Significance of Russia’s ARMY 2023 International Military and Technical Forum

In an address during the opening of the Russian Defence Ministry’s Army 2023 International Military Technical Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized its high prestige and broad recognition, and also as a vehicle for the expansion of Russia’s multifaceted ties with foreign countries.

“Russia is open to deepening its technological partnerships and military-technical cooperation with other countries on equal terms, and to working with all those seeking to assert their national interests and independent development path, all countries that believe that working together to build an equal and indivisible security framework is essential as a reliable safeguard for every state,” Putin stressed in his speech.

According to the Russian president, the 250 events focus on the diversification of the defence industry and the development of artificial intelligence technology. Russia has something to offer in these promising ground-breaking areas.  Putin added: “We intend to continue taking advantage of the already established cooperation ties as well as to create new ones based on many years of successful experience of mutually beneficial partnerships. We propose developing cooperation in a variety of areas, including personnel training, training foreign military personnel and improving their qualifications, conducting joint command post and other joined exercises.”

Russian Defence Ministry has held its traditional ARMY International Military and Technical Forum (ARMY 2023 IMTF) in mid-August with participation of 82 foreign states including Asia and Africa. The expositions were represented by six countries, including Belarus, Vietnam, India, Iran, China and Pakistan. 

The ARMY 2023  IMTF has earned high prestige and recognition, and has become one of the world’s largest showcases of innovations and modern products of military use, and has made a serious contribution to the development of military-technical cooperation.

A unique feature of ARMY 2023  IMTF was the simultaneous holding of several major international events at the Forum’s venue: the XII Moscow Conference on International Security and the Second International Anti-Fascist Congress.

According to the media statement, 14 bilateral meetings were organized and held, including six by Deputy Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation, Colonel General Aleksandr Fomin, with representatives of the military departments of Myanmar, Pakistan, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Djibouti; three by Deputy Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation, Colonel General Yunus-Bek Evkurov, with the Central African Republic (CAR), Mali and Burkina Faso; five by the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation with Mali, Uganda, Bolivia, Burundi and Djibouti.

The plenary session led by Deputy Chairman of the Russian Government – Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, toured the forum’s exposition during the opening ceremony which was held with the participation of the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation Army General Sergei Shoigu, and the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Belarus Lieutenant General Viktor Khrenin.

Special attention was paid to the topic of unmanned aerial vehicles. This area is now being actively developed both in military and civilian sectors. In fact, the topic relates to the creation of a new independent, knowledge-intensive and high-tech industry.

In turn, for those, wishing to familiarize themselves with the peculiarities of the production of innovative civilian products, there was an opportunity to visit the exposition ‘Diversification of Russia’s defence industry’ which is presented in a separate pavilion, as well as the thematic exhibition, dedicated to the advanced achievements in the field of domestic artificial intelligence technologies, which was demonstrated for the first time. 

This exhibition was presented under the motto ‘Time for results’ which demonstrated the best practical developments and technologies in various industries and application areas, including in certain regions of the Russian Federation. Organizations with the best practical results acted as exhibitors.

Along with the expositions of advanced weapons, military and special equipment and new technologies, special attention focused on the unmanned aerial vehicles – a field that is not only actively developing in the civilian sector, but also rapidly transforming according to changes in nature of armed struggle within the framework of a special military operation. 

The level of production of drones of various classes and means of combating them, the development of the system of training centers for pilots and crews, as well as the scale of combat use of UAVs have reached a serious scale. It is not only the aerial use of UAVs, but also the practical actions of troops using drones on water and on land.

Within the framework of the championship ‘Drone biathlon’ for the first time an extended set of events were also held, including static exhibition of unmanned aerial vehicles and countermeasures systems, scientific and business program with participation of representatives of federal executive authorities, leading industrial enterprises, scientific and business elites, as well as heads of leading schools of FPV-drones volunteer pilots training. 

The championship program includes competitions and master classes on practical tasks of FPV-drone piloting in a complex electronic environment, reconnaissance and target engagement using methods, tested on the line of contact.

On 15 August, the Forum program focused on the work of specialists. A series of bilateral meetings between the leadership of the Russian Ministry of Defence and representatives of defence agencies, as well as bilateral meetings organized through the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, planned as part of the forum.

The Patriot Park later hosted events of the XI Moscow Conference on International Security with the participation of heads of military departments, representatives of the expert community from various states and representatives of international organizations.

Within the framework of the scientific and business program, 57 events are planned, the main ones are: the meeting of the section No. 1 of the Artificial Intelligence Congress ‘AI Technologies. Best practices of implementation’; meeting of the interdepartmental working group ‘Regional control centers as a mechanism to ensure the integrated development and security of the subjects of the Russian Federation’.

In addition, the Forum guests had an opportunity to visit the Patriot Park facilities: training and simulator complexes of the Armed Forces, facilities of the multifunctional firing center, as well as facilities of the center of military-tactical games and others. 

In order to serve as a fresh push for the expansion of global military-technical cooperation and enable the closest possible collaboration between the scientific and manufacturing communities to develop cutting-edge military and dual-use products, the Russian Defence Ministry from 14 to 20 August 2023 held the ARMY International Military and Technical Forum.

Kester Kenn Klomegah
Kester Kenn Klomegah
MD Africa Editor Kester Kenn Klomegah is an independent researcher and writer on African affairs in the EurAsian region and former Soviet republics. He wrote previously for African Press Agency, African Executive and Inter Press Service. Earlier, he had worked for The Moscow Times, a reputable English newspaper. Klomegah taught part-time at the Moscow Institute of Modern Journalism. He studied international journalism and mass communication, and later spent a year at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. He co-authored a book “AIDS/HIV and Men: Taking Risk or Taking Responsibility” published by the London-based Panos Institute. In 2004 and again in 2009, he won the Golden Word Prize for a series of analytical articles on Russia's economic cooperation with African countries.