UDS 2017 MCM Focus Day Round-up: Maximising MCM Capabilities within Financial Constraints
Underwater Defence & Security 2017 held a MCM focus day chaired by Commodore (Retd) David Burton, Strategy Director, NATO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation with delegates exchanging a rich dialogue between the Operational, Acquisition, Research and Industrial Communities on the issues and challenges related to Autonomous Unmanned Systems in the Maritime Domain.
Delegates heard during the meeting how several nations are facing acute challenges replacing aged legacy capabilities, in a financially constrained environment. There was a consensus from Navy representatives that there is a need for a change in the procurement process to a more incremental approach and how a CD&E/Operational Experimentation Programme could de-risk the acquisition process.
There were certainly mixed views on replacing tried and tested systems. For example, UxV operations felt there was a clear view that we still lack clarity of a well-defined CONOPS and associated training is lacking.
Admiral Sir George Zambellas, First Sea Lord 2013-2016, and now a Consultant for unmanned surface robot manufacturer, Liquid Robotics, addressed the delegates stating MCM isn’t the challenge, but connectivity is and thus needs better exploitation.
The Admiral commented there is perhaps a 10-year window before a seismic change in technology comes and now is the time to prepare for the future. During a lively question and answer session the Admiral called on industry to push the barriers of technology to its limits and confirmed that he will lobby Government to develop more ambitious research projects.
Commodore Burton summarised key findings from the day:
“A common architecture, standards and data model, technical improvements in the areas of communications and data quality, new tactics and making the business case emerged as critical factors for success.”