Friday, 25 July 2014

European Human Powered Submarine Races

European Human Powered Submarine Races

 by Clare Anderson

The return of the biennial European International Submarine Races to the UK earlier this
month saw the skills and talents of the next generation of engineers were put to the test. James Fisher Defence (JFD) was pleased to team up with industry partners to sponsor the week-long event in which teams of students from universities across the world raced their human powered submarines around an underwater slalom course in Europe’s biggest undercover freshwater tank. Teams from ten universities across 3 continents took up this unique engineering challenge to design, build and pilot their own submarine designs, using only human pedal power for propulsion.

Each team demonstrated outstanding engineering skills and innovation, in particular Omer 9 from École de Technologies Supérieure Montreal, Canada, who picked up the top competition prize for the second time. Omer 9 also scooped the James Fisher Defence Award for Agility and Endurance, completing not only the fastest course lap time over two laps without picking up a single fault, but also the greatest speed between two timed gates, achieving a speed of 7.1 knots. The judges of the agility award pay particular attention to manoeuvrability as well as minimising the impact of pilot fatigue on the operation of the submarine vehicle, which the Omer 9 team were able to demonstrate effectively with their submersible.

Ben Sharples, Director, James Fisher Defence, said: ‘This unique challenge provides the perfect opportunity for the industry to engage with students from across the world who posses the skills, experience and enthusiasm essential to the development of advanced sub-sea engineering and operations. With a firm focus on design, innovation and safety, the event allows active engagement between the industry today and the engineers of tomorrow...Of course, it’s a also great fun!’

The competitors and visitors also had the chance to attend various master classes and a graduate fair, hosted by leading industry experts, including Senior Mechanical Design Engineer Craig Freshwater and Naval Architect Adam Jones from JFD. Craig provided a valuable insight into the world of swimmer delivery vehicle design and how engineers and designers at JFD came to bring the SEAL Pod range of SDVs, some of the most advanced surface and subsurface craft in the world, from design through to reality. This allowed many of the students to draw parallels between the vehicles they had designed and those already in operation with navies across the world.

For images of the event and also a video showing a medley of the week’s action, click here:

Note: We hope all of these these contenders will consider entering the first NAVAL FORCES Essay contest, to be announced in October at Euronaval 2014 in Paris with winners being judged by and announced at MAST Asia 2015 in Yokohama.  Truly an international programme from the world's leading Naval Defence and Maritime Security journal, NAVAL FORCES.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Better Late than Never - Part 2

MANILA - Thursday, 17 July 2014 - This blog title paraphrases an observation made by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus (circa 500 BC) of the Persian system of mounted postal carriers. However, this steadfast character can be said of the organisers of, exhibitors at, and delegates participating in Asian Defence, Security & Crisis Management Exhibition & Conference (ADAS) 2014, Manila's first exhibiting conference of its kind in nearly two decades (organised by APAC EXPO under the expert leadership of industry veterans Roger and Andrew Marriott).

ADAS 2014 opened today despite Typhoon Glenda's attempts to skupper the event, which did not dampen anyone's mood or diminish their resolve. Rather, the national emergency in the form of this violent storm and the joint civil and military resilient response underscored what this event was all about: 
The mighty spirit of the Philippine people and their ability (with the right equipment and technology) to overcome any challenge together.

The event was opened by the Secretary of Defence Voltaire Gazmin, who said this event provides "...additional vibrancy to the Philippine economy as the organizers have created genuine opportunities for our domestic companies to establish business linkages with participating international exhibitors (sic)." 

Secretary Gazmin was followed by an invocation of prayer by the top military chaplain, reminding one of the strong Christian heritage here. This was followed by Andrew Marriott, managing director of  ASIA PAC EXPO the organisers of ADAS, who framed up very succinctly and clearly why this event was taking place now and it's relevance to regional peace, stability and prosperity. Marriott cited the Philippines’ improved economic situation as among the reasons behind their decision to launch ADAS on top of the government’s commitment to pursue the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Act.

His remarks were followed by a spirited address from President Benigno Aquino III,  who - among other things - provided an impressive list of items the Philippines was buying this year as part of the budgeted Modernisation Programme.  

He praised the efforts and sacrifices made by the men and women of the Philippines' national services: the armed forces, emergency management and transportation agencies who - like the military - perform a range of duties to help those in distress and need, especially natural disasters.   

The AFP Modernization Act is in the first five-year phase of activity and significant progress has already been made since its enactment with the government’s recent acquisition of various aircraft, naval vessels, helicopters, and armored vehicles.

To paraphrase the official line of the Philippine government, the ADAS organizers have "brought in" products, solutions and services for evaluation to determine if they meet the specific requirements of the concerned government agencies represented at ADAS - ironically, all are involved in some way with the recent response to the typhoon's damage.  one of the main facts brought to light by ADAS is that the Philippine government is a potential growth market for international defense, security, and crisis management industries and products...indigenous and foreign.

The ADAS exhibition hosts 130 companies from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, South Korea, Israel, Turkey, Brazil, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Malaysia, and Belarus, among others from the region. It is a healthy mix of companies serving the forces of air, cyber, land and sea warfare spectrum.
Overview: Main Themes
If we ignore the conference programme for just a moment, which I suggest we do for only a moment, then we can review the exhibitors' offerings and see exactly what is important to the Philippine armed forces. ADAS has effectively matched requirement to exhibitor.

Helicopters & Fixed Wing (turbo-prop)
Courtesy US State Dept.
The work horse of the Philippine defence forces is still the helicopter. They have at least 25 old Huey's that could be modernised to a "Huey Two" level extending the life of this airframe at least another 10 years for around 10 per cent of the cost of replacing them with new helicopters. Sources say that the Philippine government has about 80 more moth-balled Huey's of which about 60 per cent could be rehabilitated and modernised.  This would be a suitable option to fulfill the AFP's requirements. Otherwise, Agusta-Westland, Bell - which just sold a number of 412s to the AFP, Eurocopter - which has more than 50 per cent of the civil market there - and Sikorsky are all ready to sell their latest multi-mission rotor airframes and technologies to the AFP...this includes Beechcraft for a fixed wing air frame that resembles a WWII Mustang or Spitfire, but very, very effective. Their main competitor at ADAS is a Czech aerospace company, LET, which has been manufacturing a high standard of fixed-wing prop aircraft for nearly 100 years. The post-Soviet era in the Czech Republic has given way to a renaissance for their defence and security industry - one that increasingly is a significant rival to that of Poland.  A company out of Oklahoma City, ARINC Aerospace, works closely with governments thought North America and Asia for jet transport (eg KC 110) and helicopter (eg Mi17) integration, maintenance and upgrades.

Jet Fighter Aircraft 
Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) had a magnificent display of its Golden Eagle. Saab is hoping that it's successes in Thailand with the Gripen will yield another satisfied Asian customer in the Philippines, where US fighter craft - and any other defence products - dominate the AFP "supply cupboard." Saab's Bangkok-based Market Area Asia office feels very confident about the Gripen's suitability for the Philippine armed forces that they recently hired a former Gripen pilot to work in "BKK" and introduce the airframes virtues to this neighbour of satisfied Gripen Customer Thailand.

Counter Terror / CBRN
According to Gwynn Winfield, CBRNe author and pundit, their CBRN focus will remain a priority in the Philippines as long as it has insurgent threats throughout the vast archipelago nation. This certainly explains the interest of Avon, Bruker Daltonics, AVEC, Oritest, and even water purification company Maep, s.r.o.  in the AFP.     

Emergent bio solutions, which recently acquired RSD Decon, is finding the Asian market particularly profitable. They committed to having a full-time, very experienced team of professionals based in Manila for some time, led by former US DEA-agent Larry Sproat with a speciality in dangerous materials in the Asia-PAC region. He is finding that the "decon" paradigm that focuses on powders is changing, and decision makers and practitioners are accepting their solution as the decon paradigm with the greatest efficacy and cost effectiveness.

Beyond the CBRN, PPE includes body armour. MKU displayed its line of helmets, etc. while Australia's BondStrong demonstrated how they are able to bond ballistic protection fibres together, forming a better level of protection. DuPont, innovators and manufacturers of Kevlar is reasserting itself in the Philipines with a massive stand, as everyone from AuTx-Kaminskvolokno, DSM Dynema, Teijin, and others bring lighter and stronger materials to this market...but, DuPont is the only "yarn" manufacturer to invest in ADAS attendance. Who do you think will win this race? 

Soldier & Land Systems
Radios, boots, garments, knives, SCBA, decontamination, firearms, BMS, etc. There were a fair number of APPROVED or OFFICIAL resellers as well as OEMs for soldier equipment. Canada's NewCon Optik, which uses Russian Gen III night vision tubes, joined Flir and others to show what is available for the AFP. Greece's Theon Sensors - named after Theon of Alexandria, the third century Greek astronomer and philosopher - was showcasing their own line of night vision devices which range from clip-ons to binoculars with 4x and 6x magnification. They have supplied more than a dozen military and police organisations in addition to the Greek Army. The also have a well-established Theon Far East Pte. Ltd. office based in Singapore. 

Kia motors (below), known in the West more for providing suburban housewives with affordable SUVs, showed its mettle (and metal) as a serious player in the defence transportation arena.

Although CZ and Remington's rifles and pistols and Trijicon's sights were delayed in customs, MKEK from Turkey and David's Stone (IMI's exclusive partner in the Philippines) where able to show off their fire power. As of the first day, Trijicon's and Remington did a stellar job talking attendees and delegates through their offering.  CZ made an excellent workshop presentation on their "new" P-09 pistol, a step up from the earlier successful P-07(which has been upgraded to a "Mark II" version, putting it almost on par with the P-09). They also had a queue the length of the exposition hall of punters lining up to receive their own personally autographed poster with the latest "Guardian Angel" pin-up girl. Take the public's mind off of what they want and refocus it on something else they want, while feeling they've seen what they originally came to see. Genius! (...really!)

Saab and Dynamit Nobel were showcasing their various anti-tank / structure weapons at their respective stands.  Saab also brought a large complement of other wares including the 9LV, GBAD radar, and ceramic pellet-based armour (a result of their purchase of Protaurius in early 2013). Oddly, Shenzhen-based Hytera Communications (mostly radios for "blue light" services) has a Manila-based office. Giant Rohde & Schwarz (Philippine office in Manila's Makati City) was certain to make sure that the AFP Modernisation Programme does not forget about them. UK-based Easat Antennas is keen to make a substantial footprint in the Philippines, which it feels has the best model to help make their AFP's communications more reliable.

Radar, Sensors & EW
Belarus's Radar Design Bureau made an appearance to show-off their full range of sea and land based radar solutions. Noting Saab's radars from above, one could also find Sea Giraffe on North Sea Boats famous sleek, stealth X3K trimaran.

North Sea Boats was joined by Hyundai Heavy Industry, Navantia and Kestral, who would be "Happy as Larry" to sell a few boats to the Philippines, which - in the case of Navantia - includes submarines.

Finally, there is PROPMECH. From installing Caterpillar propulsion systems to designing crafts and refurbishing second-hand boats, this Philippines-based company offers a complete range of services for every kind of vessel. Their literature states that they
"...make certain every ship is reliable and ready for the challenges it'll face." 
This means that they can rebuild Caterpillar engines while extending the lifetime of a vessel's power train.

All-in-all it has been an intense first day that successfully combined the first two days of this significant conference and exposition. 

Heard on the floor: "It's too bad about the weather; but, today - what, with all the Military Brass visiting us - has really made coming all this way worthwhile!"

...I have to agree.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Better Late than Never - Part 1

ADAS 2014: Day of the Typhoon

MANILA - Wednesday, 16 July 2014 - This should be the opening day of ADAS 2014, Manila's first Asian Defence, Security & Crisis Management Exhibition and Conference, organised by APAC EXPO (under the expert leadership of industry veterans Roger and Andrew Marriott).

Ironically, the first day of this conference & expo was suspended due to a Typhoon (from the Chinese word "tai fun" predictably meaning "Great wind").

Nevertheless, the second day will have extended hours to deliver information and value to delegates and participants, which should put everything back on-track. This event has the support from the top down in the Philippine government, including the heads of the three branches of the armed forces and coast guard, including the heads of civil defence and office for transportation security -  all of whom have much to attend to in the lead up to, during and after the typhoon battering Manila today.  

This high level of support from these critically important branches of is reflected in the conference Programme.  There is a symposium each dedicated to the following "practice areas" of the Philippine Government: Air Power, Army, Navy, Civil Defence, and Transportation Security.

According to managing director Andrew Marriott, "ADAS 2014 is the first focused Defence and Security exhibition and conference to be held in the Philippines for over a decade."

Again, ironically, Marriott adds that: "The introduction of Disaster Management in ADAS 2014 will now be a permanent feature in the ongoing ADAS Series and is both timely and appropriate in view of the appalling damage to life and property following Typhoon Hai Yan." (...earlier this year.)

Marriott concludes that: "With the 15-year Revised Modernisation Programme now in place, it is no coincidence that the Philippine market is now one of the fastest growing defence, security, and disaster relief markets in the region."

Major sponsors include the following:
Platinum Sponsor - KAI Korean Areo Space Industries LTd.
Airbus Defence & Space, Bell Helicopter, 
Saab and Beechcraft - co-sponsors of the Air Power Symposium
IAI - sole sponsor of the Navy Symposium
Digital Globe -sponsor of the Civil Defence Symposium

ADAS has set aside time and space for an Exhibitor Workshops Programme, which allows companies to present worthwhile case studies, expert insights and even launch new products with an explanation of the challenges, requirements and new product / system being offered to the end-user.

Companies planning launches include: 

  • Hale Hamilton (valves)
  • Dynamit Nobel (shoulder launched weapons)
  • Thermoteknix Systems (fused night vision)
  • Avon Protection (SCBA equipment and rebreather systems)
  • Air Bus Defence (geo-intelligence)
  • CZ (Introducing the ground-breaking P-09 pistol to Asia)
  • ECA Robotics (Alister 9 AUV)

From Finland's ABLOY (leading developer & manufacturer of high security locks to Zbrojovka Brno (CZ group-owned making the automatic and semi-automatic BRNO RIFLES), there is A full A-to-Z list of leading defence and security companies, relevant for every branch of the government services attending ADAS. 

Friday, 11 July 2014

UK Shipping Chamber Attacks Pirate Attacks

According to a press release Issued by the  UK Chamber of Shipping on 10 July 2014, almost all of the UK’s annual £6,3 bn of trade with the region is put at risk by being moved through the Gulf of Guinea, including 12 per cent of the UK’s oil.

“In the past decade, 45 seafarers have been killed, and 459 seafarers have been held hostage,” said Guy Platten, Chief Executive of the UK Chamber of Shipping. “This report sets out for the first time the economic threats of the regions’ lack of maritime security.

“Most people are aware of pirate activity off Somalia, but lawlessness in the Gulf of Guinea is a major threat to our seafarers, the UK’s energy and trade security, and to the economic development of the region.

“Nigeria and other states in the region have known for 30 years that piracy was a problem, but too little has been done and enough is enough.”

The Facts:

  • 45 seafarers have been killed in the past decade
  •  459 seafarers have been held hostage over the same period
  • A minimum of one attack per week on a ship operating in the region
  • It is believed two thirds of incidents go  unreported
  •  60 per cent of attacks took place in Nigerian territorial waters last year
  • There is increased violence within attacks
  • Circa 12 per cent of the UK’s crude oil is imported from Nigeria, (by 2050 the region provide 25% of the world’s oil output)
  • Nigerian port host circa 5000 vessels each year
  • Nigerian studies show 300,000 barrels of oil are stolen each day
According to the Chamber, the lack of security in the region costs Nigeria £7,2bn annually in oil theft alone. This demonstrates how criminal activity is severely hampering the region’s potential for prosperity and improved living conditions for the bulk of the nation's population living below OECD and UN poverty lines.

The report raises the issue: "The UK Government must do more to build maritime governance in the region?" But, should it?  Shouldn't we ask: "Why doesn't Nigeria, which by the way will soon be providing one quarter of the world's oil, reinvest its profits into a better security infrastructure instead of investing their profits into foreign accounts and development?"

Neighbouring states acknowledge the economic and social developmental benefits of improved maritime security, resulting in increased positive economic activity from measures they have taken to secure capital and goods moving in, out and around their ports and territorial waters. 

"Their maritime security has improved by investing in additional security patrols, and are now seen as more secure economies for maritime trade,” assured Platten 

The report argues this means using UK-based expertise to help train local law enforcement judicial services and making sure criminals are brought to justice. But, remember, this is the same UK that still has sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, military and police cover ups in the region and a lack of control over Orange Order Free Masons marching through unwelcoming neighbourhoods. 

And this is the same Nigeria that lacks the financial, military and political will to adequately improve its national defences and security; if they did, then they could rescue and repatriate over 100 school girls kidnapped months ago.

Perhaps shipping companies should stop waiting for governments to "do something" (which they can ill-afford) and perhaps arm their own maritime escorts.  It worked in the "old days."

The views expressed here are that of the author's and not that of NAVAL FORCES or the Mönch Publishing Group.


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Seventh International Maritime Defence Show (IMDS-2015)

NAVAL FORCES Joins the Seventh International Maritime Defence Show (IMDS-2015) 

IMDS 2015 will be held under the Russian Federation Government's order № 1221-r from 1-5 July 2013 in St. Petersburg from 1 till 5 July 2015.

The Monch Publishing Group, in particular NAVAL FORCES magazine, is very proud to be affiliated once again with Morskoy Salon JSC for  IMDS-2015 . This was officially announced recently, at the BALT-MILITARY EXPO in Gdansk.
(Left to Right: Mr Alexander Koloskov Deputy Director General Morskoy Salon JSC 

The Show will be held from 1 through 5 July 2015 in St. Petersburg Russia at the Lenexpo Exhibition Complex.  Near the exhibition pavilions there are quays of the marine passenger terminal that gives IMDS the possibility to organize single exhibition space, including IMDS exposition in the halls and ships and boats at the berths. This traditional format distinguishes IMDS in St. Petersburg from other leading exhibitions. 

For the first time since participating in this auspicious event, NAVAL FORCES magazine and its parent - the Mönch Publishing Group, NAVAL FORCES will be the OFFICIAL International Media Partner.

NAVAL FORCES Editor-in-Chief, Dr Stefan Nitschke invites you to join him and Co-Publisher Stephen Elliott esq and requests that you visit the NAVAL FORCES blog for updates and compelling insights about this event and the naval defence and maritime security community it serves.

Undeniably, St Petersburg is considered to be the world’s most exquisite port city; deeming it the perfect place to celebrate Russia’s and her partners from around the world’s maritime excellence during IMDS 2015

As the world’s leading Naval Defence and Maritime Security Journal, NAVAL FORCES looks forward to participating in IMDS 2015 as the OFFICIAL INTERNATIONAL MEDIA PARTNER.

NAVAL FORCES will dedicate significant editorial content to this event, its exhibitors and speakers before, during and after IMDS 2015 . NAVAL FORCES will also provide special advantages for exhibitors and visitors / delegates seeking new ways to make the most of their time and investment at IMDS 2015.  

Contact Co-Publisher Stephen Elliott Esq. – or, your own Mönch marketing representative – to explore the many options available exclusively to IMDS 2015 participants.

Friday, 4 July 2014

What is NAVAL FORCES Magazine?

What is NAVAL FORCES Magazine?

Is it the world's most trusted, most prolific, most successful, most professional Naval Defence and Maritime Security journal? Yes.
OK, what else? It is a community.
How so?
Nigh on 35 years, our editors, publishers and journalists have been fixtures, friends and sometimes famous personalities at Naval Defence and Maritime Security conferences, expositions, and symposium worldwide. These people reach out, encounter and experience developments, events, innovations and sometimes revolutions in what has become a community of serious defence and security professionals.
NAVAL FORCES magazine's Editor-in-Chief Dr Stefan Nitschke (on left in photo, left) and I discussed this after MAST Eurasia, and UDT Liverpool to some extent and realized that we are responsible for continuing this and taking it further than ever before as an ally, advocate and communicator for the global military-industrial complex.  We need to help the armed forces connect with scientists, innovators, and institutions ensure the freedoms, prosperity and security many of us in "The western world" enjoy and hope to share with the rest of the world.

During DIMDEX IN Qatar, we hosted a dinner inviting key people from about a dozen companies to listen to their concerns and needs in the GCC market.  We will do this again at Euronaval 2014, and perhaps MAST Asia in Yokohama and / or IMDS in St Petersburg.

At UDT in Liverpool, this mission of blending a personal "human spirit" into what we do was underscored when we were invited to a 60th birthday party for Atlas UK's  CTO John Wickenden. (photo, right). Many might know him for his great many contributions to maritime safety, such as with MCM and de-mining. Even those at other companies and research recognise him for his expertise. There are many more professionals like John - and YOU - with whom we hope to meet or continue to engage in lively discussions around the world.

Each conference or exposition we are involved with, we insist on being a meaningful media partner - often the main media partner as we are the only news and analysis organisation willing to fully  "project" the "power" of NAVAL FORCES behind a gathering of the best of the best in the naval dance and maritime  security community...and what that is, and what we foster, is a community.  We'd like to call it the "NAVAL FORCES Community," bringing together concepts, ideas, innovations, people, progress and - almost ironically - peace from conflict.

Dr Nitschke (photo, above) and I invite you to join us in embracing our editorial and even commercial mission as colleagues, partners, friends as the years progress into the fourth decade of NAVAL FORCES. 

Be aware, we are progressive and are actively seeking out you, your ideas, your aspirations. We invite you to engage with us and be a part of the NAVAL FORCES global community.

Using the often-heard phrase of Dr Nitschke when he meets anyone around the world:
- Stephen Elliott esq.
Co-Publisher, NAVAL FORCES

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

MAST Asia 2015 Conference Themes Set - Japan's First-Ever Defence Symposium and Exhibit

The overarching theme for MAST  Asia 2015 will be “Security at Sea in a Dynamic World,” acknowledging that this MAST in Asia will be Japan’s first-ever international naval defence and maritime security conference and exhibition, as well as a defence-oriented event.

The recent removal of its weapons/arms export and development trade restrictions; and, increasing demand for cooperation among its neighbouring nations (and the West!), has already raised expectations for a large number of presentations and participants from Japan as well as around the globe.  

Technical and strategic presentations to leading security / defence technologists and operators from Asia / RoW on highly-innovative solutions in both the conference and exhibition.  This event has support from all corners of the Japanese Defence Establishment, including the prestigious Defense Technology Foundation.

Embracing Japan’s renown spirit of advancing and pioneering a myriad of technologies, this - the thirteenth edition of MAST - will add a fourth domain to its current Undersea, Surface, and Air & Space disciplines...the new Cyberspace/Cross-Cutting Technologies domain will encourage more engineers to join the ranks of MAST presenters, for instance those specialising in: Autonomy; Web-based Applications and Technologies; Nano-Technologies; and, even Wear-able Technologies.

The Official Call for Papers will be announced next month; but, enthusiastic authors can upload their abstract(s) directly to the MAST Technical Conference Committee now.

The MAST Asia 2015 Conference and Exposition will be held at the 
Pacifico Convention Plaza Yokohama
 1-1-1, Minato Mirai
 Nishi-ku,  Yokohama
Tel: +81-45-221-2155