RUSI Combat Air Conference 2023

Providing an independent forum for senior leaders from the RAF, the US Air Force and other key NATO allies and partners, as well as policymakers and thought leaders from industry and the think tank sector, to challenge and share ideas.

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locationInstitute of Directors, London | Online

In Person Member Ticket

£120 (incl VAT) in-person event fee

MEMBERS ONLY

Join RUSI or

In Person Non-Member Ticket

£480 (incl VAT) in-person event fee

OPEN TO ALL

In Person Non-Member Concession Ticket

£240 (incl VAT) in-person event fee

Students, under 30s, over 65s and serving military personnel

Online Member Ticket

£30 online event fee

MEMBERS ONLY

Join RUSI or

Online Non-Member Ticket

£60 online event fee

OPEN TO ALL

Overview

The Russian Invasion of Ukraine has provided air forces around the world with a wealth of data – albeit much of it still incomplete – on live air-to-air, air-to-surface and surface-to-air engagements in a high-intensity peer conflict. The world of air power and defence more broadly has changed almost beyond recognition in a year.

The use of air power by both the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) and the Ukrainian Air Force has differed significantly both from pre-war expectations and from the traditional Western approach. Nevertheless, there are many vital lessons yet to be identified. In the Indo-Pacific, the US and its allies are also increasingly concerned by the ever-more assertive Chinese posture towards Taiwan, alongside the rapid pace of ongoing People’s Liberation Army Air Force aircraft, sensor, weapons and C2 modernisation. It remains to be seen what impact Russia’s invasion will have on the long-term relationship between Moscow and Beijing, but both countries remain resolutely on course for continued confrontation with the West. The Chinese military will undoubtedly benefit greatly in the next few years from implementing changes based on lessons learned by observing Russian failures in Ukraine.

The failure of the VKS to achieve air superiority over the much smaller and less well-equipped Ukrainian Air Force during the first year of the invasion should serve as a wake-up call to Western air forces too. Any air force can appear powerful on paper yet still fail to perform against a peer or even near-peer enemy if it has neglected the fundamentals of regular, realistic training at scale for pilots, maintainers and planners; large munition stocks; resilient logistics; SEAD/DEAD capabilities; and regular planning and exercising across the domains. Some of these traditional fundamentals are decidedly uncomfortable for many European air forces after decades optimising around small-scale operations in semi-permissive airspace. However, to re-establish and maintain deterrence and maintain freedom of access to the air domain, it is vital that Western air forces learn from and adapt to the Russian and Ukrainian experiences of the war faster than their adversaries do.

This RUSI conference will provide an independent forum for senior leaders from the RAF, the US Air Force and other key NATO allies and partners, as well as policymakers and thought leaders from industry and the think tank sector, to discuss and debate the best ways forward. It takes place at a critical time, with many countries – including the UK – refreshing their defence plans and budgets, and NATO preparing to integrate two new and very innovative partners: Sweden and Finland. There has seldom been a better time to challenge, share ideas and learn from each other.

Ticket pricing

In Person Conference Tickets

  • RUSI Member price: £120 (inc VAT)
  • Non-Member price: £480 (incl VAT)
  • Non-Member concession price: £240 (incl VAT)
    - Students, under 30s, over 65s and serving military personnel are eligible for our non-member concessionary rate.
     

Online Conference Tickets

  • RUSI Member price: £30
  • Non-Member price: £60

Main Image Credit Members of the U.S. Air Force's 44th Aircraft Maintenance Unit prepare to rearm an F-15C Eagle during an Agile Combat Employment exercise Feb. 21, 2020, at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Japan. (Senior Airman Rhett Isbell/U.S. Air Force)


In Person Member Ticket

£120 (incl VAT) in-person event fee

MEMBERS ONLY

Join RUSI or

In Person Non-Member Ticket

£480 (incl VAT) in-person event fee

OPEN TO ALL

In Person Non-Member Concession Ticket

£240 (incl VAT) in-person event fee

Students, under 30s, over 65s and serving military personnel

Online Member Ticket

£30 online event fee

MEMBERS ONLY

Join RUSI or

Online Non-Member Ticket

£60 online event fee

OPEN TO ALL

Speakers

Confirmed speakers include:

  • General  Charles Q. Brown, Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force
  • Air Marshal Harvey Smyth, Deputy Commander - Operations, Royal Air Force
  • Mr Richard Berthon, SRO, Future Combat Air System Acquisition Programme, UK MoD
  • Dr Viktoriya Fedorchak, Lecturer in War Studies, Swedish Defence University
  • Ms Heather Penney, Senior Fellow, Mitchell Institute
  • Ms Dara Massicot, Senior Policy Researcher, RAND Corporation
  • Dr Sophy Antrobus, Research Fellow, Freeman Air and Space Institute
  • Professor Justin Bronk, Senior Research Fellow, Airpower, RUSI
  • Dr Jack Watling, Senior Research Fellow, Land Warfare, RUSI
  • Ms Isabella Antinozzi, Research Analyst, Defence Industry, RUSI
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