World's biggest weapons fair sees surge in visitors amid global turmoil

The world's largest arms exhibition, held in Paris this week, attracted bumper crowds as a result of the wars in Ukraine and Gaza and increased tension between the US, Russia and China. Eurosatory 2024 was also not without controversy.

Thousands of weapons industry executives, arms dealers, military delegations and plain aficionados congregated throughout the week in the cavernous halls of the Villepinte exhibition centre close to Charles de Gaulle airport.

More than 2,000 companies set up stands displaying their – mostly deadly – hardware, ranging from hand held Glock pistols to fully automatic machine guns, AI-guided RPG's and rocket launchers.

Companies providing support for action in warzones displayed bullet-proof vests, Etendard tactical all-terrain motorbikes and gas masks for dogs.

Outside, an impressive display of heavy armour included France's trademark Caesar howitzer, German Leopard tanks and a forest of antiballistic Aster and Mistral missiles.

The French Defence Ministry was present with a pavilion as were their colleagues from the US Army.

China's largest armament group, Norinco, showed scale models of mobile rocket launchers against a backdrop of an enormous LCD-screen featuring exploding rockets in a blue sky.

The "changing global security situation" meant there was much more interest in this year's show, a spokesperson for the German tank maker Rheinmetal told RFI.

Meanwhile Marc Darmon, President of French armaments consortium GICAT, told a press conference that crises and conflicts overlap rather than replace each other.

Read more on RFI English

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