The 4th Manama Air Power Symposium (MAPS 2022)

MAPS 2022 welcomed senior defense officials and key industry players to participate in a series of panel discussions related to Air Power and Air Defense in the Era of Transformation, Automation, and Integration

The official conference of the Bahrain International Air Show 2022, the 4th Manama Air Power Symposium (MAPS 2022), was held under the prestigious patronage of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and supported by the Royal Bahrain Air Force and the Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunication.

Held at the Sofitel Manama Hotel, Bahrain on November 8th, 2022, the one-day international conference welcomed regional and western air force commanders and specialists across the defense and aviation industry, to partake in a series of discussions related to the conference’s central theme, ‘Air Power and Air Defense in the Era of Transformation, Automation, and Integration.’

Engaging talks spanning from Kamikaze drones, AI, and the future of air combat took to the stage, as defense officials and industry leaders alike, outlined the latest regional threats to defense and security, the newest groundbreaking technology, and ultimately called for greater collaboration and integration with allies.

In his speech, The Commander of the Royal Bahraini Air Force, Major General Al Khalifa said, "In order to maintain security, stability, and prosperity all peace-seeking countries must prevent the proliferation or development of nuclear weapons and unconventional weapons,” Al Khalifah said, marking a great start for the first issue of MAPS since 2020.

In his presentation, the deputy commander, of Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central), and deputy of the Combined Forces Air Component Commander at U.S Central Command Major General David A. Harris highlighted the collaborative combat aircraft in modern air power.

UK Defence senior adviser for Middle East and North Africa, Air Marshal Martin Sampson spoke about the operational challenges and effectiveness of high-energy weapons against unmanned systems. Sampson highlighted the rapidly evolving threats and counter UAV challenges, and the future considerations for addressing the threats and the swarming capabilities.

From their side, the air police commander at Royal Bahrain Air Force General Abdulla Alnoaimi, and Colonel Ali Mahmoud, Bahrain Delegate in Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, made a presentation about the air force's role in countering terrorism in modern warfare, considering that terrorist groups use social media as a propaganda tool. They stressed the role of the air forces to provide the needed support to combat terrorism with minimal losses, similar to soft power in this context.

In the second session, the commander of US Navy Central, Fifth Fleet, Vice Admiral Brad Cooper,  presented the ways U.S. naval forces are advancing regional maritime security through strengthening partnerships and accelerating innovation above, on, and below the sea, concentrating on manned and unmanned systems integration.

Cooper was followed by Air Vice Marshal S., assistant chief of air staff (transport and helicopters) at the Indian Air Force.  Srinivasan spoke about the unmanned systems taking over many tasks performed by manned systems from air-refueling, to transporting and bombing highlighting the integration requirements in real-time operations.

From his side, Major General Walcyr Josue de Castilho Araujo, deputy chief of logistics and support Command, at Brazil Air Force listed the advantages of light close air support aircraft as a cost-effective and efficient platform.

In the third session Pakistan’s air force director of the center of artificial intelligence and computing (CENTAIC) Air Commodore Salman Aslam, made a presentation about artificial intelligence & virtual reality in advanced training for manned and unmanned Aircraft.

BAE Systems’ senior adviser Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, gave a brief about the shape of future combat aircraft with the advanced capabilities that will facilitate the pilot’s missions.

Lebanese Air Force Commander, Colonel Michel Saifi, spoke about the Lebanese air force's vision of integration in the maritime domain after the country finalized border demarcation and is imminent on a new era of maritime security and oil extraction.