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South East Asian subsea defence highlighted in UDT conference

 Undersea Defence Technology (UDT) 2011 took place at ExCeL London from 7 – 9 June
 South East scenario brings urgent needs to life, highlights the UDT 2011
The radically contrasting subsea defence needs of two nations were highlighted in the day two plenary capability session of the UDT conference, which was staged in ExCeL London on Wednesday 8th June.

Speaking in a scenario dedicated to South East Asia, David Nicholls of the Submarine Institute of Australia described the factors involved in his country's decision to replace the six Collins-class submarines currently used by the Royal Australian Navy with 12 new vessels by 2025. The project to build the submarines will be the largest, longest and most expensive defence acquisition ever undertaken by Australia and comes at a time when regional navies such as those of Indonesia, China and India are seeking to dramatically expand their submarine fleets, potentially altering the balance of naval power in the region. The identified needs include optimising crew conditions for prolonged blue water operations and making maximum use of automation.

Captain Luis Alba of the Embassy of Peru set out a markedly different scenario. While Peru, like Australia, has deep water considerations, the emerging threats are present in brown water areas. Self-propelled semi submersibles are recognised as a means of terrorist submarine attacks, but drug smugglers linked to the FARC guerrilla organisation are already using them to transport huge quantities of cocaine. Additionally, the construction of the Trans-Oceanic Highway linking the northern and southern ports of Peru with Brazilian ports will generate more maritime traffic in the area, bringing with it the threat of increased piracy.

Captain Alba stated that the ability to operate near the coast is very important and challenging, with difficulties including the shallowness of the waters and the high probability of the defence forces assets being exposed.

The use of scenarios as a plenary session is a new feature of UDT. Judging by the enthusiastic response of the large audience, the concept is a significant enhancement of the UDT agenda.

For more information on UDT Europe 2011 please visit their website.

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