• Future gazing at UDT 2019

    UDT, the underwater defence and security community's leading exhibition and conference, is putting the future of the underwater defence and security domain firmly centre stage at this year’s conference on 13th-15th May, 2019.

    Three special Swedish Armed Forces panel discussions will take place on Day 2 of the conference, where attendees will be invited to get the Swedish perspective on several key issues facing the Swedish Navy and its underwater mission as it looks toward the coming decades.

    The three consecutive panel sessions, chaired by Captain Anders Järn, Director Underwater Warfare Department - Defence Materiel Administration, FMV, will consider ‘The underwater domain: a vital national interest’, ‘Operational aspects on UXVs’ and take a look inside ‘SMaRC: the Swedish Maritime Robotics Centre’.

    Speakers will include:

    *Rear Admiral Odd Werin, Director Naval Systems – FMV;
    *Cdr Fredrik Lindén, Head of Training and Personnel - Swedish Navy Staff;
    *Dr Ivan Stenius, Associate Professor, Centre for Naval Architecture, Department of Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering - KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

    This focus on Swedish armed forces operations, technologies, requirements and challenges will be followed up on the morning of Day 3 with a focussed look at Artificial Intelligence (AI) Security and Insecurity in Underwater Defence.

    Speakers will include:

    *Dr Chris Norwood, Research Leader Acoustic Signature Management - DST – Australia;
    *Dr Heiko Borchert, Security Analyst and Managing Director - Borchert Consulting & Research AG;
    *Dr Joel Brynielsson, Deputy Research Director – FOI.

    This panel discussion will explore how the underwater defence and security community approaches AI within a ‘Total Defence’ construct. This will take a step back from the technology innovations in development and consider the wider context in which new technologies need to be embedded in order to maximise their utilisation in the future battlespace.

    “Trust is a huge issue when looking at the use of AI by naval forces in general, because one of the key challenges with rolling out new unmanned or robotic technology is the need to understand the wider context to properly embed technology,” Borchert said. “It is essentially about stepping out of the technology and operational domains and into a cultural domain.

    “When looking at disruptive technologies, the engineering community can often be at odds with the operator community; the former gets very excited about it, but disruption goes hand-in-hand with change – and change tends to be resisted as it questions organisational routine and well-established doctrinal principles.”

    This can lead to a significant amount of opposition or even refusal to accept new technologies that may disturb the status quo. And for the underwater defence and security community, where the use of unmanned technologies, robotics and big data is only going to continue to grow, AI is prominently on the agenda for those wanting to push forward with innovation and new effects.

    “We have to accept there is a huge cultural aspect to AI and its employment in the battlefield, in a way that is quite unique in the defence and security sector,” Borchert said. “It’s somewhat difficult for engineers to understand because culture isn’t something that can be coded into a software, it something that needs to be done via education and change management across organisations, to enable people to understand that this kind of change is not a threat, rather, it has massive potential to augment capabilities.”

    “This is one of the reasons why UDT is such a valuable platform, as it brings together engineers, users and policy makers and gives everyone a chance to see things from the other perspective,” Simon Williams, Chairman, Clarion Defence & Security, added. “It is vital for each to be exposed to the other because often these communities may talk about each other but don’t talk to each other.

    “We have a fantastic line up of speakers across the three-day UDT 2019 conference selected from the world’s leading industry, research, education and military organisations, and I look forward to attendees getting a high-level view of the future of the underwater defence and security domain.”

    The full conference agenda can be viewed and downloaded at

    12.05.2019. 22:26:56