Here’s what’s it’s like inside the world’s largest arms fair, where uniformed military officials survey the latest weapons and vehicles from the biggest names in the defense industry

Turkish arms maker Otokar displayed its new military truck at London's DSEI expo on Tuesday.

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Turkish arms maker Otokar displayed its new military truck at London’s DSEI expo on Tuesday.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider
  • The world’s largest arms fair is currently happening in London, showcasing the future tools of air, land, and sea warfare.
  • Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) is attended by officials from 50 of the world’s largest militaries, who rub shoulders with over 1,600 arms makers parading their latest products.
  • Business Insider visited the exposition in the Docklands area of east London’s to see what the future of warfare looks like.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

LONDON, United Kingdom – The world’s biggest arms fair, where military officials shop the latest warfare technology from arms manufacturers, is underway in the UK’s capital this week.

High ranking officials from more than 50 militaries are attending Defence & Security Equipment International 2019 (DSEI), browsing new equipment from 1,600 international manufacturers.

Business Insider was invited to visit the exposition in the Docklands area of east London to experience what the future of warfare looks like, from micro-drones, to pilot-less fighter jets, to autonomous squid-shaped sea mines.


The world’s largest arms fair is called Defence & Security Equipment International, and is held in London each year.

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New Naval craft are displayed outside DSEI in London’s docklands.
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DSEI

Hundreds of military officials come in their national service uniforms to survey the latest offerings in warfare technology from arms manufacturers.

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An officer from the Emirati military speaks with DSEI attendees on Tuesday.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider

Some governments have their own booths, like Saudi Arabian Military Industries, the state-owned arms maker, and Israel’s Ministry of Defense.

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The Saudi Arabian Military Industries stand at DSEI.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider

The world’s biggest defense contractors put their latest products on show. In this picture, you can see the display of Raytheon, which built Israel’s famous Iron Dome missile defense system.

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A Raytheon long-range Naval Strike missile on show at DSEI 2019.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider

Displays ranged from ultra high-speed battlefield wiring, to this tiny drone which is folded into a shotgun cartridge and fired in the air.

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This tiny drone is loaded inside a shotgun cartridge and fired into the air to gain elevation quickly.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider

It’s called Drone-18 and is made by Australian arms maker DefendTex. It’s intended for reconnaissance missions, but it can also carry 15-gram payloads.


There was this wireless handheld anti-UAV gun called the Dronekiller.

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The Dronekiller from Electronic Warfare.
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Business Insider/Bill Bostock

This cordless anti-UAV weapon is made by Electronic Warfare, which says it has a range of 1,000 meters.

It emits a signal which disables the drone’s functionality, and is not meant for the battlefield alone.

The company say prison guards should be using them to prevent drones from flying over perimeter fences as a means of smuggling contraband.


The Royal Air Force showed off its new “Tempest” stealth fighter aircraft — which can be used with pilots or used as an unmanned drone.

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A display version of the 6th generation fighter jet at DSEI.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider

It is expected to join active service by 2035, and is a joint project from BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Leonardo, and MBDA.

Source: BBC


This bizarre squid-like drone in a fish-tank is actually an underwater bomb designed to stick to warships and explode.

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The “Shard” mine-hunting drone.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider

The device is named the Sea Hunting Autonomous Reconnaissance Drone (SHARD) and is marketed by the Australian arms manufacturer DefendTex.

Source: Business Insider


The conference also had a VR simulator where attendees could practice firing a wireless rocket launcher at old farmhouses. Sadly, Business Insider didn’t get to have a go.

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A man practices firing a rocket-launcher using an RVT VR simulator.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider

Also on display were sub-machine guns …

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An electric blue Heckler & Koch MP7 on show at DSEI.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider

Assault vehicles topped with large caliber automatic guns …

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A buggy with a mounted machine gun made by MSI Defence Systems.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider

Rifles …

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A Heckler and Kock rifle at DSEI.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider

Telescopic sights to go with the rifles …

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A selection of telescopic sights on show at DSEI.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider

Thermal sights for the rifles …

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A HuntIR thermal imaging sight at DSEI.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider

And remote-controlled mobile anti-aircraft guns.

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The Kongsberg Remote Weapons Station.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider

It wasn’t all just firepower and big guns though. This microphone can help militaries locate conflict zones from miles away, picking up on tiny shock waves caused by gunshots.

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This Metravib acoustic gunshot detector helps security forces monitor weapons miles away.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider

Also on show was this hardy bug-like armoured all terrain vehicle from Canadian vehicle specialists Streit.

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The “Sherp” all terrain vehicle made by Streit at DSEI.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider

Source: Streit


This autonomous, silent drone by Yates Electrospace Corporation is designed to transport cargo undetected. It is nicknamed “The Silent Arrow.” It was unveiled at DSEI, but Business Insider wasn’t able to get a picture.

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The “Silent Arrow” was unveiled at DSEI this week.
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Yates Electrospace Corporation (YEC)

During the show, one of the US Army’s CH-47F Chinook helicopters dropped in.

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YouTube/DSEI

Back inside the convention centre, this tiny bomb disposal robot called “Spur” showed that tech is getting smaller and lighter, but no less powerful.

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“Spur” — made by US manufacturer Qinetiq — on show at DSEI.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider

The Australian Defence Force (ADF), a branch of the Australian army, was present and showed off its new tactical vehicles, made by Australian firm Thales.

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Thales Australia’s new Hawkei vehicle.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider

Australian defense capabilities were one-upped by Turkey, which unveiled the new tactical vehicle from arms maker Nurol Makina.

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Nurol Makina unveiled its new NMS 4X4.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider

Elsewhere, a row of sinister mannequins donned an array of night vision goggles, made by ZeroDark.

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A row of mannequins donning night vision goggles made by ZeroDark.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider

This Kongsberg “Projector” can be used to monitor active missiles, remote weapons systems, and drones, all from the back of a truck.

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A display screen used to track drone activity folds down from the roof of a Kongsberg armoured vehicle at DSEI.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider

There were also displays of a wide range of military clothing.

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Avon Protection showcase their military gear.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider

But if it all got too much, attendees could rest on this bizarre therapist’s chair, made from recycled tank tracks.

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A chair made from tank tracks from manufacturer Defence Service Tracks.
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Bill Bostock/Business Insider