His Excellency Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, the UAE Minister of State for Defence Affairs, inaugurated the 11th edition of the Dubai International Air Chiefs’ Conference on November 12, 2023.
The event was attended by many prominent figures including Her Excellency Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology, His Excellency Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications, as well as senior officers from the Ministry of Defence and top air force commanders from fraternal and friendly nations.
Also present were chief executives of major national, regional and international companies specialising in aviation and space science defence industries, as well as artificial intelligence.
Held concurrently with the 18th edition of the Dubai Airshow 2023, this conference represents one of the largest and most important global gatherings of military leaders in air force affairs.
This year, it was attended by over 80 official delegations from around the world, in addition to leaders from prominent national, regional and international companies.
In his keynote speech, Al Bowardi stated: “The United Arab Emirates takes pride in hosting such important events, which propel us towards new horizons of work and achievement in the aerospace sector. With the support of our wise leadership, this allows us to meet our goals and stride towards a prosperous future.”
Al Bowardi added: “Thanks to the unlimited support of the UAE’s wise leadership, we are treading a steady, promising path, investing in every opportunity towards development, scientific research and building Emirati capabilities. This allows us to benefit from scientific and technical expertise from around the world”.
Since the conference began 20 years ago, specialists and stakeholders in this vital sector have been keen to participate actively and continuously in its editions, exchanging expertise and learning from other nations’ experiences. This enabled us to identify lessons learned to shape a promising, sustainable future that meets the needs of specialised aviation and space markets.”
This conference offers an exceptional opportunity for decision-makers, air force and air defence leaders to meet and discuss the latest developments in strategic planning, artificial intelligence, and aircraft technologies, to strike a balance between advanced and traditional technological solutions.
This year, the conference highlighted key transformations and developments in air forces across three pivotal panel sessions:
The first session, titled “Leadership in the Information Age”, brought together senior representatives from the Italian Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, and the UAE Air Force and Air Defence to discuss evolving challenges faced by air force commanders.
Key topics included preparing pilots for a technologically advanced operating environment, adapting to the changing nature of information-centric warfare, and developing information leaders capable of inspiring change in an AI-driven world.
The second session, “Development – Education, Equipment and Training”, involved senior officers from the US Air Force Central Command, Indian Air Force, and a former US Air Force Information Dominance Chief.
During this session, discussions focused on improving decision-making by leveraging emerging capabilities to overcome command and control challenges, shaping manned-unmanned teams, and adopting AI to accelerate combat force effectiveness.
The conference concluded with the third session titled “Manpower – Recruiting and Retaining Talent”, which saw the participation of the French Air and Space Force, Japan Air Self-Defence Force, and Project RAND.
Key topics included redefining civil-military partnerships and the private sector’s role in unleashing innovation, talent and skills in the Air Force, addressing future threats by developing required fifth-generation specialists and exploring the impact of space and AI on future military requirements.
For the past two decades, the Dubai International Air Chiefs’ Conference has offered air force leaders worldwide an ideal platform to discuss the most pressing strategic and operational challenges facing air forces.
The air power model is changing as multi-domain operations continue to evolve the role of space and cyberspace for air forces, necessitating transformational shifts in recruitment, training, and operations.
As such, the conference represents a fundamental forum for allies and partners to convene at senior leadership levels to exchange ideas, and lessons learned, and plan for future forces.
Coverage by: Razi Izzeddine El-Hadmi
Photography by: Abdullah Al Suwaidi