This marks the fifth year that we have asked the commanders of the world’s navies to enter the forum. Twenty-three commanders answered this year’s question: “What is the most important technology that your navy wants to acquire? Why?”
Admiral Alfredo Arnaiz Ambrossiani, Peruvian Navy—The current age of outstanding technological progress makes possible, in the best way, the integration of civil and military requirements for a country like Peru that is looking for a self-sustained development as it enters the 21st century.
The Peruvian Navy recognizes the information technology concepts and the ever-growing necessity of exploiting technological knowledge for continued development, independent of the user, whether at the Iquitos Naval Base in the northeastern jungle region of the country or in southern Peru on the world’s highest navigable lake.
The Peruvian Navy is looking forward to the development of a real-time digital communication network to cope with some of the most varied terrain in the world, and using it to overcome present access problems caused by limited road infrastructure in areas such as the jungle and the Andes.
The information network will support teleconferencing among the various staff levels of the scattered military hierarchy—all with access to the information available in Lima—to decrease decision-making time.
The attainment of this technology not only will integrate the whole naval organization throughout the country, but also will contribute to national development by establishing communications with cities in the Navy’s area of influence, as well as with other towns of geopolitical interest located farther away.
Most important is the opportunity to provide such towns with current technology and to achieve self-reliance in development.
Admiral Vural Bayazit, Turkish Navy—With the modernization program currently under way, the Turkish Navy has a unique opportunity to employ new and emerging technologies within the modern frigates, submarines, and patrol boats presently under construction. With each passing day, however, technical capabilities of existing systems fall behind the newer emerging technologies. It is a fact that the cutting-edge technological life span of systems is progressively decreasing; investing in research and development and technology upgrades is a must to prevent systems from going out of date.
On that note, the Turkish Navy recognizes that certain key technologies will correct essential shortfalls of today—as well as those in the near future.
In most cases, the term “technology” predominantly means keeping hardware in line with the second-wave revolution, i.e., the industrial revolution. As we enter the third-wave revolution, the information age, we believe that the contemporary use of the term “technology” also includes the computer software dimension. Beginning in the 1970s, the ratio of software-to-hardware development in the production of weapons and sensors has been increasing exponentially. Today, software engineering in the design and production of sensors, fire-control systems, and weapons accounts for an enormous share of the development costs. In the future, this only will increase.
Therefore, having access to improved software and related technologies will be a key field for the Turkish Navy. Other crucial areas include:
- Platform signature and emission reduction, and stealth technologies in order to reduce acoustic, electromagnetic, and radar cross-sections
- A comprehensive command-and-control system
- Communication and data-transfer technologies to ensure secure communication capabilities exist for friendly forces—and are denied to hostile forces
- Continuous surveillance and reconnaissance of the operating area with the capability to correlate all data and detections in real time for use by the on-scene commander
In summary, from now into the next century the Turkish Navy believes that the key to success is to concentrate efforts on procuring, developing, and making effective use of these new, emerging technologies.
Vice Admiral Hans-Rudolf Boehmer, German Navy—In the environment of increasing likeliness of crisis-management operations, the German Navy has to adapt its capabilities to the changed strategic and operational circumstances of maritime operations.
Strategically, there will be a clear shift away from the emphasis on open-ocean operations to those in littoral areas where naval forces can contribute to the management of a crisis ashore. With this shift, there will be greater requirements for surface warfare in littoral waters and shallow-water antisubmarine warfare, as well as countering threats from land-based aircraft and missiles. At the same time, capabilities for wide-area operations are needed.
The German Navy will maintain its traditional capabilities and experience in littoral antisurface warfare and improve its ASW and antiair warfare capabilities. The primary steps are the introduction of the U-212 submarine and the F-124 air-defense frigate. They represent the major technological challenges for the near future.
With the U-212’s revolutionary propulsion system, we will step into a new dimension of conventional submarines. As trials have proven, the U-212 will incorporate all the features of our latest diesel submarine, but it will be quieter, faster, and air-independent. Its primary task will be ASW. With an advanced torpedo and a towed-array sonar system, the new submarine will play an important role in the layered submarine defense. In addition, it also will have its advantages in surface warfare, especially in littoral areas.
The second challenge is the weapon suite of the new F-124. The cornerstone of the new frigate will be the multifunction active phased- array radar (APAR), which meets new requirements and will operate in the I-band. In addition, a long- range search radar (SMART-L) will be developed. The Mk 41 vertical launch system will fire both the Standard Missile 2 (SM-2) and the Enhanced Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM), adding to the F-124’s AAW capabilities and providing a first step toward the upcoming requirements for a theater ballistic missile system.
With these technologies and capabilities, the German Navy will be well prepared for the future and on the road to a new generation of weapon systems together with our partners and allies.
Vice-Admiral Jorge Donoso Moran, Ecuadorian Navy—It would not surprise me in the least if many other commanders share my thoughts on information technology.
The Ecuadorian Navy is using all available resources to purchase and develop information technology. This includes hardware, the design and development of software, and a drive to enhance and increase its use and applications at all levels.
Why? As we close this century, the lessons learned in recent conflicts such as the Gulf War have proved that information technology and knowledge in general will be the most important factor in any future wartime environment. The widespread use of information technology also is applicable to all of our Navy’s peacetime activities. Thus, the ability to process information probably has become the most important capability of a military force.
By means of information technology, we hope to achieve increased readiness; better availability of operating units; improved efficiency, performance, and training; improved command, control, communications, and intelligence capabilities; and the widespread use of models, simulations, and data base management systems in all activities.
As we improve our information technology capabilities, we hope to change the way we do things and become an efficient, lean, and well-structured force able to meet the challenges facing all military organizations today and in the future.
Admiral Mansurul Haque, Pakistani Navy—Pakistan’s modest naval forces, indeed its armed forces, have in my experience suffered heavily through overdependence on sources abroad. A case in point is the U.S. Pressler Amendment, which halted almost every facet of naval cooperation with the U.S. Navy and denied material support that used U.S. assets. In the process, almost our entire strength of surface combatants was deleted at a stroke.
Inevitably, our obvious response has been to endeavor to buy European technology and, secondly, to enhance our capacity for indigenous construction. Neither of these are easy options, involving as they do mixing and matching platforms and systems and forgoing economies of scale.
While we recognize that technology and production interdependence is a global trend, and our own industry has yet to attain levels to participate in the process, we do have the compulsion to acquire a measure of self-reliance in certain technologies that have been denied us because of a variety of reasons.
Given the limitations of our resources, we must strive toward achieving adequate expertise in the rapidly mushrooming technology of information. Multithreat scenarios warrant immediate solutions for deployment of available assets—which have been made possible by the immense power of software sciences. At the heart of all computer actions lie the mystical software algorithms that can process information at speeds beyond human imagination. The advances in software development have equally fascinated the military and civil worlds, and software’s endless advantages have compelled a large number of countries to channelize maximum possible efforts in these avenues.
Software development is manpower intensive with marginal material costs. Most of the costs of the newly developed command, control and communications, electronic warfare, and fire-control systems are in software development. The material costs of such systems usually is 10%-15% of their total price.
The development and improvements in software take place on commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment accessible to underdeveloped, developing, and developed nations at affordable prices. Various machines that include powerful work stations and microcomputers suffice for innovative software-based operational concepts tailored to a nation’s unique environment.
The acquisition of software development technology is of greatest interest to the developing and underdeveloped nations in view of its affordability and immense potential. In addition, it would provide employment for many motivated and innovative individuals. I believe that my Navy should strive to achieve self-reliance on the cutting edge of this fast-growing technology. This option is within our capability and reach.
Rear Admiral Muharrem Kucana, Albanian Navy—We are interested in the Proceedings Annual Review, and we find it useful. The following technologies are most important to us as we upgrade our naval forces:
- NATO-standard command, control, and communications
- Electronic and electro-optical survey equipments and systems on board our ships and on our coast
- Weapon system fire control
- Fire-fighting and damage control
- Individual and collective life-saving equipment
- Underwater surveillance
- Diving equipment
Admiral Jean-Charles Lefebvre, French Navy—As the French Navy undertakes a major modernization of its assets, it is not trying particularly to acquire any specific technology in a determined area. Rather it wants to ensure the development of the full range of its warfare capabilities, which will enable it to preserve the global cohesion of its operational assets and to carry out today’s more diversified missions.
The development of our two major state-of-the-art programs, the new Triomphant-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines and the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, associated with the Rafale fighter aircraft, is evidence of the efforts conducted in numerous areas.
Thus, the architecture of our naval platforms is the subject of thorough research. The materials, the shapes, the stability—including at low speeds—the capacity to operate under extreme conditions, or with partially damaged equipment, retain our full attention.
Likewise, surface warfare is an important field of research that takes into account the specificities of close-to-shore or over-land missions: detection of stealth targets, long-distance identification, close self-defense, electronic warfare, and, of course, new weapons are all addressed.
In the field of underwater warfare, research is also intensified to increase our capabilities. Major progress has been achieved in acoustic quieting with the advent of the Triomphant. The repercussions and the experience acquired will be used for the next generation of attack submarines. In addition, we are evaluating a very-low-frequency active sonar, the first of which has just been installed aboard the frigate Tourville, and we are intensifying our efforts in antisubmarine warfare in shallow waters which, at a time when the action of naval forces is moving closer to the shore, has become an operational necessity.
Finally, we need to mention the particular effort that we are conducting to integrate combat systems on board the various ships and in our naval forces. They are developed in conjunction with the information and communication systems that today play a major role in our assessment, decision-making, and action capabilities, at the tactical as well as the theater command level. The optimization of information processing, the consolidation and the relaying of information get the highest priority.
In fact, rather than any specific technology, it is the interoperability with the other services and with our allies that we are trying to achieve. The acquisition of advanced technologies will contribute to it provided there is a will to research and develop joint equipment programs.
Admiral Angelo Mariani, Italian Navy—It is well known that advances in all areas of naval electronics—sensors, communications, electronic countermeasures, and combat management systems—are positioned to continue strongly despite widespread cuts in defense expenditures and the end of the Cold War.
Indeed the new, still-changing geopolitical scenario, with the addition of less-predictable regional threats, places greater emphasis on strategic and tactical surveillance, accurate track discrimination, and easily accessible command support.
Automated tactical data handling to correlate and display real-time sensor information to the command team is essential to ensure a timely response in increasingly complex threat scenarios. Above all, integrated and widely interoperable command, control, communications, and intelligence systems will be essential to the conduct of effective operations; they represent one of the key areas in which the Italian Navy is presently seeking advanced technology.
A number of projects have been or are scheduled to be launched in the near future to provide the Italian Navy with new capabilities to ensure its full interoperability with most its most important partners and their forces. Satellite communications; new, fully automated command, control, and information systems; and command support systems are some of the programs the Italian Navy is seeking.
In particular, with the aim of maintaining its warfare capabilities at the highest level, the Italian Navy is looking with great interest at the new concept of cooperative engagement—the first step toward providing its ships with a theater ballistic-missile defense capability.
Admiral Jorge Martinez Busch, Chilean Navy—The most important technology to acquire is that of command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, and dissemination of information—C4HD.
Reflection on these components leads me to think that whatever the technological level of a navy, the pith of this technology considers men as irreplaceable elements in all defense macrosystems; therefore, the exercise of command becomes the most complex of the elements in the system.
We know orders bear a meaning, but they must convey intelligibility and a purpose. Such effort would be lost without control of how the system elucidates what has been ordered, because an incorrectly executed order may become a source of crisis or incident. It is easy to infer, therefore, that the answer must be provided through some sort of control, guaranteeing that the chain’s components perform in the desired way. Through graphic means, and voice or data communications, modern control systems enable the evaluation and reappraisal of the efficacy of the given order.
If signals are weak, deformed, or interfered with by opponents, or by meteorological, oceanographic, or other factors, the communication link does not take place—and it is this link, supported by the presentation of the information using computer technology, that provides the certainty and intelligibility of the order, and its control, in real time.
Navies always will face challenges that may be identified as the enemy. If I have ordered with a purpose, and my control indicates that such purpose is being achieved, the enemy’s answer is essential if I am to graduate my efforts. This is highly important in budget-restricted navies that have only limited numbers of personnel and ships. Intelligence will help bring about the concentration, dispersion, decrease, or increase of the means allocated to obtain any desired purpose.
Finally, the dissemination of the information will permit other force components, not necessarily directly involved, to participate in the process and thus the process of dissemination becomes the link that will bind the rest of the team, reinforcing its morale and spirit. Given that the Navy is not alone in the social body, knowledge will be the bond that will strengthen its position as a vital institution for the existence of the state throughout time.
Vice Admiral L. G. Mason, Canadian Navy—The most important technology that Canada’s Navy wants to acquire is information technology, in order to improve the proficiency of decision-makers at sea and ashore. Accurate and timely information will permit commanders and managers at all levels to make vital decisions rapidly, based upon sound facts. The effective exchange of information is recognized as a powerful force effectiveness and support multiplier during peace, emergency, and war. Information technology will enable maintenance of combat-capable maritime forces despite declining defense budgets. While Canada’s Navy will have fewer resources, its decision-makers must be empowered with the detailed information to ensure that Canada’s naval forces are at the right place, at the right time, and with the right equipment in order that they can carry out their assigned mission professionally, either as a national entity, or as part of a joint or a combined force.
Information technology realistically promises effective command and control, as well as essential interoperability among all elements of the Canadian Forces and between Canada’s Navy and allied navies. Automation of all aspects of the information process will reduce personnel costs and non-value-added work.
Digital information systems will increase the quality, quantity, security, and timeliness of data exchange. Information technology will enhance the capabilities of all agencies of the Government of Canada that have a maritime jurisdiction through the cooperative creation and exchange of a common, recognized maritime picture.
For all these reasons, I am firmly committed to the sensible and aggressive exploitation of emerging information technology to benefit Canada’s Navy.
Admiral Enrique Emilio Molina-Pico, Argentinian Navy—The power of knowledge continues increasing its influence, in a world where the future and uncertainty are very much related. In that context, our major efforts must be oriented to acquiring new technologies for command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence systems (C4I).
We must develop a C4I architecture capable of working with our sister services to accomplish our basic military roles. But also, we must maintain the capability to operate with government and nongovernment agencies, to perform complementary roles. Third, we must be prepared for different missions in multinational operations, in order to preserve international peace and security.
Within the broad concept of C4I, our principal focus is the naval use of space systems, because these systems—given the environment and the nature of naval operations—have significant and increasing applications for naval forces. Our concerns encompass not only navigation, communications, weather and environmental data, but also the sustained, covert surveillance capability to monitor vast maritime areas where our national interests could be at stake.
Satellites are useful tools for military and civilian purposes, and many technological areas of C41 today rely on the adaptability of the latest commercial technologies to military use. Therefore, our naval research and development and our programs of cooperation with other navies might also have an application to civilian requirements. This versatility is relevant at the present time vis-a-vis significant shrinkage in defense budgets.
In summary, updated C4I will permit us to manage increasing volumes of information, while diminishing uncertainty and making timely political and military decisions to deter—or to apply force if deterrence fails—in order to guarantee permanently our Argentine national interests.
Admiral Joao Jose de Freitas Ribeiro Pacheco, Portuguese Navy—The employment of allied multinational forces in any foreseeable post-Cold War crisis represents a major technological challenge for small navies, because it needs to be taken in a global perspective to allow for the development of adequate and interoperable enabling and executing capabilities.
Within the broad category of enabling capabilities, we emphasize such technologies as high-technology sensors and thermal infrared detectors to gather information about the battlefield. Once the information is available, it must be processed, a task that calls for operational data bases, computers, and proper software. Because information denial can be just as important as information acquisition, we intend to improve our capabilities through the use of stealth and hard-to-detect electronic signals.
To orchestrate the response of our naval forces, we are modernizing the command-and-control systems, using advanced computers, communications networks, and other technologies, linked into coherent grids, in order to allow a constant and permanent contact with every subordinate element of the force.
Our concerns also include those technologies designed to get a force into the area of operations and sustain it there. Efforts include not only logistics ships and on-force packaging, but also the extension of existing capabilities to be able to maintain and repair submarines and air defense systems.
Keeping our high-technology simulation and training system up to date will allow our personnel to understand the concepts and practice modern war without actually experiencing it.
Within the broad category of executing capabilities, we encompass the ability to strike with missiles and to defend against enemy smart weapons, employing a new generation of laser systems.
The most visible and important components are the major naval platforms. Technological advances here are less likely to be profound than elsewhere. That is why we feel that is necessary to rethink the nature and role of naval platforms to perform military missions to achieve any significant technological improvement. A notion that might have an important effect on such tasks is the idea of high- low mix technologies, capable of facing different threats and operating in variable scenarios.
As with all advanced processes now under way in allied navies—at a time when their public perceives no major threat—our Navy’s technological revolution may be affected by greater financial constraints. New technolgies offer exciting opportunities, but acquiring them is a persistent challenge.
Vice Admiral Raul Risso, Uruguayan Navy—The answer presents a dichotomy difficult to resolve. On the one hand, changes of the armed forces’ role caused by economic pressures means that the aspirations of just a few years ago can no longer be achieved. The other aspect is that it remains conditioned to the term “. . . the most important technology. . . .”
After the surface patrol requirement has been properly covered, however, the Uruguayan Navy recognizes the importance of acquiring aeronautical technology. This would allow us to recover lost capacities by expanding efficiently the aero-maritime patrol area.
In addition to military considerations, reassumption of this aeronaval capability would help combat drug trafficking, illegal traffic of people and goods, fishing laws enforcement, pollution control, and any other activity included in the Third Convention of Maritime Law for the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Platform.
We then need to consider that any activity that may affect our national sovereignty will require proof in situ, proper identification of the violators, and perhaps some kind of interaction under any kind of circumstances. Therefore, based on the needs of our Navy, we understand that the any aircraft we acquire must have the following characteristics: great operational range and autonomy, capacity to transport material and people, high speed to reach operating areas rapidly, and good slow-speed capabilities for tracking and observation. In addition, they must have growth capability, proper equipment for electronic warfare, a system of flexible weapons, and sensors to detect surface and submarine targets.
Aircraft that meet these requirements would be our main priority, because of the need to cover a search-and-rescue area of 4,500,000 square kilometers—the equivalent more than 25 times the surface area of the country—in addition to the normal area of responsibility established by the International Maritime Search and Rescue Agreement of the International Maritime Organization.
Admiral Juan Jose Romero Caramelo, Spanish Navy— At a moment when crises have become everyday events and there are more intervening and interrelated factors, it is difficult to identify just one naval issue with a leading role in future operations. For the very same reason, it is also difficult to identify a single technology as most important.
To identify necessary technologies, the Spanish Navy has participated in multinational and multidisciplinary studies focused on different scenarios. From these studies, we have identified some shortfalls without trying to prioritize them because our aim is to keep a balanced naval force, and we must pay attention to a wide variety of technological fields.
In platforms, Spanish industry, alone or in collaboration, has supplied most of our combat units, the aircraft carrier Principe de Asturias, frigates, fast combat support ships, corvettes, and offshore patrol vessels. We plan to maintain this capability.
Regarding detection and weapon systems, the strategic situation has changed. As my predecessor Admiral Vila stated in Proceedings, future assets will be more antiair-warfare oriented. This means that air detection and antimissile technologies must be developed. We already have experience in the antimissile area with the Spanish Meroka system. We want access, however, to state-of-the-art technology to provide our units with an air-defense system that includes theater missile defense against the threat presented by weapons of massive destruction.
Finally, and taking account of the Spanish force contributions to international organizations, a reference should be made to command, control, and communications systems because they give us the capability to operate as part of multinational task forces.
Vice Admiral Robert C. Simpson-Anderson, South African Navy—South Africa’s maritime interests span the Indian, South Atlantic, and Southern Oceans. All told, the seas encompassed by our exclusive economic zone (EEZ)—in addition to our regional and international maritime obligations—make for a vast operational area for the small South African Navy. Furthermore, the Navy is emerging from a period during which the country’s isolation and the traditionally excessive landward focus of South African politicians and defense planners cost us some critical operational technologies during the 1980s: surface combatants of a size appropriate for the sea-keeping and mobility demands of our area of operations as well as the antisubmarine warfare and the tactical maritime air capabilities associated with such ships.
Paradoxically, however, the era of isolation obliged us to develop a relatively wide range of naval technologies on our own, and we are more than satisfied with our current technology base for most of our combat systems, e.g., radar and electro-optic sensors; command, control, and communications and electronic warfare systems; and missile, gun, and torpedo weapon systems. What we critically need, therefore, are capable hulls in which to install our present and planned combat system technology—and to regain antisubmarine warfare and tactical air technologies, including organic combat helicopters and high-endurance maritime patrol aircraft.
In short, the most important technology that the South African Navy is seeking to acquire in the short term is a multipurpose surface combatant capability, capable of sustained operations in the open oceans of our maritime area.
Admiral Prachet Siridej, Royal Thai Navy—Over the years, the Royal Thai Navy has gone through a lot of major changes caused by important regional and world events. Along the way, the Navy has found the need to modify and readjust its naval strategy to suit best the time and space of each environment. Despite the strong winds of change, the Navy has managed to retain a defensive strategy as its ideal principle.
Materially speaking, despite its limited budget, the Royal Thai Navy has tried very hard to keep up with warfare technology. Keeping up means not only procurement and research, but also extends to training our personnel on a continuing basis in the new technology of modern advanced and highly sophisticated equipment.
What is the most important technology my Navy wants to acquire? My response is information technology. The Royal Thai Navy has been interested in this field for some time, especially in the aspects of information processing and information transfer (communications). We are convinced this technology will be a key factor and an efficient instrument for naval operations and administrative work. We perceive that in the next decade the scope of our responsibilities will be more extensive and more varied. Men-of-war basically procured for naval conflict likely will turn to a new role in peacetime operations instead. They will be used, for example, as important instruments to assist in solving national crises and disasters, enforcing the law at sea, conserving the marine environment, and many other projects.
Accordingly, our future naval forces must possess flexibility and mobility for interoperability. In order for the Navy to achieve all these qualities, however, accurate and timely information is crucial if commanding officers are to be able to make sound decisions so that problems can be addressed correctly and immediately without delay.
At present, the Royal Thai Navy uses information technology with command, control, communications, and intelligence as an operational framework. We are working on a management information system for effective administration. We are in the process of developing this system to be more fully automated, capable of transmitting voice, video, and data. The security of the data base is a major concern.
In summary, the Royal Thai Navy, driven by the need to satisfy our naval operational and administrative requirements, has a strong desire to follow the trend of the information superhighway. Our approach will be gradual, and we will make advances as our budget permits. At this early stage, we will focus attention on the system’s infrastructure, i.e., high-speed communications from satellite and fiber-optic backbones. It is unlikely that the military will be able to fund all the requirements, and we may find it necessary to resort to the civilian public communications system. In this case, security must be carefully considered and established.
Admiral Sir Jock Slater, Royal Navy—The United Kingdom’s Armed Forces’ posture is shifting toward power projection. For the Royal Navy this means expeditionary warfare. It focuses on littoral operations and warfare “from the sea.” Three core capabilities provide this: carrier task groups, amphibious task groups, and nuclear submarines.
Future effectiveness depends on the successful development of a range of emerging defense, communication, and information technologies. These developments will provide power-projection technology for the fleet. This technology will be essential for the conduct of operations that will increasingly be joint service in nature and most likely will involve allies.
Power-projection technology must provide the capability to strike long-range enemy targets with a high degree of accuracy, minimum attrition, and low collateral damage. Cruise missiles, enhanced naval fire support, and other sophisticated weapons will be essential elements of the projection force. Over land and sea, fast and stealthy fighter-attack aircraft and advanced helicopters deploying their own suite of smart munitions certainly will be key participants.
Advanced joint reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance, and damage-assessment systems will be needed to provide precise targeting and command-and-control information. Many linked sensors will contribute to the overall picture. Unmanned air and underwater vehicles are set to play an increasingly important role.
To sustain operations within the littoral, the projection force must be protected. Technology to achieve mine detection and clearance in shallow water and to counter proliferating and ever quieter submarines will be of key importance.
In sum, the Royal Navy seeks new power-projection technology. It will blend above- and below-water stealth, command-and-control, computers and intelligence, and strike technologies. They will give the United Kingdom and its allies highly capable forces able to conduct incisive expeditionary warfare, and also able to undertake responsive humanitarian work and sensitive peacekeeping operations. The Commanders Respon
Admiral Joannis Stagas, Hellenic Navy—According to the Greek historian Thucydides, “META TO THE OAAAEEHE KPATOZ.” Freely translated, this means “Control of the seas is of utmost importance.”
Greece, as a traditional naval nation, is bound to control its sea space, especially under the current geopolitical conditions characterized by high complexity and unpredictability.
In this context, sea space surveillance constitutes a fundamental prerequisite. Regarding surface surveillance, the great efforts made by the Hellenic Navy over the years have led to effective technical solutions and operational success. Underwater surveillance, the other key element, remains a primary requirement. The peculiarities of the underwater regime of interest to the Hellenic Navy—shallow waters, ambient noise and reverberation, high insular density, etc.—define environmental conditions of the highest possible complexity and variability, which calls for the employment of surveillance-related technologies adapted to specific needs.
These technologies must deliver optimal results with respect to basic functions such a detection, classification, identification, localization, and tracking. Given their sensitivity and, consequently, the integrated system’s dependence vis-a-vis the environmental factors, the acquisition of technologies related to the reliable modeling and characterization of the environment is of high priority.
Accordingly, we are monitoring and assessing available and emerging technologies concerning sensor arrays, adaptive and real-time signal processing, pattern recognition, and—eventually—system integration.
The Hellenic Navy is fully aware of the intricacies of such an ambitious and technologically sensitive objective as the implementation of underwater surveillance, and therefore maintains close contacts with the scientific and industrial communities—on the national and international level—as it pursues the best solutions.
Vice Admiral R. G. Taylor, Royal Australian Navy—I welcome this opportunity to contribute some thoughts on the most important technology the Royal Australian Navy might like to acquire—and why.
The Force Development area in our Joint Headquarters is responsible for researching future technologies and proposing major capability submissions. Since significant technologies at the platform or weapon systems level such as 100-knot ships, multihulls, and Mach 3 antiship missiles already are under active consideration, I exclude these.
Because of Australia’s circumstances, we are not in the business of independent development of future technologies at the platform or weapon system level. Instead, we focus our attention on specific areas of expertise that are of direct relevance to Australian defense policy, such as the Jindalee Over-the-Horizon Radar Network and the Nulka active hovering decoy. Guidance from our 1994
Defence White Paper Defending Australia puts this in perspective. It states:
While Australia imports most of the technology embedded in its defence capabilities, some aspects of our environment are sufficiently different from those of other countries to demand unique equipment and technology. We must keep abreast of continuing advances in defence-relevant technology so that we will be able to defend Australia into the future. [Priorities include] support for intelligence, surveillance, electronic warfare, communications, information technology, and exploitation of environmental information.
Given these significant qualifications, the most important technology of interest to the RAN is that associated with information technology—particularly as it relates to C3I, surveillance, and interactive simulation training. Advances in signal processing have—and should continue—to produce great improvements in the speed and volume of data processing. In terms of the time-critical information required at both the tactical and strategic level, the integration of all available task force and non-organic systems will result in an exponential evolution of C3I systems.
Fighting and winning at sea in the next century will hinge on the ability of navies to collect, analyze, and act on the information available. Those with access to the “best,” and not necessarily the “most,” information will have an important edge.
Rear Admiral Michel Verhulst, Belgian Navy—As once again demonstrated during the Gulf War, the threat from sea mines remains a cheap but most dangerous and effective weapon system to impede naval operations. In addition, the sophistication of sea mines has evolved considerably during the last decade. Therefore, the Belgian Navy wants to acquire within the next few years multi-influence minesweeping technology directly related to the complexity of the mine fuse.
As a matter of fact, improvements in processing power and good sensor integration make complex mine fuse logic(s) feasible and affordable. Complex mine fuse logic(s), where not only the presence of an influence, but also time and frequency aspect are important, replace the simple logic employed by older mines. The smart mine is able to differentiate between a ship’s signature and that of a conventional sweep.
Multi-influence minesweeping is an integrated part of most mine countermeasures operations and is thus essential for the new Belgian Coastal Minesweeper Project. It provides the capability to remove mines in circumstances that are unfavorable for minehunting—as in the case of buried mines. Influence minesweeping can be achieved using a target-setting mode (TSM) wherein the influence sweep mimics the target ship that is expected to transit the mined area. It also can be achieved using a mine-setting mode (MSM), which exploits the characteristics of mine algorithms.
The following influences must be generated in the target-setting mode: magnetic, acoustic, seismic, extremely low-frequency electromagnetic (ELFE), and underwater electrical potential (UEP). For multiple-influence sweep systems, the spatial coherence of the various sweep signatures must be similar to the spatial coherence of the signatures of real-ship targets. The acquisition of such a new influence sweep capability that copes with the emerging sophisticated mine threat and minimizes the risk to mine countermeasures ships is our Navy’s challenge for the coming years.
Vice-Admiral Sakari Visa, Finnish Navy—During the latter half of the 1990s, Finnish defense material resources are being directed toward acquiring the F/A-18 Hornet for the Finnish Air Force. Navy acquisition resources are therefore limited. Our most important area of interest is mine warfare.
The Baltic Sea is ideal for both defensive and offensive mine warfare. Using mines for maritime defense is a very cost-effective way to protect the shipping and the integrity of a nation against aggression.
The Finnish Navy traditionally has had a relatively strong mine-laying capacity. We are maintaining this capability with the recent deliveries of five minelaying vessels and a development program that aims to establish serial production of a modern sea mine after the turn of the century. The indigenous mine actually will be a family of mines with different properties. Advanced sensor and processing technology will be used. We plan to develop an insensitive warhead to ensure safe storage, transport, and handling.
Parallel with mine technology, mine countermeasures will be upgraded to ensure freedom of operations for naval units and to safeguard merchant traffic. The existing Kuha-class minesweepers will be modernized within the coming four years. The program includes the installation of a new integrated influence sweeping system. In addition, we plan to acquire new light mine-hunting vessels and systems. New technologies for mine detection are being studied and will be adopted if practical.
When developing new technologies and systems we often end up with indigenous solutions, tailored to operate in our shallow archipelagic waters. Many tests have shown that systems developed for the oceans do not perform well in our demanding shallow environment.
The increased international contacts within the mine warfare community are gradually leading to readiness for international operations. The systems operated differ from each other, and interfaces will have to be created to enable efficient cooperation with other mine countermeasures units. Finland’s future contributions will include shallow-water mine countermeasures in very restricted areas and narrow straits. The Com
Rear Admiral J. E. N. Welch, Royal New Zealand Navy—Like most navies, the Royal New Zealand Navy endeavors to follow the mainstream technology trends. Rather than pursuing any particular technology, however, our focus has been on integrating existing technologies, both in operational and support environments. Keeping pace with the many modern weapon, sensor, and communications systems is prohibitively complex and expensive. This can, however, be offset by more efficient use of existing technology and access to outside information through interoperability.
In the tactical areas we are integrating command-and-control systems with weapon systems and communications systems to automate and speed up engagements; observing that tactical information originates from many different types of ship sensors, automation of the collation and analysis of this information provide a surveillance capability far greater than if sensors were used alone. Connecting this with the automated coordination of different weapons provides an engagement capability that is more responsive and capable than with manually controlled weapons.
Typically, the Royal New Zealand Navy replaces individual parts of a ship’s combat systems as they become obsolete, rather than conducting a single, major upgrade. The challenge is to integrate new systems with the ship’s existing, older-generation systems. The technology that makes this possible is, of course, software. Controlling and managing software allow for a flexible integration—rather than a mere connection—of disparate systems.
Similarly, in support areas we are connecting financial, personnel resource, supply, and maintenance systems to facilitate management visibility of our business practices.
We also are committed to international teachnology standards that allow sharing of information from other navies, thereby following our strategy of “self-reliance in partnership” through greater interoperability.
Rear Admiral K. H. Winther, Royal Danish Navy—With the ever-increasing demands for downsizing budgets, it has become equally challenging to maintain and run a modern high-technology oriented fleet. The professional skills of officers and sailors are the fundamental basis for conducting operations with an acceptable chance of achieving success.
In One Hundred Days, Admiral Sir Sandy Woodward, Royal Navy, stresses that the single most important factor leading to success in the Falklands was the tradition of high-quality training throughout the Royal Navy.
The scarce funding we all experience results in reduced sea time and fewer flight hours. Equipment and weapon systems are purchased in numbers insufficient to meet the need of training establishments and schools. At the same time, the complexity of equipment fitted into our ships and aircraft increases, rendering units less ready and making them fully operational later—if at all! The result is extended training programs and less flexibility in appointing officers and sailors.
I believe that in the next five years we shall endeavor to develop technology that improves training possibilities and training quality at cost levels making such tools obtainable. I am convinced that the present state of the arts of simulation, stipulation, and emulation techniques used in training, properly encouraged, may lead to more cost-effective weapon and sensor trainers and simulators and sophisticated automatic data processing-based duplicates of expensive live equipment. Training technology should be developed to offer low-cost training equipment ranging from small, single-unit requirements, through training centers ashore, to fleet-wide training systems supplementing exercises and operations.
Of course, I am well aware that my wish already has become reality and that modern training technology, available to cover most demands, is offered with any purchase. My point is that we must develop flexible training equipment—which I will not have to update with every operational system modification.