At our Summit in Brussels in July, NATO leaders endorsed the implementation of NATO’s reinforced maritime posture. In support of this, on Wednesday (3 October 2018), Defence Ministers from thirteen NATO Allies signed a declaration of intent to cooperate on the introduction of Maritime Unmanned Systems.
This initiative will enable Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States to pool their resources, their talent and ingenuity to create better, more flexible and more interoperable unmanned, maritime vehicles and systems.
The use of unmanned systems is a potentially game changing leap forward in maritime technology. They will enable us to be significantly more effective in crucial areas such as detecting and clearing mines, and finding and tracking submarines. Working alongside traditional naval assets, these unmanned systems will increase both our situational awareness and our control of the seas.
NATO Allies have learned from the experience of introducing unmanned vehicles in the air domain. This has better equipped us to meet similar challenges that may arise in the maritime domain.
Commenting at the signing ceremony at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller said: “Today’s declaration will help Allies to put the latest technologies to work in the name of our safety and our security at sea.”
She added that “modern technology enables us to control vehicles remotely or for them to be fully autonomous.”
Through this initiative, Allies will also be able to exploit economies of scale to reduce costs, allowing increasing defence budgets to go even further.