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The 2022 edition of the biennial EURONAVAL exhibition will be held in Paris-Le Bourget from 18 – 21October 2022. ESD was granted an exclusive interview with Hugues d’Argentré, Director of SOGENA, the organizer of the event.

ESD: The EURONAVAL 2022 exhibition will be held in Paris-Le Bourget from 18 – 21 October 2022. How many exhibitors from how many countries do you expect, and what will be the particular highlights of the event?

d’Argentré: Based on the current registrations and the participants of the 2018 edition, (EURONAVAL 2020 was an entirely online event with 10,500 visitors, 1,300 business meetings and 3,500 conference participants), we expect more than 450 exhibitors from all over the world, even if the Russian-Ukrainian war and the consequences of the COVID pandemic should make us cautious.

The exhibition is taking place at a time when many coastal countries want to strengthen and improve their navies. The subject of this show will be the return of high intensity conflicts with a focus on robotics, cyber and high seas naval forces.

As at all the shows, special attention will be paid to innovation. A space dedicated to start-ups in the naval sector will host some 40 companies that will be able to meet with major naval defence companies and thus contribute to the future of navies and services acting at sea.

ESD: Will there again be an accompanying conference? And if so, what will be the subjects addressed in the conference?

d’Argentré: Two vision conference roundtables, organised in cooperation with the Centre d’EtudeStratégique de la Marine (CESM) and the Fondation Méditérranéenne d’Etude Stratégique (FMES), will be held on 03 and 10 October, prior to the exhibition, on the subjects of Global Rearmament and The Maritime Consequences of the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict”.

A symposium will be also held in Paris on 17 October, the day before the exhibition, in cooperation with the Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS) on the topic of “Naval Forces Facing High-Intensity Combat and Naval Warfare and Technological Advantages, with the much-anticipated speeches of the French Navy Chief of Staff, the Delegate General for Armaments and the President of the French Marine Industry Association (GICAN), who also holds the position of EURONAVAL President.

Finally, throughout the show, many workshops will be held at the Le Bourget site, covering all the issues and innovations that are of interest the naval defence arena. For this purpose, a call for talks has been sent to all exhibiting companies to offer them to participate in these conferences and exchanges.

All these round tables, conferences and workshops will bring together military, industrial, diplomaticand academic experts to make these exchanges strong moments of strategic and technical reflection for the benefit of marine evolution and their use.

I would also like to point out that we will produce, for the second time, in cooperation with Janes, GICAN and Praxial, a study on the world shipbuilding industry which will present the state of production of shipyards from all continents as well as the state of navies and their main equipment programmes. This study will be presented at the exhibition and will be published for the benefit of EURONAVAL 2022 exhibitors and visitors.

ESD: To what extent do the French Government and the French Navy support EURONAVAL 2020? Are the Government and the French Navy inviting delegations on their own?

d’Argentré: The French Ministry of the Armed Forces and especially the General Delegation for Armament and the French Navy are essential supporters of the exhibition. First of all, by their presence with a large stand presenting innovations and upcoming programmes for the French Navy. Secondly, by hight level contributions of French Navy officers and DGA engineers to the conferences and workshops organised on and around the show. It is also the Minister of the Armed Forces and the high authorities of the Ministry who invite their counterparts from foreign countries to visit the exhibition. Last but not least, it is the Minister of the Armed Forces who will open the exhibition in temorning of 18 October.

The exhibition also enjoys the support of the Secretary General of the Sea who, under the authority of the Prime Minister, is responsible for the Action of the State at sea.

ESD: Obviously, this year’s event will again be affected by the global Covid-19 pandemic. Do visitors and delegation from e.g. the Americas, Asia and Africa have to expect to be taken in quarantine?

d’Argentré: If the show were to open next week, there would be no sanitary restrictions for French or foreign visitors, but there would be an incentive to be cautious and to respect the barrier measures. We do not know today what the situation will be in mid-October, in France, Europe and the world but we are resolutely optimistic.

ESD: So, how many delegations and from which countries do you expect?

d’Argentré: It is still premature to make a precise count, but we expect more than 130 delegations from nearly 75 countries. We will have a more precise picture in October, a few days before the opening of the EURONAVAL exhibition.

It is likely that after two years without a naval exhibition due to the pandemic and with the rise of insecurity and armed conflicts in the world and especially in the Pacific Ocean and on the border of Europe, many coastal states will be interested in sending delegations of decision makers and experts to visit the EURONAVAL exhibition, which remains the most important naval exhibition in the world.

ESD: Is there a “Plan B”, just in case another COVID-19 wave excludes the physical presence of the expected numbers of exhibitors and visitors?

d’Argentré: We are resolutely optimistic, but in the unlikely event that the exhibition cannot be opened due to a return of the pandemic, we will maintain, as we did in 2020, a EURONAVAL-Online which will allow all interested visitors to have access on our website EURONAVAL.FR, in live and in replay, to all the conferences and workshops scheduled.

ESD: Within the European naval shipyard community there is currently a trend towards consolidation. How do assess this trend, and which European shipyards have reserved space at the exhibition?

d’Argentré: The vast majority of the major European shipyards will be present at EURONAVAL 2022, but also shipyards and equipment manufacturers from all continents. As you know EURONAVAL is the most important naval exhibition and remains the only naval exhibition in the world where the industrials are guaranteed to meet all the representatives of the world’s navies

We invite you to come and meet them and discover their innovations and service offers to guarantee and reinforce peace and security at sea and from the sea.