NATO’s perceptions of a growing submarine threat have emphasised the importance of the Alliance’s anti-submarine warfare training exercises. In 2018, Dynamic Manta and Dynamic Mongoose both provided important opportunities for NATO forces to enhance their ASW warfighting skills, and to test their ability to deliver the rapid and integrated response necessary to detect, deter and respond to future threats to security within the Alliance’s AOR.
These training exercises, whilst critical to readiness, do not offer a front-row seat for defence industry. Whilst operational details are withheld by necessity, there is nonetheless much value in simulating a joint response to the un-authorised intrusion of a non-NATO submarine within the territorial waters of a NATO member. This interactive session, hosted by the conference chairman and run as a war game, will provide an excellent opportunity to simulate such a response, as a means to identify and to resolve the limitations that exist in current approaches to ASW training, interoperability and capability.
It’s 2030. An unmanned platform operating on the surface of territorial waters belonging to a NATO member has picked up an acoustic signature via its onboard active sonar. The detection is relayed to an acoustic operator working from a vessel stationed in nearby waters. Whilst able to determine that the active return is from a submarine, the operator is unable to determine the class of that submarine or its origin. As a joint ASW task force comprising airborne and surface assets is scrambled to respond, a multi-static sensor detects additional submarine activity less than five nautical miles from the first. With the submarines both operating well inside territorial waters and with a NATO task group including high-value assets operating nearby, the priority is to classify the returns and determine a suitable response.
1300 Arrival, registration and coffee
1400 Opening remarks from the session moderator: introducing the scenario
1415 Session 1: The Scenario Deploying ASW forces in acoustically challenging and littoral environments
· What would NATO’s current response to unidentified and un-authorised submarine activity look like?
· What would the limitations – tactical and technical - be to that response? How would the joint ASW task force integrate and operate?
· What does submarine deterrence look like for the future?
1515 Coffee and Networking
1545 Session 2: Embedding innovation in the ASW enterprise
· How can systems integration for the multi-domain ASW force be improved?
· How can we overcome acoustically challenging and increasingly contested maritime theatres of operation?
· What will the role of autonomous systems be in supporting future ASW?
1630 Session 3: Beyond technology and toward process
· Keeping training in-line with capability
· Ensuring the synthetic training model evolves to suit the demands of the contemporary threat context
1715 Session conclusions and roundup
1715 Session close
Why should you attend this workshop?
· Understand existing limitations to the interoperability of NATO’s ASW forces, and help to propose technical solutions that can support a truly joint approach
· Identify innovative ways to approach acoustically challenging environments and improve the accuracy of submarine detection and classification
· Examine the impact of autonomy on the ASW enterprise and on the design of next-generation submarine forces
· Ensure that ASW training matches the capability as we move towards next-generation doctrine, platforms and systems
Broader Questions for the Session
· How does NATO view the future submarine threat, and what impact is that assessment having on current approaches to ASW training and force development?
· Does industry have the solutions necessary to meet the considerable demands of acoustically challenging environments?
· Is the training model keeping pace with the capability, or do we need to look again at how we prepare the next-generation ASW operator?
· Assuming an increasing tempo of operations, how can we make most efficient use of the ASW assets that are available?