Maritime Surveillance Aircraft 2014 | Jakarta 3-4 November 2014 |
This Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA) Conference was held in Indonesia with the support of the Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Air Force, who also ensured that there was a large contingent of Indonesian Air Force officers present throughout the event. Principal sponsors were Sikorsky, with Northrop Grumman as Sponsors, and Lockheed Martin, SAAB and Selex ES as Associate Sponsors. The conference and exhibition were organised by Tangent Link, and chaired by Air Marshal Philip Sturley RAF.
The Conference opened on 3 Nov 14, with a warm Indonesian welcome given by the Assistant Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice-Marshal Sudipo Handoyo who set the scene for the subsequent discussion on the requirements for, and roles of maritime air forces in the region. He stressed the need for a holistic approach to maritime surveillance, and the need for agencies and nations to work together. Mr Ristian Atriandi Supriyanto from RSIS Singapore then gave an insightful overview of the tensions and trends in the South China Sea and adjoining areas, concluding that more needs to be done to prevent increasing tension, and that further investment in Maritime Surveillance is essential. The ensuing session covered Interoperability in Maritime Surveillance with Captain David Wright USN of CTF-72 in Japan giving a comprehensive overview of how the US Navy contributes to Maritime Domain Awareness in the region and of the work of the Information Fusion Centre. Mike Fralen from Lockheed Martin then described how modular and open architecture approaches to systems could bring mutual benefit to customer and supplier, provided there was a trusted and long term partnership. Major Pouponneau, Chief of the Seychelles Air Force briefed on the challenges facing the vast and busy Seychelles maritime area of interest, and how these challenges were addressed with their modest aircraft fleet, complemented by the establishment of the international REFLECS3 coordination centre on the islands. The remainder of this first session then comprised briefings by Erik Winberg of SAAB on the Erieye AEW&C system, Jan Kaczmarek on the M28 MPA aircraft in Polish Navy service, and Commander Qureshi on Protection of Resources in the strategically located Pakistan EEZ.
The morning on Day 2 started with a Panel Session of the Day 1 speakers elaborating on the main themes arising from the earlier presentations, enhanced by penetrating questions from the audience. Session 2 then focussed on AEW&C, with a presentation by Squadron Leader Nongnual of the Royal Thai Air Force on their experience of operating the Erieye/Gripen combination over land and sea, and a briefing by Tom Trudell on the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye project.
The final session then returned to the Maritime Patrol theme, with a comprehensive overview of the RNZAF project to upgrade their Orion MPA to P3K2 standard, and a briefing by Christina Massarenti of Selex ES on their Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance (ATOS) system and the Falco UAV. The conference was rounded off by Air Marshal Sturley with a commander’s view on the factors involved in ensuring an effective Maritime Surveillance capability.
The large audience, which was mainly from the Indonesian Air Force but included a good cross section of regional civil and military representatives, clearly enjoyed the Conference. This was reflected in the panel session and lively question and answer periods, the fact that most stayed on for the whole conference, and the interest in the sponsors’ stands in the Exhibition Hall. The polished organisation of the Conference by Tangent Link was well appreciated by the speakers and delegates alike.
Air Marshal RAF Retd
4 November 2014