This paper looks at the mechanics of military innovation to sound a cautionary note on the current and future use of undersea autonomy. It starts from the premise that undersea autonomy is not yet as inevitable and disruptive as many believe. In particular, this is because of the current threat environment, the limited scope of current missions for unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs), and the prevailing technology push. For undersea autonomy to lead to disruptive and discontinuous changes in undersea warfare, navies will need to understand how to translate technological advancements into operational advantages. This will require navies, industry and science partners to develop a better understanding of the interplay between operational needs, cultural predispositions, organisational and resource needs, and technological options.
Keywords: autonomous underwater vehicles, concepts of operation, naval innovation, technology
About the Authors
Dr Heiko Borchert is the owner and managing director of Borchert Consulting & Research AG, a strategic affairs consultancy. He has been working as a security and defence policy advisor for public and private sector clients since 1997. He has been involved in advanced concept studies dealing with armaments policy, defence biometrics, energy security, maritime security, and unmanned underwater systems. He received his PhD from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. He regularly publishes in his areas of work and is co-editor of the Arab Defence Industry Papers.
Tim Kraemer is head of the business line for unmanned naval vehicles of ATLAS Elektronik GmbH, a manufacturer of naval systems acting in the global market. He started his career as a research and development engineer for underwater communication and sonar technology in 2007. Since then he has been working in different technology areas and has developed ‘go-to-market’ concepts for autonomous underwater systems. He is actively involved in discussions, experimentation, and publications focusing on commercial and defence-related use of unmanned underwater systems.
Daniel Mahon started his carrier as a submarine officer on a German HDW Class 206A submarine. He served for many years on the German HDW Class 212A submarine, ascending to the rank of commanding officer. He attended the German principle warfare officer course and is a graduate of the Federal Armed Forces Command and Staff College. At thyssenkrupp Marine Systems he is working as a captain on newly built HDW class submarines during sea acceptance trials and as a naval analyst focusing on concept studies.
Global / International Politics and Security / Maritime Security / Working Papers
Last updated on 10/02/2017