Unmanned Technologies to Shape ‘Future Forces’

International military and industry leaders will tackle the hottest topic in defence later this month, as unmanned technologies are up for discussion at the IDEX Defence Conferences 2015.

Defence experts from both private and public sectors will delve into this high-profile topic, analysing how unmanned technologies are changing military spending, recruitment and training methods, shaping future forces across the globe.

Unmanned technologies have witnessed one of the greatest increases in global military spending over the last five years with the USA alone upping its budget from US$3.3 billion in 2010 to US$5.72 billion dollars this year. Whilst in the MENA region more than $16.5 billion will be spent unmanned systems and helicopters over the next 10 years,further highlightingthe global shift in defence spending and focus.

Private sector companies have been the main beneficiaries of this shift, with high tech unmanned systems providers such as General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and Textron systems recording significant increases in global sales.

Bill Irby, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Textron Systems Unmanned Systems, said: “During more than a decade designing, manufacturing, operating and sustaining unmanned systems, we have watched this technology transform the battlespace. Today, unmanned systems innovation means doing even more with even smaller systems; providing innovative business models, training concepts and support solutions to empower both military and commercial customers; and using advances like multi-sensor capability to drive next-generation applications such as manned/unmanned teaming. This conference is a wonderful opportunity to bring together thought leaders across the industry on these topics.”

As the world’s militaries continue to place an increased focus on unmanned systems, military training and recruitment must also adapt to reflect this. There is an increasing requirement for existing forces to be retrained whilst new recruits are being selected and developed to become ‘future forces’ adept with the skills needed to operate these unmanned systems.

Embry-Riddle College of Aeronautics, which operates both an undergraduate minor and a Master of Science in Unmanned Systems, has seen a dramatic rise in the number of students undertaking their pioneering courses as the US Army continues on their recruitment drive to find pilots capable of flying unmanned aircraft systems.

Dr. Kenneth Witcher, Dean, College of Aeronautics, Embry-Riddle, who will be moderating a panel looking at the human factors involved in a more high tech military, commented: "I believe it is evident the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to effectively employ modern UAS [unmanned aircraft system] are different than those required of traditional manned platforms. In many cases, this results in a much lower barrier to entry for operators. The question becomes, will this lower barrier to entry have a negative impact on the safety of the current airspace system?"

The Unmanned Systems Conference will take place on 23 February 2015 as part of the IDEX Defence Conferences, the official conferences of the IDEX Exhibition.

Organised by Streamline Marketing Group, the IDEX Defence Conference 2015 will welcome key decision makers from government, military and the defence industry.

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