Case Study: Land Forces Exposition 2018

4- 6 September 2018

The biennial Land Forces Exposition, the nation’s premier defence industry event, returned to the Adelaide Convention Centre (ACC), 4 – 6 September, 2018. Building on the success of the 2016 event (also held in Adelaide), Land Forces 2018 eclipsed previous attendance and exhibitor figures, with a record 15,331 total combined international, national and local attendances (up from 13,450 in 2016), along with 624 participating exhibitor companies (a 25% increase on the previous event).

The focal point of Land Forces 2018 was a 20,000sqm defence industry exhibition. The three-day event also featured a series of 21 Defence and Army conferences, technical and scientific seminars and symposia


Land Forces 2018 represented the ACC’s largest ever exhibition. The venue’s recent $397M expansion saw an increase in available exhibition space, enabling the Land Forces 2018 exhibition component to measure 30 percent larger than the 2016 event. In total, this year’s exhibition spanned more than 20,000sqm, occupying the entire ground floor and foyers of the Centre’s three buildings. Additional displays were set in the outdoor Plaza, which delivered strong impact on arrival. The exhibition was erected during a complex and carefully orchestrated multi-day build that saw the ACC team implement a number of special strategies. Debriefing notes from 2016 were revisited to identify hot spots for 2018, which further assisted with planning.

Engineering Feats: Heavy display vehicles coupled with the ACC’s positioning over active train lines provided engineering challenges in regards to weight distribution. In total, there were 20 vehicles set for inside display ranging from 1.8 to 41.5 tonnes each. The ACC team engaged structural engineers who spent more than 100 hours identifying and outlining clearly defined paths of movement for the safe bump-in, display and bump-out of the vehicles. Once they were in position, tyres were deflated to help spread the weight load.

Traffic Management: The scale and complexity of the Land Forces 2018 exhibition required a high volume of deliveries to the ACC over a short time period. To cope with the large number of deliveries (316 semi-trailers of equipment), the ACC’s Exhibitions Team put traffic management in place, arranging for freight staging at the nearby Adelaide Entertainment Centre. In addition, the team arranged to shut down one lane of North Terrace to accommodate oversized vehicles. Thorough pre-planning ensured that deliveries remained on time – critical to ensuring the exhibition opened as scheduled.


Land Forces 2018 was by far the biggest event the ACC has hosted in recent history in terms of security. The highly sensitive nature of the event saw the ACC implement heightened security measures over and above its existing high level of security detail.

Security Lockdown: Land Forces enjoyed exclusive use of the ACC across the event dates, with the venue on ‘lockdown’ to external visitors. To gain access to the building, all attendees were required to pass through an airport style security entrance set up at the front of the venue. In addition, the ACC team established a private backof-house VIP entrance, as well as programed more than 100 special venue access cards to help enforce restricted access zones.

Onsite Security Presence: As part of the heightened security presence, onsite security peaked at 32 guards during the threeday event, with the ACC team supported by agency staff, Military Police and an increased SAPOL presence. Maps for guard placement were devised and three teams of sniffer dogs engaged to carry out a thorough sweep of the venue prior to doors opening on the first day. To ensure effective communication amongst the increased team, the ACC hired in extra radio equipment.

Security Briefings: The sensitive nature of Land Forces involved thorough advance planning and briefings commencing in October 2017.In addition, the ACC team coordinated daily security briefings with the event organisers, Army and Military Police to review activity, identify hot spots and apply key lessons for subsequent days. Briefings were critical to assist with scheduling staff; the sensitivity of much of the content being discussed demanded that there were only limited windows of time that venue staff could access specific zones.


In keeping with the ACC’s EarthCheck certification and focus on sustainability, Centre staff engaged and worked extensively with Suez to divert more than 57 tonnes of exhibition and event waste from landfill. Waste materials sent to Suez were converted into biofuel for use by Adelaide Brighton Cement.


Hailed the ‘best yet’ by exhibitors, visitors and organisers, Land Forces 2018 was a record event by all measures. Not only did it attract record attendances and exhibitors, but was also the Adelaide Convention Centre’s largest ever exhibition, providing a wonderful showcase of the venue’s capabilities, flexibility and expertise in successfully delivering large, complex events. Detailed planning and a close on-the-ground partnership with the event team ensured the event ran smoothly, with positive feedback received from the client and attendees alike.

From a destination perspective, Land Forces 2018 reinforced South Australia as ‘The Defence State’. It provided a wonderful platform to showcase the State’s world-class defence industry and strengths in innovation and technology, as well as reinforce ties with global industry leaders. It also delivered significant economic benefit, injecting $34 million into the South Australian economy, along with providing a great boost to local hotels with 25,000 visitor bed nights.


The team effort from the Adelaide Convention Centre was a major contributing factor to the success of Land Forces 2018. The exhibition had 624 participating companies from 26 countries. We ran 21 conferences, seminars and symposia. There were 74 defence, trade and industry delegations from 36 countries including 31 foreign military delegations and 19 Australian military delegations. Official Functions that included our Opening and Welcome Breakfast for 400, daily sit down formal lunches for 300 and the International Industry and Defence Dinner for 570 and all ran smoothly every time. To successfully carry out all these events within Land Forces 2018 so very well was absolutely brilliant. The ACC team quickly became an extension to our team and together we worked side by side, and at times, under great pressure, and Land Forces was the winner.

– Jane Blackett, Head of Event Production, Land Forces 2018