A Showcase of Africa’s Aerospace and Defence:  21 – 25 September 2022

It should come as no surprise that this 11th edition of Africa’s premier aerospace and defence exhibition (AAD) is more than 20 years old in its current format.

Actually, AAD’s history dates back much further: to a civilian air show first hosted in 1975 at Johannesburg’s Lanseria Airport in which CAASA – the Commercial Aviation Association of South Africa, one of our current AAD partners – played a key role. Besides CAASA, our other partners in AAD are the South African Department of Defence & Military Veterans, the Armaments Corporation of South Africa (Armscor), and the South African Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industry Association (AMD).

At the prompting of the then Chief of the South African Air Force, the public was given insight in the country’s military aviation and land systems through a military exhibition in Pretoria. Called DEXSA, defence exhibition of South Africa, it eventually merged with the civilian air show to become Aerospace Africa in 2000, subsequently called Africa Aerospace & Defence (AAD).

Since then, AAD has grown in stature. It is the oldest exhibition of its kind in Africa. Hosted every two years at Air Force Base Waterkloof, it temporarily moved to Cape Town from 2006 to 2010, and in line with events worldwide, the AAD2020 edition was cancelled due to worldwide Covid-19 lockdown regulations.   

Back in business

It is no exaggeration to state that AAD remains the largest gathering of aerospace and defence industry enterprises on the African continent. In addition, we invite numerous high-level international delegations, including defence, air force and navy chiefs, as well as top business executives. The three trade days of the show, book-ended by pertinent technology conferences and seminars, on-site hospitality suites, as well as static and mobility displays, all offer a conducive environment for significant B2B engagements.

At the last event (2018), no less than 34 countries – up from 30 at the previous event – were represented as exhibitors, with 15 national pavilions. The event attracted close to 34,000 trade visitors from South Africa and abroad, in addition to 55,000 air show visitors on the public days.

Importantly, some 12,000 school learners attended as part of our Youth Development Programme (YDP), which aims to create awareness of career opportunities in aviation and defence, as well as the broader industrial environment of high technology.

The regular YDP affords many of these youngsters their first close-up encounter with aircraft, helicopters, and defence systems here at AAD. For the most part, they only see aircraft flying in the sky, whereas here they might even go on board.

What they learn is that some of the technology they use daily, such as a smart phone with moving maps and GPS, was developed by the aerospace and defence industries. Having personal interaction with exhibitors and the industry in general, these learners may appreciate the value of Mathematics, Science and Technology as school subjects. The aim of our YDP is for the youth to explore possibilities of vacation work, internships and even bursaries for tertiary studies.

AAD is the only international defence exhibition and conference on the African continent demonstrating the latest technology across land, sea and air sectors of defence.


This 11th edition of AAD is hosted in the aftermath of serious global events such as the Covid-19 pandemic and instability in various regions.

Interestingly, air travel has returned to pre-2019 (Covid) levels, as International Air Transport Association (IATA) analyses show. It stated that the rebound continues despite inflation and high jet fuel prices. Cargo volumes have also increased significantly globally and in Africa.

The air transport sector in South Africa supports close to 500,000 jobs and contributes significantly to the country’s GDP.

Global military spending is also on an upward trajectory, with SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) saying in April 2022 that military expenditure has now passed $2 trillion for the first time. As global tensions rise, defence spending is rising.

For these reasons, the defence industry, along with the air transport sector, sees Africa Aerospace & Defence (AAD) as key to unlocking potential. AAD is therefore a must for exhibitors and delegations.

Moreover, South Africa’s National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) has given formal approval to the AAD organisers and partners to host the event this year.

Given the rising global threats on many fronts, including socio-economic, AAD2022 is hosting a strong conference profile under the theme of Exploring New Paths, Sharing Solutions, Showcasing Innovation and Capabilities.

The net is cast wide, to get leading academics, innovators, researchers, and industry role-players to drill into the Mining, Energy, Gas and Oil, Agriculture and Transport sectors, besides the aerospace and defence spheres. Some of the conferences scheduled from 21 to 23 September include UAVs (drones), counter-terrorism, cyber-security, general aviation, and medical solutions.

The conference and networking programme is designed to enable virtual exhibitors and sponsors to engage with all in-person and virtual delegates before and during AAD2022, as well as for two months after the event. It also allows live-streaming from exhibitor booths.

Important to note

As its earlier editions, AAD2022 is the only exhibition in Africa simultaneously featuring defence and aerospace technologies at the same venue.

The combined exhibition and air show takes place at AFB Waterkloof in Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa. As a military base operated by the South African Air Force (SAAF), it benefits from military grade security and access control, further secured by the South African Police Service, the city’s Metropolitan Police and AAD’s contracted private security.

The site boasts easy road access from several directions to manned entrances around the walled perimeter, with ample parking in and around the air base. In addition, visitors using the fast Gautrain rail service from OR Tambo International Airport arrive at the nearby Centurion station within 20 minutes where taxis and dedicated Gautrain buses are available.

Pretoria is also served by the Lanseria International Airport (40 minutes away) and the Wonderboom airport north of the city. Visiting aircraft can land at AFB Waterkloof, subject to pre-approval and air traffic controls.

As the previous events, AAD 2022 is hosted over five days, of which the first three days are official trade days (closed to the public), followed by two public days with numerous air displays throughout the weekend.

Moreover, for the first time, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, will participate in the air displays.

A new feature of AAD is the display of technologies pertaining to the transport, mining, and energy sectors, notably renewables and gas. In the drive towards eliminating or reducing carbon emissions, these technologies are gaining traction across a broad front. AAD2022 aims to strengthen the hand of our stakeholders in this regard.


South Africa has lifted its national state of disaster in relation to Covid-19 regulations in April 2022, which means masks are no longer mandatory, but are recommended, especially in crowded or closed environments. It is advisable to be fully vaccinated, although visitors are no longer required to show a vaccination certificate for travel to South Africa.

While cases of monkeypox have been detected in South Africa, the health authorities state the actual number is negligible. “The risk of monkeypox to the South African population remains low, given the low transmissibility of the virus,” according to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD).

A feature of AAD has always been the presence and participation of the South African Military Health Services (SAMHS). It is one of the few military medical services independent of the three traditional services (army, air force and navy), having existed since 1912. It is a combat

support services providing medical, general health and limited nuclear, chemical, and biological defence support to the other services.

AAD infrastructure

The exhibition offers 54,000 square meters of indoor and outdoor space, including seven (7) large aircraft hangars to accommodate exhibitors and national pavilions. In addition, visiting delegations are hosted in hospitality suites facing the runway with a prime view on the daily aerial display and vehicle mobility arena.

Stand building contractors, logistics companies and catering services have been appointed for the benefit of exhibitors. All relevant information on the general rules for stand building, especially the movement of equipment, build-up and breakdown, can be found on the AAD website: https://www.aadexpo.co.za/exhibitors/stand-builders-information

The AAD cloud-based Mobile is handy for exhibitors and visitors to obtain much useful information before, during and after the event.

All exhibitors and trade visitors are required to register for the event. This is done online at: www.aadexpo.co.za where a live link is provided. Tickets for the public air show (24 and 25 September) are available through Computicket.

In addition to the daily air display, AAD has an outdoor vehicle mobility track to showcase the capabilities of various kinds of land vehicles and military manoeuvres often involving pyrotecnics.

Provision has been made for networking, VIP entertainment, mini conferences and product launches in the well-appointed engagement theatres and premier lounge. A dedicated media centre and photo vantage sites service the needs of some 400 international and local accredited journalists and photographers.

Media opportunities

Major international and domestic media organisations are official partners of AAD2022, with DefenceWeb producing the official AAD2022 Show Daily in digital format. Each day a fresh issue and back-issues of the Show Daily will be available online and accessible to readers worldwide. This offers exhibitors a wonderful opportunity to showcase their products and technologies to a wider audience, both through editorial publicity, including photographs and video, and advertising.

For photographers and videographers, AAD2022 has dedicated viewing areas to enable optimal capture opportunities. All these media professionals are required to register online to be duly accredited.

Sponsorship opportunities abound for exhibiting companies to feature their brand across the entire venue and through the media outlets.

AAD support

The current edition of the exhibition and air show is hosted by AMD. The event is managed through a partnership between the South African Department of Defence & Military Veterans, Armscor, the South African Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industry Association (AMD) and the Commercial Aviation Association of South Africa (CAASA). Each entity has an opportunity to host the event on a rotation basis.

AAD2022 is further supported by strategic partners, notably the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) , City of Tshwane SAA and Gautrain.

AAD’s event partners are counterpart international exhibitions, i.e. EDEX ( Egypt) and FIDAE (Santiago de Chile).

Institutional support is provided by several government departments, including State Security, Trade & Industry (DTI) and International Relations & Cooperation (DIRCO), as well as the South African Police Service and the Tshwane Metro Police.

For more information, contact:

Exhibition Director: Michelle Nxumalo
Cell: +27 84 840 3215 – Email: [email protected]