The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) is hosting the 15th ASEAN Air Chiefs Conference (AACC) from 31 Aug to 3 Sep 2018. The annual AACC is a key platform for the ASEAN Air Chiefs to discuss military aviation issues and multilateral air force cooperation. The theme of this year's AACC is: "ASEAN Air Forces: Strengthening Friendships and Enhancing Regional Security". Nine ASEAN Member States' Air Chiefs and the Deputy Chief of the Air Force Department, Lao People's Army, attended the 15th AACC and the RSAF50 Parade held earlier today.
One of the key achievements for this year's AACC is the enhancement of the ASEAN Air Forces Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations. The refined SOP will enable ASEAN Air Forces to respond faster and in a unified manner when conducting regional HADR operations. This includes having a uniformed prefix in the aircraft callsigns for the conduct of HADR operations, which expedites diplomatic clearance processes to enable faster HADR responses. Earlier this year, the RSAF had also organised a Command Post Exercise amongst member nations to validate and refine the SOP.
The AACC also established an ASEAN Air Force Counter-Terrorism Hotline to promote cooperation and information sharing on suspicious air activities and terrorist threats. In addition, the Air Chiefs expressed their support for the Guidelines for Air Encounters between Military Aircraft framework as part of confidence-building measures to enhance regional aviation safety.
Speaking at the conference, the RSAF Chief of Air Force Major-General Mervyn Tan said, "The AACC serves as an important avenue for us to collaborate so that we can jointly prepare and be ready to address these security challenges when the need arises. As the RSAF moves on into the next 50 years and beyond, we remain committed to strengthening our friendship and fostering greater cooperation amongst the ASEAN Air Forces".
The AACC was established in 2004. Since its inception, the AACC has played an important role in enhancing peace and stability in the region, and in promoting greater integration and partnership amongst the Air Forces in ASEAN.