Conference Theme

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UDT 2020 offers a unique opportunity to explore an aspect of underwater defence and security that is rarely discussed: teamwork.

Cooperation and collaboration are essential in the underwater environment at every level from the tactical to the strategic. These factors are vital in mine warfare and anti-submarine warfare: teamwork between platforms; between industry, research and operators; and between nations. With the introduction of increasingly uncrewed systems, the development of technology and concepts to advance crew/machine teaming will be key to operational success.

The Underwater Golden Triangle: Teamworking in the Underwater Domain

Learn more about the underlying conference pillars

Belgian connection

The Netherlands and Belgium began their formal cooperation in mine warfare operations in 1948. By 1964 they had formally agreed to combine their mine warfare training activities, and a decade later the Belgium/Netherlands cooperation broadened to include other NATO nations.

In the following decades anti-submarine warfare became a part of both of these partnerships. The Netherlands remains a leading ASW and Submarine warfare nation and UDT will reflect the breadth of the Netherlands interests across the underwater domain. In the arena of maritime defence Belgium/ Netherlands cooperation is now institutionalised in the Admiralty Benelux and the combining of the Belgian and Dutch naval operations staffs. These are unique arrangements in the maritime domain and especially within the realm of underwater defence.

Netherlands defence policy

The latest Netherlands defence policy, published in 2018, highlights the investments the host nation will be making in the underwater domain. These investments are across the spectrum of underwater defence with major programmes in the mine countermeasures, ASW frigate, and submarine platforms highlighted in the most recent policy papers.

Within the ASW domain. the Netherlands is funding a Maritime Uncrewed Systems programme, and interest and focus on torpedo defence is of increasing prominence. These programme developments reflect the Netherlands approach to its defence needs, but many other nations face similar challenges and share the same needs. For example, the need within these programmes to be clear on the endurance requirements of these platforms and capabilities. Is the deciding factor to be patrol endurance (ie port to port), will it be deployment endurance (homeport to homeport) or is to be the matching of individual capabilities to the overall demands of Task Group endurance?

These considerations have a major bearing on investment and design in all aspects of a capability, from material to personnel. UDT is an ideal platform to explore these and other aspects of future technological design and employment.

Overarching theme

The Underwater Golden Triangle: Teamworking in the Underwater Domain

There are many international aspects to managing the trade-offs in design, as the Netherlands along with many other countries sees the need to work and collaborate internationally. The Netherlands policy makes clear that international cooperation is at the heart of the Netherlands development of its capabilities and in their future operational employment.

The Netherlands employs a “Golden Triangle” concept in its capability development. This approach encourages regular and institutionalised collaboration between the government, knowledge institutions and industry. UDT is a platform for the exchange of information and ideas between those working in the development and exploitation of undersea defence technology; it is the Underwater Golden Triangle.


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