UNVEX brings together the agents of Europes new RPAS defense policy
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UNVEX brings together the agents of Europes new RPAS defense policy

RPAS Euromale. Photo: Airbus

The initial sessions of the conference program for the upcoming UNVEX Security & Defense congress, Europe’s largest summit on military and security drones, will bring together representatives of all institutions, organizations and agencies linked to everything related to Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) at León’s congress hall.

One of the main topics that will be discussed at UNVEX S&D is the development of an RPAS usage in the armed forces doctrine. In addition, other issues up for debate will include innovation and cutting-edge technology, the industry’s achievements and challenges, as well as RPAS’ integration into airspace and its management (UTM; Unmanned Traffic Management).

During a plenary session titled Doctrine and use of Remotely-Piloted Systems, which will be moderated by Spain’s Operations Command chief Lt. Gen. Fernando José López del Pozo, high-level representatives of the armed forces will debate how to achieve an adequate usage doctrine. The starting point will be the fact that the increasing use of these systems in the fields of Security and Defense has created new prospects that call for the creation of a new doctrine and determining how they fit into current military equipment models.

The panel will be composed by renowned speakers such as the Chief of Staff of NATO’s Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM), Vice Adm. Eugenio Díaz del Río; the head of EMACON’s planning division, Rear Adm. Benigno González-Aller Gross; the chief of EMA’s planning division, Brig. Gen. Juan Pablo Sánchez de Lara; the head of the EME’s planning division, Maj. Gen. Luis Manuel Martínez Meijide; and the deputy director of the Spanish Military Intelligence Center’s (CIFAS) intelligence support, Brig. Gen. Antonio Martínez Manzanares.

Spanish representative at NATO

Spain’s military representative before the European Union and NATO, Adm. José Luis Urcelay, will moderate UNVEX S&D’s first plenary session. The admiral will preside over the roundtable titled European Cooperation Programs, which will see – right after the summit’s inauguration – the participation of high-level representatives of organizations such as the European Defense Agency (EDA), the Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) and the European Commission.

The panel will delve into the importance of industrial cooperation being promoted by the EU as a formula to develop its own technology that will allow for more strategic autonomy, as well optimizing the European armed forces’ equipment. Within this framework, projects such as Euromale and EDA programs within its Preparatory Action for Defense Research (PADR) initiative are of great importance for the European defense industry.

The roundtables have been designed as open debates that will serve to expose contrasting opinions and experiences related to a future usage doctrine for military RPAS.

Support by the regional government of Castile and León

The government of Spain’s Castile and León region has expressed its interest in the project from the start, while the mayor of León, Antonio Silván, has made the city and its infrastructure available for the summit.

At UNVEX S&D’s presentation in January, Silván thanked IDS, the company organizing the event, for placing its trust in León to host this fifth RPAS summit. The congress will become the inaugural event at León’s new Congress Hall, a 9,000 m2 (97,000 ft2) space whose inauguration coincides with the year that León has been named Spanish gastronomical capital.

With this summit, whose honor committee will be presided by the Spanish defense minister, María Dolores de Cospedal, Spain is set to take the initiative in Europe’s unmanned systems technology sector.


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