Edge in e-warfare gives lead on adversaries: Saudi top brass

KACST President Prince Dr. Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed Al-Saud takes a tour of the exhibition following the inauguration of the Fifth Electronic Warfare Conference in Riyadh on Tuesday. (AN photo)
Updated 13 December 2017

Edge in e-warfare gives lead on adversaries: Saudi top brass

RIYADH: Experts discussed the latest trends in electronic warfare and ways to counter those threats at the Fifth Electronic Warfare Conference at the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) in Riyadh on Tuesday.
The two-day conference, jointly organized by the KACST and the Ministry of Defense, was inaugurated by KACST President Prince Dr. Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed Al-Saudi. The inaugural ceremony was attended by the head of the general staff, Gen. Abdul Rahman Al-Bunyan, and other prominent civilian and security officials.
Air Marshal Philip Sturley, a former senior commander in the Royal Air Force, chaired the first session of the event.
He said Saudi Arabia has a proud history in electronic warfare and radar technology.
Sturley said that it is important to localize the capabilities and human resources to keep up the pace with the advancements in the field of electronic warfare. In this regard, he added, Saudi Arabia is taking all necessary measures.
Sturley, who has held a wide range of staff posts including joint combined and NATO appointments, said that developing indigenous capabilities with foreign expertise will go a long way in achieving the Kingdom’s targets as set in the Vision 2030 plan.
The KACST president pointed out that rapid technological advances in protecting military systems, communications and information led to the emergence of extraordinary threats to radar and electronic warfare systems. In this context, he said the conference is being held to enable professionals to learn about the latest developments in this field.
Following the inauguration of the conference, Prince Dr. Turki also opened an exhibition to showcase the features and products of electronic warfare.
He said that at the exhibition, visitors witnessed the inauguration of the Saudi Defense Electronics Co. (SADEC), which was established in accordance with the agreement signed in 2015 between the Defense and Security Technology (DST), subsidiary of the Saudi Technology Development and Investment Co. (TAQNIA), which is owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Turkish company Aselsan.
Gen. Al-Bunyan said that the ever-increasing use of electronic warfare in contemporary warfare is a strong indicator of the important role it will play in any future conflict.
“Possessing advanced technologies in the field of e-war deliver advantages and lead on adversaries,” he said.
Dr. Sultan Almorqi, director of the National Center for Sensors and Defense Systems Technologies, said the conference will run on two themes: The first deals with future trends in electronic warfare and radar technology, while the second one is about current military and civilian operations and application of electronic warfare and radar technology.

Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

There was an explosion of joy at the podium when Antonio Felix da Costa lifted the winner’s trophy at the conclusion of the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix on Saturday. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 16 December 2018

Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

  • Three-day event at Ad Diriyah reaches spectacular climax in an unprecedented spirit of openness

The driver with the winner’s trophy was Antonio Felix da Costa — but the real winners were Saudi Arabia itself, and more than 1,000 tourists visiting the country for the first time.

Da Costa, the Andretti Motorsport driver, won the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix in front of thousands of race fans at a custom-built track in the historic district on the outskirts of Riyadh.

But in truth, the event was about much more than high-tech electric cars hurtling round a race track — thrilling though that was. The three-day festival of motorsport, culture and entertainment was Saudi Arabia’s chance to prove that it can put on a show to rival anything in the world, and which only two years ago would have been unthinkable.

The event was also the first to be linked to the Sharek electronic visa system, allowing foreigners other than pilgrims or business visitors to come to Saudi Arabia.

Jason, from the US, is spending a week in the country with his German wife, riding quad bikes in the desert and visiting heritage sites. “I’ve always wanted to come for many, many years ... I’m so happy to be here and that they’re letting us be here,” he said.

Aaron, 40, a software engineer, traveled from New York for two days. “Saudi Arabia has always been an exotic place ... and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to come here,” he said.

About 1,000 visitors used the Sharek visa, a fraction of what Saudi Arabia aims eventually to attract. 

“Hopefully we will learn from this and see what we need to do for the future, but I can tell you from now that there is a lot of demand,” said Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, vice chairman of the General Sports Authority.

His optimism was backed by Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and a visitor to Ad Diriyah. “Such events will attract tourists and are a true celebration for young Saudis who desire a bright future,” he said.

“The vision of moderate Islam, promoted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is important both for the region and the entire world, and its realization needs to be appreciated, respected and supported.”

The event ended on Saturday night with a spectacular show by US band OneRepublic and the superstar DJ David Guetta. “Just when you think things can’t get better, they suddenly do,” said concertgoer Saleh Saud. “This is the new Saudi Arabia, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.”