The role of air forces in the Middle East is evolving as global demand increases for joint missions to provide humanitarian disaster relief, intensified peacekeeping efforts, and broadened border security and surveillance operations, a Boeing Company [NYSE:BA] executive told the 2010 Air Power Conference in Doha, Qatar on Nov. 1.
Chris Chadwick, president of Boeing Military Aircraft, addressed the conference on "The Changing Face of Air Power," stressing that smaller country air forces are moving from traditional airstrike roles to broader collaboration with larger coalition countries and their militaries.
"The opportunity is growing for smaller tactical air forces, when combined with the right mix of well-connected logistics and strike aircraft, to contribute as much or more to coalition efforts as have much larger air forces," Chadwick said.
The annual Air Power Conference, sponsored by The Shephard Group, is a gathering of policy experts, thought leaders, decision makers, procurement officers, commanders and chiefs within the air power industry.
Chadwick also told the conference that there are global challenges affecting existing air power structures. "The world economy, aging air force inventories, obsolescence of some of the hardware and the need for some coalition governments to do more with less are all helping change the existing force structure of air power," Chadwick said.
"To recapitalize the forces to meet the challenges, air forces will need to look to enhancements in tactical aircraft, rotorcraft and mobility aircraft that are cost and performance certain, low-risk, provide evolutionary capability enhancements, and are flexible in their applications and provide connectivity on the battlefield," Chadwick added.
Commenting on the growing presence of Boeing platforms and systems among the coalition air forces, Chadwick told the conference that "there is no better company in the world to partner with than Boeing. We will provide an enduring partnership with our coalition force customers and have the ingredients to provide force-structure recapitalization."
Chadwick's remarks at the Air Power Conference were made during a stop in Qatar during a multi-day visit to the Middle East region. In Qatar, Boeing has delivered two C-17 Globemaster III airlifters to the Qatar Emiri Air Force – in August and September 2009. Since their delivery, Qatar has used the C-17s extensively in humanitarian aid missions, including flights to deliver aid to victims of the Haiti and Chile earthquakes.