Welcome to UDT 2018 taking place in Glasgow.
Glasgow has a rich heritage associated with
the underwater battle space. It is the home
city of the Royal Navy’s premier submarine
base on the Clyde; home for many decades
to ship and submarine construction.
A history of construction that is extending into
its future with the newest generation of the UK’s
anti-submarine ships – the Type 26 – being built
close to where we are meeting. Not only are these traditional heavy
industries located in this city but many of the “firsts” in underwater
warfare sensors have their origins here too.
It is fitting that we are here in Glasgow with its rich history and
tradition, as we seek to look forward to what will drive change in
the near and medium-term future. Across the spectrum of modern
defence and security policy makers, planners and those charged with
developing capabilities are looking at the pace of change instituted
through new digitally inspired technologies, and questioning what
can be exploited by friend or foe. This has given a new impetus to the
search for innovative solutions to established challenges, which is
being matched by the need to search for ways and means to exploit the
fast-paced developments evident in the application of new and exciting
civil technologies that may provide unlooked-for benefits or hazards.
For the first 75 years of man’s exploitation of the underwater space,
military users almost had free rein. Naval submarines and ships
deploying underwater sensors and weapons were almost the
exclusive human users, with the exception of the oldest human users
of this space: the fishermen. Trans-oceanic cable layers predated
the military user, but these were both few and far between. The
expansion of the hydrocarbon industry into the underwater space has
had a dramatic effect, and this has now been joined by offshore wind,
a growing web of energy pipelines, power and communication cables.
Fishermen are venturing further into deeper ocean waters in pursuit
of fish stocks. So, both new and established users are expanding
their exploitation of the ocean, which is making the submarine
environment ever more crowded and ever more vital to human needs.
UDT is designed to bring those with an interest in underwater defence
and security together, to exchange ideas, to see and talk about new
technologies and new ideas. The Technical Planning Committee
under the leadership of this year’s Chair – Jim Kelly of ATLAS
Elecktronik UK – have done a first class job of developing this year’s
agenda from a very strong field of papers. Alongside the conference
we have an industry exhibition with companies from across the
industry spectrum. The conference, the exhibition, and the most vital
element, the people who come, together make the whole greater than
the sum of its parts. Ideas and innovation do not occur in isolation:
interaction, exchanging ideas, seeing the new, and thinking about the
novel are springboards to future solutions. UDT 2018 is designed to
encourage all off these activities. I hope you enjoy being with us at the
31st UDT event.
Rear Admiral Simon Williams
Chairman, Clarion Defence & Security