Second Africa Air Force Forum kicks off in Senegal

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The second Africa Air Force Forum, hosted by the Senegalese Air Force, kicked off on Wednesday 25 October in Dakar, Senegal, bringing together Air Force Chiefs of Staff, aerospace industry leaders, and government officials to discuss modern security challenges, with an emphasis on the role of drones in modern warfare.

Under the theme of “Adapting Air Force Capabilities and Drone Deployment to Combat Modern Conflicts,” the two-day forum is exploring air operations for counterterrorism and counterinsurgency, intelligence capabilities, and personnel training, among other issues. The event also features an exhibition showcasing aerospace and defence technologies and equipment, with multiple aircraft on display.

“Together, we will shape a future where our air forces are not just reactive but proactive, ensuring stability and security across our great continent by fostering bilateral partnerships and promoting stability,” said Brigadier General Papa Souleymane Sarr, Chief of Staff, Senegalese Air Force.

Speaking during the opening of the two-day event, Sarr said there has been a paradigm shift in the use of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, over the last three years, revolutionising the balance of power.

“The massive use of remotely controlled vehicles made possible by the accessibility of the technology and the ridiculous costs of its implementation is becoming a real threat for any air force, however modern it may be,” he is reported by Agence de Presse Senegalaise as saying. He added that sophisticate air defences are needed to neutralise the UAV threat.

Senegal’s armed forces minister Omar Youm said the event, which aims to pool efforts to fight terrorism in Africa, is an opportunity to collaborate and improve the capacity of African air forces. He noted that Africa, which is facing diverse and complex threats, must have military forces ready to respond to the challenges it faces. Challenges include terrorism, cross-border banditry, crime of various kinds, “but also threats to our territories”.