Our Defense Alliance: In the Air and at Sea

The biennial Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX), also called the Seoul Air Show, is one of the leading defense exhibitions in Northeast Asia.  Having served as a Navy officer and having worked at the Pentagon with officials from all branches of our Armed Forces, I have a strong interest in this type of event and was thrilled to attend late last month. The U.S. is a leader in cutting-edge technology in aircraft and defense-related products, so I was excited to go out to Seoul Air Base to see all of the companies exhibiting at ADEX and the many new developments in the industry.

People come to the ADEX to see the latest in aircraft, land-based systems, weapons systems and ground defense systems.  360 companies and 28 countries participated, and I’m glad to say that over 40 exhibitors were U.S. companies.  Click here to view a list of U.S. companies at 2015 ADEX.

 At the U.S. Pavilion at ADEX 2015 

Many of these companies are working on exciting projects including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), air and missile defense systems, simulators and training equipment, engines, weaponry, and full military aircraft.

I was also impressed by the innovative technology on display. It is amazing what we are now able to do in relation to when I first joined the military. Company reps demonstrated the highest-performing technology being used in aviation. The F-22, described by our Air Attaché as being "the world's preeminent air superiority aircraft," was very impressive, and I’m inclined to agree with his assessment. 

There were also T-50 trainer aircraft lined up on the field. The ROK developed and sold some of these planes, which include a great deal of U.S. technology, to Indonesia, Peru, and Iraq, something we support and think is a good thing.  In 2014, the Republic of Korea also sold to our mutual ally, the Philippines, the "FA-50 fighter aircraft" – a fighter variant of the T-50 trainer.

 Looking at advanced U.S. aircraft displayed at ADEX 2015

All of this innovation is being used by the Alliance, ensuring we are ready to “fight tonight.” It was great to meet people from the U.S. and ROK governments and the private sector at ADEX. This is yet another terrific example of the Alliance at work. 

Following the amazing Air Show, I visited the USS Ronald Reagan, which was in the Korea Area of Operations participating in a bi-lateral exercise with the Korean Navy. It was fantastic to see this great symbol of American naval power conducting real-world flight operations near the ROK Peninsula. It was also remarkable to see the servicemen and women, who spend months on end at sea and far from their homes and families, working to promote peace and prosperity in the region.

Warm greeting from the USS Ronald Reagan

While on deck, jets were taking off a mere few feet away from us. My hosts, Rear Admiral John Alexander, Captain John Enfield, and Captain Christopher Bolt, were kind enough to give me some great souvenirs to commemorate  this experience. On board the ship, I also had the pleasure of seeing  General Kim Hyun-Jip, the new Deputy Commander of Combined Forces Command (CFC), and Rear Admiral "Sarge" Alexander, Commander of Carrier Strike Group Five. 

Thank you for the souvenir!

In addition to General Kim, our valued ROK counterparts also visited the ship. Vice Admiral Lee, Commander of the ROK Fleet, Vice Admiral Um, Vice Chairman ‎of ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), and Vice Admiral Kim, Superintendent of the ROK Naval Academy all joined us.  We could not be successful in all that we do here on the Peninsula without their efforts and support for the Alliance. 

An interesting fact about the USS Ronald Reagan is that it has performed some tremendous humanitarian work. It responded to the Philippines natural disaster after Typhoon Fengshen in 2008 and provided assistance to Japan after the triple disaster in 2011. The U.S. and the ROK are working together in cases like this as part of our global outreach efforts. I was pleased to learn that the crew visited the Jinhae Hope and Children Home during its stay in Busan on this visit.

Jets taking off mere feet away from us

If you are interested in learning more about the USS Reagan, it has its own Facebook page, which you can check out here. You will see in those photos that I am not the only person to have had a tour of this ship during its stay near Korea, and there is a short video that shows the jets taking off as I described above. There are also some heartwarming photos of the recent visit to the children’s home.

I appreciate the warm welcome I received and the hospitality of these brave men and women who are sacrificing time away from home and their loved ones for our country.  Thank you again!

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.