As this year will mark 20 years since the start of the DSEI shows, the UK defence industry can look at not just how the sector has developed in this time, but also what to expect from the next 20 years. So, it is fitting that the RAF has announced the theme of its first DSEI Aerospace Capability Conference as, ‘Delivering the Next Generation Air Force’.
As the RAF fleet evolves there is a constant need to understand the future of air systems, including the role of Air Power, in information-led, increasingly competitive and complex operational environments.
With fifth generation aircraft now entering its fleet, the RAF is looking at how to deliver the Next Generation Air Force. The Aerospace Capability Conference will consider if the generational approach is still appropriate, or whether there is space for a new, ‘continuous evolution’ approach, whereby innovation can be seeded within a Next Generation Air Force, driven by technology-forward thinking and empowered individuals.
The RAF is undergoing a transformation programme to modernise and mobilise its combat air, ISR and air mobility fleets, as it looks to maintain its edge in contested and degraded environments. It must also deliver nascent ballistic missile defence, cyber and space capabilities, and ensure integrated operations at all levels that deliver relevant information to commanders in real time.
Attendees at the Aerospace Capability Conference can see International, high-level speakers share their thoughts on the future battlespace and the challenges of a multi-domain environment. Critically, the conference will reinforce the need for close collaboration between the RAF and its industrial partners to maintain its advantage in the next generation.
“Our 100th anniversary epitomised the enduring role of the RAF in protecting the UK’s skies, projecting its influence and power on a global scale, and promoting national prosperity,” Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, Chief of the Air Staff, said. “To succeed on operations, now and in the future, we must have people, processes and practices in place that allow it to respond rapidly and decisively to changing threats.
“The operational environment is likely to become increasingly complex, contested and degraded, so the RAF must plan and deliver air and space effects, synchronised and integrated with cyber and information activities, in support of Defence outputs. To meet this challenge, we must become a Next Generation Air Force: it is a journey and not a destination. DSEI is an excellent opportunity to explore this journey alongside our international and industry partners and to ensure that we embrace innovative and disruptive ideas along the way. ”
The Conference sub-themes will explore topics including: Space - Coalition Warfighting; Air C2/ISR - Information at the Speed of Relevance; Combat Air – Maximise our Effects; and, A2AD - Dominance in a Contested and Degraded Operational Environment. These discussions will continue throughout DSEI in dedicated seminars on the exhibition floor.
The RAF’s debut Aerospace Capability Conference will be reflected by its presence on the DSEI exhibition floor. Featuring in the Aerospace Zone, the RAF will demonstrate its fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft with Team Tempest industry partners.
The DSEI Aerospace Capability Conference will take place on Monday 9th September at ExCeL London.