Conference – From ‘Shooting the Front’ to Combat ISTAR: The Evolution of Aerial Intelligence and Reconnaissance

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From ‘Shooting the Front’ to Combat ISTAR: The Evolution of Aerial Intelligence and Reconnaissance 

An International Conference held at the Royal Air Force Museum in conjunction with the Royal Air Force Centre for Air Power Studies

15-16 April 2015

This two-day international conference, organised in conjunction with the Royal Air Force Centre for Air Power Studies, explores the importance and evolution of aerial based reconnaissance and intelligence gathering and its effect on war.

From aerial observation and photographic reconnaissance in the First World War through to the emergence of Combat ISTAR, effective intelligence gathering has been at the heart of air operations since the earliest use of air power. This is because air power is able to provide longer, deeper and more persistent forms of information collection.

Air power’s first appearance on the battlefield came when a balloon was used during the Battle of Fleurus in 1794 in the observation role. Furthermore, in 1914, the Royal Flying Corps’ Training Manual stated that, ‘The most important role of aircraft in war is reconnaissance’. More recently, the Royal Air Force’s capstone doctrine codified ‘Intelligence and Situational Awareness’ as one of the Service’s four fundamental roles.

As we move through the period of the centenary of the First World War and towards the 100th Anniversary of the RAF’s formation, the time is precipitate to explore the importance of aerial based reconnaissance and intelligence gathering and its effect on war.

The conference programme consists of papers delivered by leading scholars and covers issues from the First World War through the present day and into the future as air forces seek to use integrated platforms such as the Lockheed F-35 Lightning II and Remotely Piloted Aerial Vehicles. Keynote lectures will be delivered by Dr Sebastian Ritchie (Air Historical Branch) and Air Commodore Jeff Portlock (ISTAR Force Commander, Royal Air Force).

You can downloaded registration details, including the conference programme and booking form, here. The cost of the conference is £70 for both days or £35 for one day. The conference fees cover includes lunch and refreshments.

For more information please email us at conference@rafmuseum.org

Conference Organisers
Ross Mahoney (Aviation Historian, RAF Museum)
Andrew Renwick (Curator of Photographs, RAF Museum)
RAF CAPS Directors (Mr Sebastian Cox, Dr David Jordan and Group Captain Paul Wilkins)

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3 responses to “Conference – From ‘Shooting the Front’ to Combat ISTAR: The Evolution of Aerial Intelligence and Reconnaissance

  1. Pingback: Public Lecture – Flying Training in the Royal Flying Corps/Royal Air Force, 1912-1918 | Thoughts on Military History·

  2. Do you know if any of the presentations will be collected or published? I would love to take a look, as much of it seems like it fits in directly with some of my current research.

  3. Mike – The plan is to publish the conference in some format at a future date. More on that as it develops.

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