Deep Blue Forum, a new two-day conference on Canada’s underwater domain got underway today, virtually. Originally planned as an in-person event, Deep Blue was moved to a virtual format due to the current restrictions in place and to ensure the safety of event participants. By partnering with vFairs, Vanguard is able to bring participants rich interactive tools, such as audio, video, text chat, and one-on-one online networking in an immersive environment to keep the conversation going and to hear from speakers in a virtual setting.

Cmdre Christopher Robinson, Director General Naval Force Development, Royal Canadian Navy, set the scene for the day with the opening keynote. He provided an update on the underwater domain, the need to use technologies to combat the emerging threats, and where they are looking to go in the future. 

On the first panel of Day 1 – Submarine Technology & Automation for the Arctic – Capt(N) Jean Stéphane Ouellet, Commander, Canadian Submarine Force moderated a discussion with panelists Adam Gray, Senior Program Manager, IR&D, Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems;

Dr. Ian Church, Associate Professor, Ocean Mapping Group, University of New Brunswick; and Eric Jackson, President, Cellula Robotics. This is a complex area that provided much to think about as it was illustrated during the discussion, that there is so much that we don’t know, in particular, about hydrography and mapping in the Arctic. But there is flexibility as it relates to technologies like sonar and UUVs operating in the Arctic. 

The second panel of the day was on Air Independent Power, with a look at the future of non-nuclear propulsion to increase endurance and efficiencies in generating and storing power. Robert Dunlop, Business Development Manager, BAE Systems Canada, was the moderator of this panel that included Stephan Meunier, Marketing Director, Naval Group; Dr. Roger Berg, Head of Technology Management, SAAB Kockums; and Philipp Schön, Head of Product Sales Submarines, Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems GmbH. The group discussed the different types of power that are being used in submarines and how to drive innovations for better performance in the underwater domain. 

Eric Fournier, Director General, Innovation, Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS), provided an update on the program and how it supports innovation by providing creative thinkers with the structure and support to encourage solutions to some of Canada’s toughest defence and security challenges. He talked about the developments of solutions for maritime challenges and what’s next. 

The final presentation of Day 1 was by Anthony March, Vice President Engineering Service, Babcock Canada. He talked about looking beyond the traditional third-line maintenance in the Canadian Submarine Enterprise and how it’s about working together with both the government and industry to understand the technical capabilities needed and what can be explored for the future. 

Day 2 of Deep Blue Forum will take place tomorrow – October 30. If you have registered, please use your email to access the event at It will be opened at 7:00 AM EST for networking and visiting virtual booths. The opening keynote will kick off at 9:05 AM with RAdm Peter D Briggs (Ret’d), Royal Australian Navy talking about Submarine Acquisition – An Australian Perspective.

Below are some tweets from today’s event.