The SMi Group is pleased to announce the second annual Unmanned Maritime Systems Technology conference which will be held in London on the 16th and 17th May 2018.

At this year's Unmanned Maritime Systems there will once again be a range of networking opportunites:

  • Meet and greet service providers and military end users that make up the attendees and exhibitors
  • Network over coffee and lunch with vendors, autonomous platform programme managers and senior naval officers to discuss key topics within the field of unmanned systems
  • Diseminate information over three and a half hours of networking during the conference days

As navies across the globe respond to ever more complex and contested operating environments the drive to develop and deliver unmanned and autonomous systems has become more critical than ever. Bringing together international operators and solution providers from a plethora of defence agencies, UMS 2018 promises to provide a valuable forum for anyone looking to enhance their unmanned capability. This will be achieved through panel discussion and briefings based around individual platform types as well as operational experiences and technological insights. We strive to provide effective learning experiences and knowledge by providing expertly chosen speakers recommended from in depth research and consultation.



Reasons to attend include:

  • Hear from senior naval officials on the latest advancements in unmanned technology
  • Learn how UMS are changing the nature of warfare above and below the water
  • Gain access to key military stakeholders all seeking to develop their unmanned capabilities
  • Discuss topics focused around key platforms and capabilities from UUVs for Mine Counter Measures to USVs for Anti-Surface Warfare
  • Informal networking time to talk to peers and colleagues also shaping and influencing Unmanned Maritime System programmes today

Unmanned Maritime System Programme Managers
Maritime Capability Directors
Maritime Systems Trial and Evaluation Team Leaders
Platform Acquisition Managers
Underwater Warfare Commanders
Surface Warfare Commanders
Littoral Combat Experts
Unmanned System Engineers
UMS Marketing and Sales Managers
Autonomous System Designers

Aeronautics; Asv; Atlas Elektronik UK; ATLAS ELEKTRONIK UK Ltd; BAE Systems Surface Ships Ltd; Boeing Defence UK Ltd; Canadian High Commission; CASG; CJOS COE; Defence & Security Organisation; Dept of Defence; Dstl; Dstl Portsdown West; Egyptian Defence Office; Embassy of Brazil; ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH; FFI; Fincantieri; FMV - F÷rsvarets Materielverk; FN Herstal; German Navy; Global Data – Ship Technology Global magazine; High Commission of Sri Lanka; Hydroid Inc; IHS Janes; Italian Navy; L3 Technologies; Leonardo; Liquid Robotics; Maritime Capabilities; Montpellier; National Oceanography Centre; NATO Combined Joint Ops from the Sea Centre of Excellence (NATO CJOS COE); NATO MARCOM; Nick Lambert Associates Ltd; NOAA: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration; NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey; Office of Naval Research Global; ONR Global; Polish Navy; Rafael; Rolls-Royce; Royal Navy; Royal Navy UK; Saab Ab; Salamanca Group; Saudi Aramco; SEA Ltd; Seebyte; Shephard Media; Textron Systems; Thales; Thales UK; TNO; UAE GHQ; UMS Skeldar AG; United States Embassy; University of Southampton; US Navy;

Conference programme

8:30 Registration & Coffee

9:00 Chairman's Opening Remarks

Rear Admiral (Ret'd) Anthony Rix

Rear Admiral (Ret'd) Anthony Rix, Former Flag Officer Sea Training , Royal Navy

9:10 Unmanned Warrior: Driving Technological Innovation to Deliver the Next Generation of Autonomous Capability

Rear Admiral Keith Blount OBE FRAeS

Rear Admiral Keith Blount OBE FRAeS, Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff Aviation, Amphibious Capability and Carriers, Royal Navy


·          Lessons learnt from exercise Unmanned Warrior and how to apply them to the operational challenges of the future
·          Integrating autonomous assets into the wider flotilla to protect capital assets such as the Queen Elizabeth II class aircraft carrier
·          How to develop innovation within the Royal Navy – building a collaborative approach with defence research agencies and industry
·          Exploiting autonomous ISR capabilities to maximise naval domain awareness
·          Building on the doctrinal successes of Unmanned Warrior within the Information Warrior exercises

9:50 Effectively Exploiting Unmanned and Autonomous Systems within EUNAVFOR Somalia

Rear Admiral Alfonso Perez de Nanclares

Rear Admiral Alfonso Perez de Nanclares, Deputy Operation Commander , European Union Naval Force Somalia


·          An overview of the operating environment for Operation Atalanta and the importance of comprehensive maritime domain awareness
·          Effectively utilising unmanned systems to keep sailors out of harm’s way
·          Building situational awareness through air-based unmanned platforms within anti-piracy efforts
·          Future UAS priorities for end-users within EUNAVFOR
·          Generating more effective ISR through long range autonomous systems

10:30 Morning Coffee

11:00 Utilising New Technologies for Anti-Submarine Warfare & CUAS Within Littoral Waters


·          Update on the progress of the next generation light weight torpedo (LWT) system
·          Exploiting new weapon systems to counter underwater autonomous systems & submarines within littoral waters and areas with high traffic intensity
·          Integrating a modular design to new systems to enable COTS (commercial off the shelf) equipment
·          Thoughts on future undersea weapon technology development
Lieutenant (N) Magnus Lind

Lieutenant (N) Magnus Lind, Project Manager New Lightweight Torpedo System (NLT/TS47) , FMV

Mr Anders Svensson

Mr Anders Svensson, Product Manager Torpedo Systems, FMV

11:40 Session Reserved for Leonardo

12:20 Building a System of Systems: Integrating Unmanned Surface Vehicles into Command and Control Networks

Dr Phillip Smith

Dr Phillip Smith, Platform Systems Division , Dstl


·          Developing a common architecture to integrate unmanned platforms into the combat systems of a warship
·          Utilising OACS (Open Architecture Combat System) within autonomous platform prototypes to connect vehicles to the wider network
·          Balancing mission control parameters set at the C2 (command and control) level and advanced autonomy for collision avoidance
·          Work within the Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed (MAST) to improve avoidance algorithms for unmanned surface vehicles
·          Developing a system of systems – linking underwater, aerial and surface unmanned platforms and integrating effective C2

13:00 Networking Lunch

14:00 Future Mine Countermeasure (MCM) Capability Requirements for the German Navy

Commander Stefan Rings

Commander Stefan Rings, SME Naval Mine Warfare, German Navy


·          Lessons learnt from the joint Allied Munitions Detection Underwater (ALMOND) project and integrating them into operational doctrine
·          Roadmap 2025: developing MCM capabilities that include a collaborative approach between shore based, unmanned surface vessels (USV’s), autonomous underwater vessels (AUV’s) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s)
·          Integrating hull-mounted sonars and network enabled capabilities into the autonomous systems portfolio
·          Keeping human personnel out of harm’s way through the greater strategic utilisation of unmanned platforms

14:40 Session Space Reserved for Sponsor

15:20 Delivering the Capability Necessary for Future Operational Requirements Through Unmanned Systems

Commander Yvo Jaenen

Commander Yvo Jaenen, Deputy Commander MCM and Operational Commander North Sea Unmanned Communications Trials, Belgian Navy


·          An analysis of the operating requirements of the Belgian Navy going forward
·          Protecting front line operators: considering whether conventional operational risk assessments are suitable for an ‘unmanned world’
·          An update on the cooperation between the Royal Netherlands Navy and the Belgian Navy in developing Mine Counter Measure (MCM) capability
·          Developing a cohesive policy for manned and unmanned teaming
·          Overcoming adoption challenges by integrating effective autonomy within platforms

16:00 Afternoon Tea

16:30 Panel Discussion: Deploying Unmanned Systems in Naval Missions: Feedback on Improved Effeciency and Operational Support

  • Examples of deployed systems and on the ground feedback on performance
  • Integrating data and Command and Control (C2) systems to unmanned platforms
  • Challenges of wider adoption - opposition to automation
  • The future of autonomous systems: exploring AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning
  • Rear Admiral (Ret'd) Anthony Rix

    Rear Admiral (Ret'd) Anthony Rix, Former Flag Officer Sea Training , Royal Navy

    Commander Jamie  Sayer

    Commander Jamie Sayer, Type Airworthiness Authority for Small UAS, Defence Equipment and Support

    Lieutenant (N) Magnus Lind

    Lieutenant (N) Magnus Lind, Project Manager New Lightweight Torpedo System (NLT/TS47) , FMV

    Dr Andrea Munafo

    Dr Andrea Munafo, Senior Robotic Systems and Software Engineer, National Oceanography Centre

    17:10 Generating Effective Mine Countermeasure Capability Through Exploitation of Unmanned Systems


    ·          Developing mine countermeasure capability in littoral, port and open ocean environments 
    ·          Towed sonar’s to ROV’s (remotely operated vehicles) – developing the optimal combination of unmanned systems within multi-platform missions 
    ·          Deployment in context: comparing the advantages of operating unmanned systems from the shore or a mothership vessel
    ·          Successes of exercise Dynamic Move 2017 in building interoperability and mine countermeasure planning and operational competence  
    ·          Working with industry to ensure that future MCM (mine countermeasure) platforms are designed to meet operational requirements
    Commander Jochen Beyer

    Commander Jochen Beyer, Concept Development, NATO MCM Centre of Excellence

    Lieutenant Commander Ralph Klinker

    Lieutenant Commander Ralph Klinker, Concept Development, NATO MCM Centre of Excellence

    17:50 Chairman’s Closing Remarks and Close of Day One

    Rear Admiral (Ret'd) Anthony Rix

    Rear Admiral (Ret'd) Anthony Rix, Former Flag Officer Sea Training , Royal Navy

    8:30 Registration & Coffee

    9:00 Chairman's Opening Remarks

    Rear Admiral (Ret'd) Anthony Rix

    Rear Admiral (Ret'd) Anthony Rix, Former Flag Officer Sea Training , Royal Navy

    9:10 The UK Approach to Hydrography and Oceanography Survey

    Rear Admiral Tim Lowe

    Rear Admiral Tim Lowe, National Hydrographer, United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, Royal Navy


    ·          Mapping shallow and littoral waters effectively to maximise safety of ship movements within British waters
    ·          Optimising operational effectiveness of undersea hydrography by utilising unmanned systems
    ·          Changing survey capabilities through effective manned-unmanned teaming
    ·          Developing unmanned systems for long distance operations within crowded seas 
    ·          Trends for future autonomous platform use within the UK Hydrographic Office

    9:50 Improving Naval Information Exploitation Capabilities Through Effective Deployment of Autonomous Unmanned Systems

    Captain Kevin Quarderer

    Captain Kevin Quarderer, Commanding Officer, ONR Global


    ·          An overview of the strategic versatility of autonomous systems and the breadth of operating domains they can work within
    ·          Protecting naval resources through adept deployment of autonomous systems within challenging environments
    ·          Exploiting data more effectively through autonomous processing and dissemination of information
    ·          Looking forward: increasing UAS effectiveness by ‘swarming’ targets through network collaboration

    10:30 Morning Coffee

    11:00 Exploiting Mini-Drone Technology to Support Maritime Operations

    Commander Jamie  Sayer

    Commander Jamie Sayer, Type Airworthiness Authority for Small UAS, Defence Equipment and Support


    ·          An overview of the unmanned air systems team and how UAS (unmanned aerial systems) technology has developed
    ·          Developing UAS safety and airworthiness through effective classification and oversight
    ·          Considering the pillars of airworthiness and how they relate to maritime operations
    ·          Building a joint approach to unmanned systems across all MoD divisions

    11:40 Session Space Reserved for Sponsor

    12:20 From Research to Reality: Effectively Integrating Unmanned and Autonomous Systems to Support Maritime Operations

    Mr Reid McAllister

    Mr Reid McAllister, Director, Integrate Maritime Mobility Systems at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, US Navy


    ·          Working with the Naval Undersea Warfare Centre to develop highly manoeuvrable propulsion systems for unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV’s)
    ·          Developing unconventional manoeuvre capability to enable recovery operations and perform tight tactical movement arcs
    ·          Utilising common naval archecture to maximise interoperability within joint operations
    ·          Building manned-unmanned teaming strengths through effective collaboration with end users and industry

    13:00 Networking Lunch

    14:00 A Research & Development Perspective on Pioneering Autonomous Underwater Capabilities in the UK

    Dr Andrea Munafo

    Dr Andrea Munafo, Senior Robotic Systems and Software Engineer, National Oceanography Centre


    ·          Current progress in the development of the Autosub AUV: integrating pressure balance Lithium batteries for deep operations
    ·          Managing navigation, collision avoidance and homing systems within a cluttered and complex operating environment
    ·          Artic to littoral waters: considering the variety of operating domains for unmanned systems and how this impacts design principals
    ·          Maximising terrain aided navigation for long range UUV operations
    ·          Future research and development priorities for autonomous systems

    14:40 Session Space Reserved for Sponsor

    15:20 Successes Developing Communication Capabilities Between Unmanned Underwater Vehicles

    Mr Joao Alves

    Mr Joao Alves, Senior Scientist / Project Leader, S&T Organization - Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation, NATO


    ·          Current progress developing autonomous systems for intelligent underwater unmanned vehicles and prototypes
    ·          Building standardised communication between all NATO underwater vehicles through JANUS
    ·          Improving communication relays between unmanned platforms to disseminate intelligence on topography and other data gathered
    ·          Exploiting big data algorithms to analyse information from autonomous vehicles
    ·          Cooperation with vendors to streamline future unmanned technology R&D

    16:00 Afternoon Tea

    16:30 Maturing the Development of Flying Robots – Challenges and Opportunities

    Dr Mirko Kovac

    Dr Mirko Kovac, Senior Lecturer - Faculty of Engineering, Department of Aeronautics, Imperial College


    ·          Past to present: considering the history of unmanned and autonomous asset development
    ·          Utilising flying robots to achieve what humans cannot
    o    The exploiting of robotic systems in support of search & rescue and disaster relief operations
    ·          Considering how to develop military drone applications for civilian use 
    ·          Balancing legislation and ethics – the path ahead for robotic platforms
    ·          Future research and development priorities

    17:10 Unmanned Naval Systems – a Key Enabling Technology for the Next Generation Maritime Capability

    Professor Mikis Tsimplis

    Professor Mikis Tsimplis, Professor of Maritime Law and Ocean Sciences, Southampton University


    ·          From hydrography to ISTAR: an overview of research and development within unmanned maritime systems
    ·          Adapting commercial research within unmanned systems for military functions
    ·          Challenges behind the wider adoption of unmanned maritime systems
    ·          Considering the policy and legal framework for autonomous and unmanned platforms
    ·          Future priorities to successful develop and exploit new technologies

    17:50 Chairman’s Closing Remarks and Close of Day Two

    Rear Admiral (Ret'd) Anthony Rix

    Rear Admiral (Ret'd) Anthony Rix, Former Flag Officer Sea Training , Royal Navy


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