Military and Strategic Journal
Issued by the Directorate of Morale Guidance at the General Command of the Armed Forces
United Arab Emirates
Founded in August 1971


DSA 2024 Turns Defence Spectacle with RM9.4B Deals

In a major show of global defence cooperation, the 18th Defence Services Asia (DSA) 2024 and National Security Asia (NATSEC Asia) 2024 exhibitions concluded recently at the Malaysian International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) in Kuala Lumpur. 
The four-day event, which began on May 6, shattered records, attracting 1,324 companies from 60 countries. Solidifying its position as a premier defence and security showcase, a record-breaking 578 foreign VVIP delegations from 40 nations participated.  
The impact wasn’t just symbolic — Malaysia’s Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Home Affairs inked a combined RM9.4 billion worth of contracts, a testament to the event’s resounding success. Over 47,587 trade visitors hailing from 114 countries and regions graced the event.
Putrajaya Forum 
Several impactful events took place, including the Putrajaya Forum, an international conference that brought together policymakers, stakeholder agencies, think tanks, and academicians to discuss regional issues, share knowledge, and foster understanding. 
Also held was the National Security International Seminar which saw participants deliberating on the topic of Enhancing National Security Through Good Governance and Credible Partnership: Opportunities and Challenges. The Minister of Defence, Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, delivered the keynote address at both these forums.
Another ground-breaking session at NATSEC 2024 was a combined seminar on cybercrime and substance abuse, which saw the Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, chairing a town hall session together with the Malaysian Inspector General of Police, Tan Sri Razarudin Husain.
G2B / B2B Programme 
DSA facilitated the sourcing and identification of potential business partners for both exhibitors and buyers through its G2B / B2B programme, enabling them to reach out and expand their market.
A platform was established to highlight the significance and demonstrate the advancements in drone and robotic technologies in modern defence and security systems, specifically at the My Defence Security Innovation Pavilion. This initiative aimed to promote Malaysian defence and security products, innovations, technologies, and solutions.
Minister Khaled Nordin emphasised DSA and NATSEC Asia’s significance in showcasing international defence cooperation. He highlighted substantial contracts totalling nearly RM9.4 billion, stressing their economic impact and role in bolstering collaborative defence capabilities. 
Minister Saifuddin praised NATSEC Asia’s growth, calling it a cornerstone of global security dialogue. He emphasised its role in sharing insights and strategies to enhance collective security posture, reflecting a commitment to regional and global security frameworks. 
Global Impact 
Beyond defence-related exhibitions, the role of the exhibition extended far wider to foster cross-border relationships while championing international and regional cooperation. The programme included bilateral and multilateral meetings, conferences and keynote addresses on critical issues such as cybercrime, healthcare, good governance, substance abuse, and border security, among others.
DSA 2024 and NATSEC Asia 2024, which were held with the support of the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Malaysian Armed Forces, have collectively brought the country a vast array of benefits and income, including economic spinoff of more than RM700 million.
These events have supported the economy through the creation of more than 6,000 jobs for Malaysians while bringing direct benefits to multiple industries, including but not limited to the hospitality and F&B industries, logistics and transport, retail and entertainment, exhibition services, gig economy, and financial services.
Tan Sri Asmat Kamaludin, Organising Chairman of DSA and NATSEC Asia 2024 said, “This year’s events have surpassed all expectations in scale and impact. Our goal was to create a dynamic environment that not only facilitates, but also inspires innovation and strategic dialogue. The record participation and the smooth handling of the logistics involved in bringing together thousands of delegates and exhibitors is no ordinary feat. It demonstrates Malaysia’s capability to host world-class events that are not only effective but also influential on a global stage.”  
Forging Resilience
In the recent budget announcement for 2024, the Malaysian government announced an increase in Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Home Affairs allocation to strengthen the level of defence readiness and national security. The Malaysia Ministry of Defence has been allocated RM19.7 billion
(US$4.37 billion) in the 2024 Budget, an increase of RM2 billion compared to 2023 which will see the armed forces procure new assets. The Ministry of Home Affairs, on the other hand, has been allocated RM19 billion, an increase of RM500 million.
The government’s comprehensive procurement plan encompasses a range of essential assets. This includes 12 new helicopters for the Royal Malaysian Air Force, significant additions for the Malaysian Army, such as 60 infantry fighting vehicles, 50 High Mobility Light Tactical Vehicles (HMLTV), six Hovercraft Integrated Fast Interceptors, and 733 support vehicles.
NATSEC Asia Focus
At NATSEC Asia 2024, the exhibition featured over 250 participating companies and focused on national security, showcasing a wide range of latest homeland security products and services, along with training and simulation systems. 
NATSEC Asia established itself as a dedicated national security show by leveraging DSA’s globally recognised VIP delegation management system. Throughout the event, it served as a platform for numerous high-profile delegations, contributing to its status as a premier national security event. This collaboration highlighted regional issues and fostered mutually beneficial partnerships aimed at enhancing both national and international security.
Graduate Fund
Following the success of the exhibitions, DSA Exhibition and Conference Sdn Bhd announced its commitment to supporting Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM) in the education and development of deserving children from Armed Forces Personnel and the Royal Malaysian Police. 
This initiative materialises through the establishment of the DSA & NATSEC Asia Graduate Fund programme, marking a historic milestone in the history of DSA. Encik Nadzeem, Executive Director of Defence Services Asia, presented a mock cheque for RM100,000 and a Letter of Understanding to Lt Gen Datuk Mardzuki Muhammad, Vice-Chancellor of UPNM. These funds will be disbursed during the years when DSA & NATSEC Asia exhibitions are held, covering a span of five DSA series over a decade.
Deals Galore
On May 8, Kuala Lumpur was abuzz with the signing ceremony of Contract Documents, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and the handover of significant documents by the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF).
The event marked a pivotal moment with 40 signings worth RM7.3 billion, comprising 17 Letter of Acceptance, seven Contracts, four Letters of Intent, 10 Memoranda of Understanding, and two Corporate Integrity System Malaysia Certificates. 
Among the highlights was the procurement of new assets for the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF), including 18 units of Anti-Tank Guided Weapon — Medium Range (ATGW-MR) for the Malaysian Army, a replacement of the Air Surveillance Radar (ASR) and Air Traffic Management (ATM) system for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), and contracts for the refit programme of three RMN vessels — KD JEBAT, KD PERAK, and KD BAUNG.
The ceremony underscored the symbiotic partnership between MINDEF, the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF), and the defence industry. 
The soft launch of the MyAERO 3D Visualisation & Virtual Augmented Mixed Reality (VAMR) Lab took place during the second day of the exhibition. Officiated by YB Senator Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, Minister of Investment, Trade, and Industry, the event aimed to propel Malaysia’s aerospace industry forward with cutting-edge technology.
Notable Exhibitors 
Amongst notable exhibitors were Advanced Defence Systems, Airbus, Aselsan, AVP, BAE Systems, BDT, Boustead Naval Shipyard, BrahMos, CANik, CZ, DEFTECH, Desan Shipyard, Destini, EDGE, FN Herstal, FNSS, Galaxy Aerospace, Glock, HAL, Hensoldt, InVeris, Kongsberg, Kovico, L3 Harris, Leonardo, LIG Nex1, Malvus Sense, MBDA, Mildef, Mindmatics, Nadicorp, NAUDI, Naval Group, OpenApps, Otokar, Sapura, System Consultancy Services, Roketsan, Tawazun, Thales, TUSAS, Weststar Defence and many more.
Here are some standouts among participants and pavilions:
UAE Defence Spotlight
The UAE National Pavilion made a notable presence at the show. Hosted under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Defence and Tawazun Council and organised by the Emirates Defence Companies Council (EDCC), the pavilion showcased leading UAE-based defence companies such as EDGE Group, Calidus, AAE, Yahsat, Avantguard Holding Limited, Darwish Bin Ahmed & Sons etc. 
EDGE led the charge with innovative autonomous systems, precision-guided munitions, arms and ammunition, cyber, and electronic warfare systems.
The exhibition featured cutting-edge defence products, technologies, and solutions. Among these were electronic weapons systems, armoured vehicles, UAVs, air defence systems, communications, space and satellite systems, and training & simulation.
Participation in DSA 2024 underscored the UAE’s commitment to bolstering international cooperation in defence and security. It served as a platform for showcasing UAE companies’ defence products, fostering knowledge exchange, and exploring collaboration opportunities.
Mona Ahmed Al Jaber, Chairwoman of the EDCC, emphasised the council’s dedication to advancing international defence and security cooperation. The exhibition provided member companies with opportunities to establish new partnerships and enhance the UAE defence industry’s competitiveness in global markets.
Hanadi bin Darwish, CEO of Avantguard, highlighted the exhibition as a platform for learning about global technologies, fostering international cooperation, and showcasing Emirati technology worldwide.
Leonardo-MoD Collaboration
Leonardo and the Malaysian Ministry of Defence (MoD) have solidified their collaboration with the signing of an Industrial Collaboration Programme (ICP) Agreement, as announced by the Italian defence manufacturer on May 8.
The milestone agreement, formalised at DSA 2024, signifies a significant progression subsequent to Malaysia’s acquisition of two ATR P-72M twin-turboprop aircraft and ancillary services in May 2023. These maritime patrol variants of the ATR regional transport aircraft were provided by ATR, a joint venture between Airbus and Leonardo.
Leonardo has pledged to engage with the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), educational institutions, and local industries. The objectives revolve around joint projects aimed at technology transfer and exploration of further collaborative opportunities. Notable participation from universities such as the Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology (UniKL MIAT) will fuel research and development initiatives, nurturing a skilled cadre of aeronautical engineers.
Local enterprises are also poised to play an active role in supporting Leonardo’s aircraft development endeavours. 
Nizra Defends & Delivers 
Nizra Industries, a burgeoning defence solutions provider in Malaysia, has been making remarkable strides in the country’s defence sector, spanning Land, Air, Sea, and Cyber Security and Defence domains. Through its emphasis on localisation, expertise development, and successful project deliveries, the company has solidified its position as a key player in the market.
At the exhibition, Nizra Industries sealed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with several leading technology companies, cementing strategic partnerships aimed at enhancing its product offerings.
The company showcased state-of-the-art Maritime Surveillance Drone Aircraft and cutting-edge solutions for network-centric operations. Additionally, it presented a proposal, in collaboration with a leading Italian defence firm, for Air Traffic Control at Kuantan Air Base for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), inclusive of after-sales service and operations training in Malaysia.
The company aims to raise awareness of its commendable track record and commitment to delivering high-quality projects, driven by internal talent cultivation and sound management practices.
Lucelta Manufacturing Facility
Lucelta Defense, a rising force in defence solutions, revealed plans to construct a cutting-edge manufacturing facility in Malaysia. The memorandum of agreement inked with CZR Consulting Sdn Bhd signifies the establishment of Lucelta Defense Malaysia, aimed at meeting the escalating demand for its products globally.
The new plant will not only ramp up production of firearms, brushless DC motors, and field hospitals but also tailor products to the needs of the Malaysian military and law enforcement agencies. Central to this initiative is the focus on nurturing local talent. Lucelta Defense intends to offer international training programmes to Malaysian students, grooming them into skilled specialists in defense research, development, design, and manufacturing.
Partnering with local educational institutions, it aims to cultivate a proficient workforce, aligning with Malaysia’s aspirations to reduce dependence on foreign expertise. By fostering a collaborative environment, the company seeks to spur economic growth and bolster Malaysia’s self-sufficiency in defence.
Through this venture, it aims to fortify the defence production value chain, contributing to Malaysia’s journey towards greater autonomy and technological prowess. 
TUSAS Malaysia Milestone
Turkish Aerospace Malaysia inaugurated its new operational office, TUSAS Malaysia Sdn Bhd, in Cyberjaya, marking Malaysia’s first aerospace OEM design centre. 
Since 2022, TUSAS Malaysia has seen significant growth, contributing to Malaysia’s aerospace manufacturing and technology sectors. The collaboration between Malaysia and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) in procuring advanced Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) ANKA showcases the potential for strategic alliances and technology transfer. 
The inauguration of TUSAS Malaysia’s office signals opportunities for Malaysia’s aerospace industry to advance in design, manufacturing, and maintenance capabilities, aligning with the National Industry Masterplan 2030. 
Viettel’s 5G Journey 
Viettel High Technology Industry Corporation (Viettel High Tech) secured a significant contract to deploy a Private 5G System in India, marking a major achievement during the exhibition. 
Partnering with United Telecoms Limited (UTL Group), a prominent Indian telecommunications corporation holding 70 per cent of the national transmission network market share, Viettel aims to penetrate the competitive Indian market and target government clients leveraging UTL’s extensive network.
UTL Group, renowned for its expertise in telecommunications, IT, and e-Government services across 60 countries, emphasises the demand for 5G solutions in India. 
Dr. Raja Mohan Rao Potluri, UTL Group’s Chairman, highlighted Viettel’s comprehensive 5G connectivity solutions and UTL’s role in facilitating collaboration and promoting product trade. 
Discussions between UTL and Viettel focus on developing essential features for both Private and Public 5G Networks, capitalising on the growing demand. 
Nguyen Vu Ha, Viettel High Tech’s General Director, emphasised the company’s capability to tailor solutions to meet customer needs, drawing on its experience in large-scale telecom projects.
Sarsilmaz’s Global Unveiling
Providing the much-needed robust fire support in combat situations, the SAR127 MT heavy machine gun, developed entirely as “indigenous and national,” stole the show at the event. Alongside the SAR127 MT, Sarsilmaz Silah Sanayi also unveiled the new generation of its “legendary” SAR3 series, the SAR9 Gen9, for the first time on the international stage.
Future Force
A total of 380 VIP delegations from 34 nations had been part of 2022 edition. The show’s year-on-year growth proves it is an invaluable platform for bringing together various industry leaders, government, defence and homeland security agencies from across the region with the purpose of forging mutual trust and collaboration between all parties.
During the latest event, key themes were emphasised by various speakers. These included the necessity of investing in emerging defence technologies with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles, the importance of credible international partnerships founded on good governance and trust, and the urgency of addressing non-traditional threats such as environmental extremes and cross-border economic activities.
Looking ahead, preparations for DSA & NATSEC Asia 2026 are already underway, scheduled for April 20 to 23, 2026, at MITEC. This marks not just an endpoint, but a new beginning in the collective journey towards a safer and more secure future.
Stay tuned for updates on future editions of this globally renowned exhibition.
Photo credit: DSA 2024,

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