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UDT 2011: Unmanned injection called for navy applications

7th June 2011 - 14:05 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


Undersea naval operations will encompass 'more and more unmanned' technology for dull, dirty and dangerous missions if appetites for casualty reduction continue to increase, according to a senior Royal Navy officer.

Speaking at the Undersea Defence Technology (UDT) conference in London, RAdm Amjad Hussain, director of precision attack (MoD Capability), controller of the navy, described how unmanned technology would continue to rise for mine countermeasure operations specifically, whether in the form of UUVs, USVs or UAVs.

'A lot of [unmanned technology] is miniaturised and we are now valuing persistence more than we have in the past,' he explained. 'Because it is unmanned, it is not going to be [deployed] in the UK but it's going to be away somewhere else.'

Outlining how the navy had undertaken an exercise involving an 'unmanned toy helicopter', controlled by an iPhone application, Hussain described how a sailor with no training or instruction had learnt to fly the vehicle safely within five minutes. 'That is what we are experiencing – the use of the gaming software industry to help us with our training.

'The world is changing fast and in the next 20 years, gigabyte demand will reach one million times what it is today. Do we have the bandwidth to do that? How many satellites do you need to distribute that information?' Hussain asked.

In addition, Hussain described how all future undersea assets would have to consider stealth properties, and warned against more traditional programmes of record.

'Technology is moving very fast but we need to get out of long programmes which we can't unlock and which exceed what we might have in the budget. Demand is more responsive and reactive to change with equipment pulled off-the-shelf quite quickly, changed, used and deployed unless stuck in a 25-year programme.'

He also claimed that the Royal Navy was looking to reduce the average time from design to development from 12 years down to three years and then six months beyond that. Hussain stated that industry must be 'flexible' enough to meet such a requirement.

The Shephard News Team


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