November 20, 2020 – Canada and Romania and NATO partner Australia joined the Maritime Unmanned Systems Initiative on 20 November 2020. The Maritime Unmanned Systems Initiative aims to strengthen the ability of navies to operate in a multinational context above, on, and under the water, in an increasingly complex maritime domain.
Together with the National Armaments Directors of the other 14 countries that participate in the initiative, the National Armaments Directors of Canada, Romania and Australia signed a corresponding amendment to the Maritime Unmanned Systems Initiative Declaration of Intent in the margins of their virtual autumn meeting.
Australia’s accession to the Maritime Unmanned Systems Initiative marks the first time that a NATO partner across the globe joins one of NATO’s multinational High Visibility Projects (HVP).
As a multinational hub, the Maritime Unmanned Systems Initiative allows participants to work together on all aspects associated with introducing unmanned systems into their navies.
“New maritime unmanned systems technologies can be a game-changer in countering multiple threats in the maritime domain”, said the NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment Camille Grand. “Today the Maritime Unmanned Systems Initiative has the pleasure to welcome Canada, Romania and our partner Australia as new members. This shows that our multinational projects are also to the benefit of all Allies and our partners across the globe”.
The Maritime Unmanned Systems Initiative was launched by the Defence Ministers from thirteen Allies in October of 2018. Since then, the initiative has led to a range of activities, including operational experimentations, exchanges with the private sector on innovation and initial efforts to develop specific capabilities.
The introduction of maritime unmanned systems can create a fundamental shift in countering multiple threats in the maritime domain. For example, using Maritime Unmanned Vehicles can help effectively counter new submarines armed with more powerful weapons. They can also prevent military personnel from moving into risky situations in countering threats like sea mines.
The Maritime Unmanned Systems Initiative enables Allies and partners to proactively shape these developments, combining the economies of scale and ingenuity offered by agile multinational cooperation.
With the arrival of the three new participants, the Maritime Unmanned Systems Initiative now has 17 members: Canada, Romania and Australia, as well as Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.