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Kuwait International Air Power and Air Defense Symposium (KIAPADS)






Post Event Synopsis


Kuwait Air Power and Air Defense Symposium (KIAPADS) Concludes Day One

Kuwait - The opening day of the Kuwait International Air Power and Air Defense Symposium (KIAPADS), held under the patronage of the Kuwait Ministry of Defense and Supported by the Kuwait Air Force took place today at the Regency Kuwait Hotel in Al Bida, Kuwait, with over 250 high level delegates from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, the Jordan, Pakistan, France, the UK, and United States in attendance.

Following the arrival of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Khaled Al-Hamad Al Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Kuwait, Riad Kahwaji, General Manager of SEGMA, began the day with opening remarks on behalf of the organizers in which he thanked His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Khaled Al-Hamad Al Sabah for his support and recognized the support and role of Staff Major General (Pilot) Abdullah Al Foudary, Commander, Kuwait Air Force to KIAPADS.

Recognizing the development of the Kuwait Air Force and its GCC partners, Mr. Kahwaji said the GCC is today undertaking the full-cycle of operations much like NATO and these capabilities reflect the rapid progress Kuwait and its GCC partners have been able to achieve. Kahwaji then spoke about how the GCC is continuing to invest in air power capabilities as well as in air and missile defense (AMD) for collective security that can meet the challenge of conventional and emerging hybrid threats far into the future.

Lieutenant General Mohammed Khaled Al Khadher, Chief of General Staff, Kuwait Armed Forces provided the first Keynote Speech. Lieutenant General Al Khader said it is no secret air power and air defense has reached a great advancement and this meeting sheds light on collaboration between air forces and their industry partners, and reflecting the future vision. Lieutenant General Al Khader also thanked His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Khaled Al-Hamad Al Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Kuwait, for his support to KIAPADS.

Staff Major General (Pilot) Abdullah Al Foudary, Commander, Kuwait Air Force, commenced the proceedings for KIAPADS where he welcomed attendees and participants, emphasizing the importance of such events for building partnerships. He spoke about the importance of investing strategically in the capabilities of the air force and how the Kuwait Air Force, GCC counterparts, and its international partners are working together to meet the challenge of emerging threats. He spoke about collaboration representing a critical element of enabling the Kuwait and its partners in meeting their objectives for peace.

The first session was held under the theme of ”The Air Force Mission Spectrum and Force Readiness” and was chaired by Bernard Dunn, Vice President, Boeing International, and President, Boeing Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. Mr. Dunn opened the session talking about the strategic importance of the Arabian Gulf at the regional and international level, and how its geostrategic importance has previously created a challenging security environment for Arab Gulf states. In setting the backdrop, Mr. Dunn spoke about how GCC air forces have modernized rapidly over the past few decades but the emerging environment is creating new pressures and today a host of new aircraft for different missions have already been or are planned to be procured by GCC air forces.

The first briefing of the session was delivered by Major General Abdullah Al Foudary, Commander, Kuwait Air Force on “Evolution of Air Power and Future Challenges.” Major General Al Foudary spoke about challenges for air forces in meeting their full potential in the context of difficult cultural, political, and strategic factors. Major General Al Foudary spoke about the importance of properly investing in the right capabilities, personnel, and partnerships with air force counterparts and with industry partners to meet the goals of their vision. Major General Al Foudary explained that the Kuwait Air Force was primarily involved with three mission sets – early warning, fighter operations, and air defense operations – during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, and how that experience helped generate critical lessons learned for the future which he discussed in detail.

The second briefing of the session was delivered by Lieutenant General Jeffrey L. Harrigian, Commander, Air Forces Central Command, United States, on “Strategy to Enhance Integration in a Coalition.” Lieutenant General Harrigian began by speaking about the primary importance of training, testing and building the relationships which enable the people that drive the fight to perform at their optimum levels. Lieutenant General Harrigian then spoke about the importance of developing capabilities strategically to leverage systems in order to support and facilitate interoperability and information-sharing. Interoperability and information-sharing is crucial but also challenging at many layers and levels – operationally, he said, it needs to work up from the tactical levels and that can be achieved through training together with common tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) and continuously capturing and applying lessons through these exercises.

The final briefing of the session was presented by Major General Muhammad ibn Saleh Al Otaybi, Chief of Air Staff, Royal Saudi Air Force “Impact of New Challenges Generated by Hybrid Threats for Air Forces.” Major General Al Otaybi identified the changing nature of threats, how wars are fought, air force capabilities, and the concept of operations which together are generating a new strategic landscape. Irregular warfare is once again giving rise to wars of attrition, and with the massive growth in requirements for combat air support, joint operations and coalitions are a necessity for the future.

Following a networking session between delegations and participants, the second session was held under the theme of “Capability Development for Emerging Threats,” chaired by Riad Kahwaji, General Manager of SEGMA. The first briefing of the second session was delivered by Major General Sheikh Hamad Bin Abdullah Al Khalifah, Commander, Royal Bahraini Air Force, Bahrain, on “Capability Development and Integration Priorities for GCC and Partner Air Forces.” Major General Sheikh Al Khalifah spoke about training as a continuous and highly integrated process to raise overall combat readiness for GCC forces, working together with international partners, as a crucial element of capability development. He spoke about efforts to enhance mission capabilities and operational integration at the GCC-level, as well as for cultivating a regional military industrial base cooperatively that can cater to future requirements more comprehensively than ever before. The creation of command centers and joint intelligence centers additionally reflect how GCC partners envision deeper integration between their forces.

The second briefing of the second session was delivered by Air Chief Marshall Sohail Aman, Chief of Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force, on “Air Power in Pakistan’s Counter-Terrorism Operations – Lessons Learned and Future Capacity-Building Requirements”. Air Chief Marshall Aman began by honoring the sacrifices of soldiers engaged in the fight against terrorists around the world. Air Chief Marshall Aman spoke about the crucial need for an effective national policy framework for counter-terrorism under which military operations take place, with considerable contributions from the air force. During the Zarb-e-Azb campaign in Pakistan, air strikes were responsible for killing 90 percent of terrorists and paved the way for the unhindered movement of ground troops to recapture territories that had been lost to terrorists. Pakistan under its National Action Plan is following up its military operations by targeting facilitators, abettors, and financiers of terrorist activities with a whole-of-nation approach that brings in intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

The last briefing of the day was delivered by Brigadier General Zaid Al Negresh, Director of Air Operations, Royal Jordanian Air Force, on “Royal Jordanian Air Force – Operational Challenges and Developments”. Brigadier General Negresh discussed international coalition operations in Iraq and Syria including the integrated preparation, planning, execution, and adaptation of joint operations, supported by coordination from intelligence specialists and imagery analysts. Brigadier General Negresh highlighted the challenge of the emerging operational landscape where forces need to learn to train as they fight and exercise as they operate to keep up with the threat being experienced in places like Iraq, Syria, and even Yemen today.

The conference will continue tomorrow with dedicated sessions on Strategic Perspectives on Integrated Air and Missile Defense as well as Interoperability and Integrating Capabilities in Support of Joint Operations tomorrow. Boeing is Platinum Sponsor at KIAPADS, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are Gold Sponsors, and Kongsberg is a Silver Sponsor.


Day Two

Kuwait - The second and concluding day of the Kuwait International Air Power and Air Defense Symposium (KIAPADS), held under the patronage of the Kuwait Ministry of Defense and Supported by the Kuwait Air Force took place today at the Regency Kuwait Hotel in Al Bida, Kuwait, with over 200 high level delegates from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, the UAE, Jordan, Pakistan, France, the UK, and United States in attendance. Riad Kahwaji, General Manager of SEGMA, began the day with opening remarks on behalf of the organizers and spoke about the continued progress the GCC is making in integrated air and missile defense by acquiring best-in-class systems such as the PAC-3 and THAAD, with further important acquisitions expected over the coming years.

The first session of the day was held under the theme of “Strategic Perspectives on IAMD” and was chaired by Lieutenant General (Ret.) Howard Bromberg, Vice President for Air and Missile Defense at Lockheed Martin. Lieutenant General (Ret.) Bromberg spoke about his extended experience in working closely with Kuwait in air and missile defense, and spoke about how important the issue of integration has become at multiple layers in air and missile defense today.

The first briefing of the session was delivered by Vice Admiral James Syring, Director, Missile Defense Agency, United States, on “U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense Update.” Vice Admiral Syring began by discussing the acceleration of ballistic missile proliferation in the region and beyond, taking Iran and North Korea as cases in example, exploring the emerging security challenges they are generating. Highlighting the gaps in sensor networks to counter ballistic missile threats, Vice Admiral Syring spoke about the need to build a robust sensor architecture, secure command and control network, and effective integration of missile defense assets to optimize capability, capacity, and readiness among partners.

The second briefing of the session was delivered by Brigadier General Adel Al Hafez, Commander, Kuwait Air Defence Forces, on “Detection Challenges against the Full Spectrum of Airborne Threats for Air Defenders.” Brigadier General Al Hafez began by talking about the lessons learned from the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, when the Kuwait air defense forces successfully shot down 24 targets, as well as from Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, when 8 tactical ballistic missiles (TBMs) were destroyed. Brigadier General Adel Al Hafez spoke about the necessity of an effective threat early warning system that can classify the type of missile detected, its launch point, time, azimuth, accurately predict its time and point of impact. He also spoke emerging challenges with unmanned aerial systems, including commercial off the shelf technologies, and how these will intensify with their miniaturization in the future.

The third briefing of the session was delivered Major General Blake Ortner, Commander, TF SPARTAN, 29th Infantry Division, National Guard, United States, on “Key Imperatives and Objectives for a Unified Mission Command in IAMD.” Major General Ortner spoke about the criticality of interoperability in a multi-service environment where some reaction time is assumed but can never be guaranteed. Major General Ortner told delegates no single country can execute air and missile defense effectively on their own due to operational and financial limitations, which is why it is so vital to standardize policies and training between partners in air and missile defense. To move to a unified mission command, Major General Ortner said, the U.S. is hoping to move with bilateral agreements with its partners towards multilateral agreements under a combined defense approach.

The second session of the day was held under the theme of “Interoperability and Integrating Capabilities in Support of Joint Operations” and was chaired by Bruce Brown, Business Development Manager - Air and Missile Defense Systems (A&MDS) at Raytheon. Bruce Brown spoke about technological progress achieved over the past few years with variants of medium- and long-range missile defense systems and how these are now serving GCC with achieving wider and more effective protection than ever before. Moving forwards, Bruce Brown said, networking sensors with effectors and achieving integration starting at the systems engineering level would support goals of achieving interoperability.

The first briefing of the second session was delivered by Brigadier General Chris Spillman, Commander, 32d AAMDC, United States Army, on “Standardization Imperatives and Priorities for AMD Operators and Operations.” Brigadier General Spillman told delegates that effective integration requires standardization of capabilities with doctrine, procedures, cyber security, training, and maintenance, as well as systems. Recognizing inherent challenges with standardization – each operation is unique, and the perspectives, priorities, and requirements of each partner may vary, for example – it is important to work towards unity of effort through developing stand operating procedures (SOPs) and conducting hard and realistic training.

The second briefing of the second session was delivered by Colonel Christophe Fontaine from the French Air Force, on “French MALE RPA Employment, Lessons Learnt and Challenges in a Complex Operational Environment.” Colonel Fontaine spoke about how it is not possible to ever meet the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) requirements in full anywhere – even within a single area of operations, where different users have their own needs, and schedules – but that unmanned aerial systems are playing a critical and growing role. Unmanned aerial systems provide more than just a full motion video sensor – they provide sit awareness needed to support command and control, enable target development, and support geospatial and intelligence collected from other sources.

The final briefing of the day was delivered by Gerard Kolaski, Ph.D., Business Development Director in the Middle East Boeing Airborne Surveillance Command and Control at Boeing, on “Airborne Air Battle Management Systems in an Integrated Air and Missile Defense Network: Interoperability Challenges.” Mr. Kolaski spoke about how airborne battle management and command control (ABMC2) acts as a force multiplier in integrated air and missile defense, and how it has been described as “the spider in the web.” For IAMD, in particular, airborne battle management and command control (ABMC2) can prove crucial because if ground-based command and control is degraded then the airborne system can take on greater authority to support time-critical decision-making and communications for neutralizing a variety of threats.

Concluding the conference, Mr. Kahwaji thanked all delegates and speakers for their support and participation at KIAPADS. He expressed gratitude to the Kuwait Ministry of Defense for their patronage to KIAPADS and for the extensive support of Staff Major General (Pilot) Abdullah Al Foudary, Commander, Kuwait Air Force, and his team, throughout the planning and execution of KIAPADS. Mr. Kahwaji also recognized the participation and role of Boeing, the Platinum Sponsor at KIAPADS, as well as Gold Sponsors Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, and Silver Sponsor Kongsberg. Following its successful launch, a larger 2nd edition of KIAPADS is expected to be held in February 2018.