Concern over activities for school children at Farnborough arms fair

ForcesWatch is raising ‘serious concerns’ about aspects of the Farnborough International Air Show designed to engage children and young people in careers and ‘exciting’ activities.

The ‘air show’ – held every two years in Hampshire – is taking place this coming weekend. Associated events this week include a major arms fair, civil aerospace exhibition and hosting of military delegations from some of the world’s most repressive regimes (2).

Most of the world’s major arms companies also have a presence exhibiting a range of weaponry including drones and missile systems. There are over 60 exhibiting companies involved in the production of missile systems alone (3).

The UK Government has a clear strategy of promoting the arms trade at Farnborough through the UK Trade and Investment Defence and Security Organisation (UKTI DSO). This arm of the civil service organises private meetings and briefing events to help promote UK weaponry and hosts overseas military delegations, including, in 2014, from Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia (4). Government ministers also attend.

Events on Futures Day (Friday 15 July) are aimed at students in schools, universities and youth associations aged between 11-21. The day affords weapons manufacturers unique PR opportunities, including showcasing arms to children (5).… Read more