The National Subsea Hub is Born

The National Subsea Hub is Born

Here are all the details

By Gabriele Carrer | 21/12/2022 – Difesa Archivi –

An allocation of 2 million euros per year is budgeted for a national centre of excellence for research and innovation in the subsea domain. It will be established in La Spezia under the supervision and control of the Navy.

The National Subsea Hub is about to be born, a concept launched in recent years by the General Secretariat of Defence and the National Directorate of Armaments to strengthen and assure research and innovation in the subsea domain, and to promote industrial and economic opportunities. On the other hand, oceans and seas “are the future of humanity and must be managed in a sustainable manner”, as Enrico Credendino, Chief of Staff of the Navy, declared at the Trans-Regional Seapower Symposium, the international maritime forum in Venice.

An amendment to the bill presented by the speakers provides for the allocation of 2 million euros per year starting from 2023 for this national centre of excellence that will be born in La Spezia under the supervision and control of the Navy, to be established and regulated by decree of the Minister of Defence, in cooperation with the Ministry of Enterprise, Made in Italy, the University and research.

The amendment provides for “Measures for the enhancement of the national subsea sector” with the updating of the Code of Military Order. “The Navy promotes activities for the enhancement of the potential and competitiveness of the national subsea sector, for the promotion of related research and technical-scientific activities, as well as for the enhancement of innovations and the related intellectual property”, it reads.

Today on Twitter Guido Crosetto, Minister of Defence, expressed “great satisfaction” with the creation of the hub.

On 30 September 2019, the General Secretariat of Defence had promoted a Seminar on the Capabilities of Subsea-sector Companies in the national field involving: the General Staff of the Navy, with an opening speech dedicated to the next generation of subsea systems: unmanned underwater vehicles of interest in an operational scope.

AIAD (Federation of Italian Companies for Aerospace, Defence and Security) was called to play a cohesive role for the respective industrial sector; small and medium enterprises and majors in the underwater sector; research institutions and universities involved in development projects of underwater systems, and also in the civil field in relation to dual potential. Representatives of Fincantieri, Saipem, DRASS, Cabi Cattaneo, Rina, Leonardo, Engineering, Gaymarine, Gem Elettronica, Carbon Dream and Fib-Faam were present, as well as the University of Florence and Centro Isme. The closing speech had been entrusted to the then Deputy Secretary General of Defence, Admiral Dario Giacomin, now the Italian military representative to NATO.

Then, a year ago, the Chamber’s Defence Commission approved a resolution aimed at establishing this hub to enhance, implement and promote the potential and competitiveness of our country in the underwater field. It is “fundamental”, Matteo Perego di Cremnago, Undersecretary of Defence (and member of that commission), explained to Messaggero in recent days, “to exploit the opportunities, with effects on the military level, in a context in which scenarios are emerging that present hybrid threats on the battlefield, competition for access to natural resources, exploitation of cyber domains, intensification of the presence in the subsea environment and use of underwater drones”.

As explained in recent weeks by lawyer Stefano Mele, partner and head of cybersecurity at Studio Gianni & Origoni, the conflict in Ukraine has brought out three elements: it has shown how interconnected and therefore vulnerable we are, underlined the importance of cooperation between government and large national companies, and raised awareness of the role of physical subsea infrastructure such as cables and pipelines.

“The underwater dimension has always been of great importance for our country due to the presence of fundamental civil infrastructures”, declared Undersecretary Perego di Cremnago. “This space also affects military underwater structures and strategic corridors linked to energy supply, connectivity, the presence of gas pipelines and subsea backbones for the transmission of data traffic”, he added, underlining the role of the Navy for the protection of communication routes and subsea infrastructures through submarines and other means, including unmanned assets, such as underwater drones, “which provide an important contribution to the high-tech and related sector industries”.

Suffice to say that just over a month ago, the collaboration between naval ship Alghero, a Minehunter Coastal unit specifically designed for the location and deactivation/destruction of naval mines, and the Antonio Meucci cable laying unit began under the protocol agreement signed in July between the Navy and Sparkle for the protection of subsea telecommunications cables.