In his address at the launch of the event, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said 390 companies from the defense and commercial industry from 31 countries and regions are participating in the five-day event. “Modern security threats require Malaysia and other countries to continue to upgrade and modernize their strategic assets,” he said. Mahathir said LIMA would help Malaysia move closer toward its goal of becoming the leading aerospace hub among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as the industry is expected to expand rapidly in the next few years. “We plan to make Malaysia the leading aerospace nation in Southeast Asia and an integral part of the global market,” he said. First launched in 1991 by Mahathir during his first term, the biennial program has grown into a major arms and technology showcase, drawing hundreds of companies from dozens of countries. The highlights for this year are two aerobatic teams from Indonesia and Russia and they will showcase their skill at aerial maneuvers as part of the event, a staple part of the event. Additionally, some 50 fighter jets and other aircraft from the participating countries will perform aerial displays at the Langkawi International Airport. Also present are 43 warships and maritime assets including 16 vessels from several participating nations. Major defense companies present this year include Rafale International of France and Boeing from the United States.