The Cunard Centre in Halifax welcomed a few hundred defence industry delegates last night to kick off the 2015 edition of DEFSEC, Atlantic Canada’s largest defence and security show.

It was obvious that many were happy to see each other, as they kept talking right through the opening remarks, pausing for only a minute or two to welcome the Premier of New Brunswick, Brian Gallant.

New Brunswick is taking opportunities in the defence and security sector seriously, with a strong presence at DEFSEC designed to attract business to their region. In that vein, they have already seen success, wooing big name defence companies to set-up Cyber Security operations in Fredericton.

The show has worked hard to tailor its event to the needs of industry, and this year the organization will host a number of relevant presentations on everything from “Delivering Canada’s Arctic Destiny” to “Defence Procurement: Current Perspectives and Future Prospects.”

DEFSEC has traditionally not had much of a problem filling up booths in the trade show area. While walking through the hall towards last evening’s cocktail reception, companies such as L-3, Lockheed, Irving, Navantia, BAE Systems and DCNS have all returned.

The above-mentioned companies are all in the running for the upcoming Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) program, either targeting the Warship Design (WD) or Combat Systems Integration (CSI) portions of the contract.

With Irving Shipbuilding announcing that the construction of Canada’s Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) is now underway, the National Ship Procurement Strategy (NSPS) is off and running. DEFSEC will undoubtedly benefit from the momentum, but growth for the show will be difficult due to the availability of larger venues.

For now, however, the show will remain its current size, capitalizing on its best features: Lots of time to network, a relaxed East Coast atmosphere, and plenty of B2B meeting facilities.