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Fighting 5th Generation Airbases

  • Start date: 30 May 2018 02:00 PM
  • End date: 30 May 2018 03:30 PM
  • Venue: Ngunnawal Theatre, Russell Offices

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The Air Force Strategy 2017-2027 outlines five vectors for change to enable the Royal Australian Air Force to become a fifth-generation Air Force. One of these vectors is Infrastructure. Over time, Air Force’s fixed and mobile infrastructure will evolve to ensure Air Force’s bases are hardened, resilient, flexible and readily adaptable to future air power capabilities and requirements. 

In this Air Power Seminar, Wing Commander David Howard will discuss how this is being achieved by examining three key areas to developing the 5th Generation Airbase. David will define 5th generation airbase attributes and analyse what we have learnt from 60 years of combat system evolution. He will further discuss the concept of airbases as weapons systems; and finally identify what is required to professionalise the airbase workforce and determine how we develop airbase weapon system operators to succeed in Air Force’s future operating environment.

Wing Commander David Howard

Wing Commander David Howard entered the Royal Australian Air Force in 1988, graduating from No 153 Pilot’s Course in 1990, and then flying the C-130E with No 37 Squadron, interspersed with postings to aviation physiology and operations staff roles in Headquarters Air Lift Group and Headquarters 86 Wing until 1997.  

In 1998 he was posted to the School of Air Navigation and subsequently No 32 Squadron to fly the B200 Super King Air and assumed the B Flight Commander role on promotion to Squadron Leader in 2000.  In 2002 he was posted as the Air Liaison Officer to the 1st Brigade at Robertson Barracks in Darwin and remained in Darwin as the Executive Officer of 321 Combat Support Squadron from 2004. In 2006 he was posted to Papua New Guinea in the role of Staff Officer Operations at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby. He returned to Australia to complete Joint Command and Staff College in 2008.

In 2009 on promotion to Wing Commander, back to Air Lift Group as Deputy Director of the Air Mobility Control Centre and to Staff Officer Capability Development in 2010. He returned to the Air Liaison role in 2012, this time to the 1st Division at Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane, and following an operational deployment to the Middle East in 2014 returned to Combat Support Group. Wing Commander Howard’s operational deployments include Joint Task Force Commander for Operation KOKODA ASSIST, recovering victims of the Airlines PNG Twin Otter crash near Kokoda, Papua New Guinea in August 2009, Commander Australian Contingent for Operation PACIFIC ASSIST in March 2011, providing relief in the aftermath of the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami, and as Executive Officer and subsequently Commander of the Joint Task Force 633 Air Component in the Middle East from December 2013 to July 2014.

Wing Commander Howard is currently posted to Headquarters Combat Support Group as Deputy Director Airbase Command Network.