Updated: 23-Jun-2003 NATO Press Releases


17 Oct. 2003

Symposium on Unmanned Systems for Naval Mine Countermeasures and Harbour Protection

Ostend, Belgium, 20-21 October 2003

On 20-21 October 2003, NATO's Naval Group 3 on Mines and Mine Countermeasures will be holding a Symposium on Unmanned Systems for Naval Mine Warfare and Harbour Protection. The symposium is an activity organised under the NATO Partnership for Peace Programme, and will be hosted by the Belgian/Netherlands École de Guerre des Mines (EGUERMIN) in Ostend, Belgium.

Sea mines laid along coasts or in harbours are an easy and inexpensive way for adversaries or terrorists to severely disrupt Allied and national naval operations, civil shipping and economic activity. Until now the main defence against sea mines has been provided by specially designed naval vessels that can find and clear the mines. But today small remotely-operated or self-controlled vehicles that do not require humans on board show great promise. Such vehicles can detect and then clear sea mines wherever they may be, including the protection of civil harbours against terrorist attack. The vehicles will also be effective in peacetime humanitarian operations for finding and clearing mines left over from past conflicts. And at the same time the human operators, the sailors, will be kept out of harm's way.

Unmanned vehicles for the clearance of sea mines already exist. So the purpose of the symposium is to bring together experts from navies, research centres, industry, academia and NATO military commands to present scientific, technical and operational papers on the best methods to exploit the latest technologies and ideas for vehicle design, capabilities and employment. An expected output of the symposium would be national and Alliance programmes to trial the most interesting ideas, so as to put them into naval operation as rapidly as possible.

Participation in the symposium is by Naval Group 3 invitation only. Further information can be obtained from the Head of the Naval Group 3 Symposium Organizing Committee: Dr. Douglas Todoroff, Office of Naval Research, Arlington, Virginia, USA. Telephone: 1 (703) 696 2485; Email: todorod@onr.navy.mil.

+32 (0)2 707 50 41
+32 (0)2 707 50 57
B-1110 Brussels/Bruxelles

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