Andrew Drwiega, Reading, UK – Several of the main speakers on the opening day of the Close Air Support Conference being held in Reading, UK, concurred that the skills of applying close air support during conflicts were often soon forgotten, sidelined or declined through lack of investment and had to be relearned and honed again in the next conflict.
While many of the international military speakers and delegates could demonstrate impressive experience gained in a wide variety of operational theatres including Iraq and Afghanistan, and more recently in Operation Shader (the battle against Daesh in northern Iraq and Syria), there was a general consensus that there were many challenges to maintaining the skills involved in delivering close air support particularly when availability of assets and funding was limited.
Experiences gained during Operation Shader have uncovered significant challenges for those coordinating close air support, especially in complex multinational operations and in urban areas. Deconfliction on the approaches to, and over the battlefield, where non-coalition flights were transiting through friendly airspace without providing prior flight plans or notification became a serious concern.
Companies exhibiting at the conference include QuantaDyn offering simulation and training solutions, Rockwell Collins with its FasTAK targeting systems with Microsoft Windows or Android devices, and Vricon with its 3D mapping and data mining.
The Close Air Support Conference is organised by Omega between 14-15 November, in Reading UK.