• Optimising the Constants by Maximising the Variables

ByTeam ADU

Bremen, Germany. 31 May 2017. The husky hum of the projector whirrs to the beat of eyelashes staring in highbrow concerto at the panel table and chairs, flanked by stern pillars of expression, two podiums, bathed in a permeating dim white light, enough to shadow the audience, themselves a mere puddle of deformed darkness, from their own view. Men and women flood the hall in solemn stupor at the prospect of being witness to the making of individual safety as well as national security. It has long since stopped being about the equipment though, or about the services, or even about the sales. It is now about diversity and tailored needs, it is about imagination being the root of science, and about a projection of future innovation. Today, it has become about ‘Optimising the Constants by Maximising the Variables’.

Undersea Defence Technology 2017, conference and exhibition, officially opened its doors to visitors today, May 30th, at the vast Messe Bremen & ÖVB-Arena in Bremen, Germany. There’s a hustle and bustle at the entrance, indicative of their 30th year anniversary promoting the advancement of sub-marine technology. A warm coffee and quick registration later, and the crowd moves towards Theatre 1, the location of the first conference, the Plenary, where all are gathered for a panel between experts and professionals in the wide range of fields in undersea defence.

The introduction was conducted by English Rear Admiral Simon Williams OBE, Chairman, who approached the audience by subtly striking at the heart of the theme. Through heart-warming allusion and reference to personal idols, the audience was slowly unfurled into the full scope of the Plenary: to deal with issues that plague the defence industry – such as the lack of product diversification or creative input – and to stretch one’s mind in order to use the imagination to fuel the rational.

This was soon followed by German Rear Admiral (UH) Thorsten Kähler’s keynote address, who proceded to elaborate as to why sub-aquatic solutions, whether related to the public or military sectors, are still direly required. Other than the fact that the deeps remain one of the most dangerous environments to humanity, the submarine itself has evolved from being a simple exploratory or combat machine to being used in a large variety of domains, including filling the position of a contemporary master of espionage; silent, stealthy, and submerged, it has the capability to tread into enemy land unnoticed.

The last section of the plenary consisted of a Q&A, which rapidly turned into a fascinating discussion between the veterans of the industry, the virtuosos of engineering, architecture, technology and the military, on the perception of International organisations on the European-dominated weapons market, and thus on the products that are crafted to suit European standards yet do not meet global needs or demands. Past cases, arising situations, and plausible solutions were all brought up in an environment that brought partners, rivals and competitors together for the betterment of all.