for their efforts and cooperation in successfully organising these important events and presenting them in a manner befitting the reputation and status of the country on both regional and international levels, and to all partners in the public and private sectors, especially EDGE, the strategic partner of the exhibitions.