ITEC 2019

Speaker Interview with James Atkins

Over the next 10 years what will be the most significant areas for development in military and civil technology?

The most significant development will be robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). While most people imaging robotic soldiers and drones, for example in a war fighting or surveillance role, the most significant advancements in terms of broadest impact will be AI. This is likely to cover every area of development from design through to manufacturing and operational use.


With the rapid introduction of new technologies in mass consumer markets there are challenges not only old technology but old ideas; and there are open questions - how are these technological developments impacting on defence and security capabilities?

The pace of progress in the mass consumer market is astonishing. Most of us experience the introduction of new technology through entertainment and information systems.  While it’s hard to see how entertainment systems will impact defence and security capabilities it’s perhaps easier to imagine the positive impact of information systems. Both of these systems create a positive user experience allowing rapid access to data and functions. This is where I think technology from the mass consumer market will have the biggest impact.


There is a focus on achieving advances in miniaturisation, robotics and artificial intelligence and the exploitation of big data which have the potential to generate revolutionary change – do you think this focus is correct and where do you think we can expect to see the most rapid developments?

Yes, we are on the cusp of a major revolution with the introduction of driverless vehicles on our highways and elsewhere. The introduction of driverless platforms on our waterways is not far behind and in some cases here already. The large number of groups working on different technology solutions in this area means the chances of a successful introduction are very good. I would expect to see the most rapid development in sense and avoid, and vehicle control/management technology.


There is a growing demand from the user community for practical and pragmatic change, based on rapid development and experimentation from industry – do you think this demand is fair and what can we expect to see as a result?

Yes, however there is a “but”. We work in an industry that is regulated through standards. These are needed to ensure the technology we develop is safe and fit for purpose. Rapid experimentation is a good thing to demonstrate the capability and utility of new technology. At the same time we, as an enterprise, need to also address the regulations challenge and assure the end users that the agile development of this new technology will deliver the capabilities needed. 


You will be chairing at UDT 2018. Can you give us a brief insight into the areas your session will be covering?

My session covers Platform Signatures. Every area of a platform is a potential source of signature information either through radiated noise or sonar reflections. Stealth is one of the main platform characteristics that govern a submarines ability to operate effectively. The papers in this session deal with both active and passive measures needed to reduce the signature of a submarine to reduce the potential for detection.


What can delegates expect to take away from your session? (KEY take away- why YOUR session is important)

There are two papers relevant to advances in Target Echo Strength control and reduction. Advances in Simulation and Modelling, through modelling frameworks such as BeTSSI, form an important part in understanding and quantifying the main sources of echo highlights. Also the design and development of mitigation techniques such acoustic tiles enable the platform designer to manage the signature and protect areas of the platform that are vulnerable to active sonars. In the third paper a CFD model investigating the phenomenon of Blade Signing is presented showing how the modelling was able to accurately predict the characteristic radiated frequency of a hydrofoil. This technique is being extended to investigate more representative geometries.      

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Event info

UDT 2019 date & time:

Mon 13th May - 09:00 - 17:30
Tues 14th May - 09:00 - 19:30
Weds 15th May - 09:00 - 15:30

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1 125 30 Älvsjö

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