Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Rob Chipman recently addressed the Global Air and Space Chief’s Conference in London, declaring the fundamental role of air power for National Defence remains ‘immutable’.
Chiefs from more than 20 nations attended the two-day event, including the United States Chief of Space Operations and the Royal Air Force Chief of the Air Staff.
Air Marshal Chipman told the gathering that a substantial recalibration of Australia’s national security policy was under way.
“Australia looks through this region to the rest of the world, with the humility of a middle power, and aspirations for preserving an international order where the rights and sovereign choices of all nations are respected,” Air Marshal Chipman said.
“The Australian Government has just undertaken a Defence Strategic Review, which directs ambitious reform to our force structure, posture and preparedness.
“It is recognition that our strategic circumstances are deteriorating and that we must strengthen our readiness to respond to a more specific set of challenges.
“Australia will focus our efforts on national defence, underpinned by active statecraft to preserve the regional balance of power.”
He said, as Chief of Air Force, his driving purpose was to avoid the calamity of major war.
“This requires Australia to deepen our diplomatic engagement, while building stronger military capabilities that help deter coercion and lower the risk of conflict,” Air Marshal Chipman said.
“Stability is not a passive state of affairs – it’s achieved through strength and active diplomacy.”
He said he also wants to create an environment that harnesses the resourcefulness of the Air Force workforce for strategic purpose and operational effect.
“This is the approach we’ve taken with the MQ-28A Ghost Bat. We will deliver an uncrewed combat aircraft that will team with crewed platforms to increase the lethality and survivability of our air combat system,” he said.
“And we are increasing workforce strength to optimise the productivity of our assets.”
Air Marshal Chipman’s visit to the United Kingdom included high-level meetings with partners and allies.
“This is an important opportunity to build and strengthen our international relationships, and I was immensely proud to represent Air Force,” he said.
Air Marshal Chipman also visited the Royal International Air Tattoo in Gloucestershire, north-west of London, before returning home.
The Chief of Air Force’s full address to the Global Air and Space Chiefs Conference is available on the airforce.gov.au website.