New Innovation Advisory Board to boost NATO Maritime Unmanned Systems initiative

  • 11 May. 2020 -
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  • Last updated: 15 May. 2020 14:51

Participants of the NATO Maritime Unmanned Systems (MUS) initiative decided to create a new Innovation Advisory Board to address multiple challenges for developing unmanned solutions operating below, above and on the water. The NATO MUS initiative was originally launched in October 2018 by 13 Allied Defence Ministers with an ambitious agenda.

A sensor buoy is taken off the Portuguese Navy survey vessel NRP Dom Carlos I during exercise Recognized Environmental Picture, Maritime Unmanned Systems 19 (REP(MUS) 19). The exercise tests the ability of NATO Allies to integrate and share information gathered by unmanned systems in operational contexts. Portugal hosted the exercise, with participation from Belgium, Italy, Poland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the NATO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation.

The goal of NATO’s Maritime Unmanned Systems initiative is to accelerate the introduction of innovative unmanned solutions in the maritime domain to help maintain NATO’s technological edge” stressed NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment Skip Davis.

Members of the Innovation Advisory Board will bring together a diverse set of backgrounds and areas of expertise from the public and private sectors, adding an important element to the MUS initiative’s work. “The newly created MUS Innovation Advisory Board is a highly promising contribution to the NATO effort, meant to leverage fresh perspectives and creative thinking from outside the defence establishment.  This is a very exciting and practical example of NATO innovation in practice,” adds Skip Davis in his role as the NATO representative on the Innovation Advisory Board. The first meeting of the Innovation Advisory Board in early June will focus on how unmanned systems can most effectively be integrated across the entire spectrum of the maritime domain.

At the Brussels Summit in 2018 NATO leaders reaffirmed the strategic importance of the maritime domain and the criticality of investing in new unmanned capabilities. They can complement conventional ships and serve as a force multiplier to expand the area of coverage and number of tasks Allied navies can address. Equally they offer the ability to remove military personnel from dangerous tasks such as mine clearing.