14-17 September 2021, Excel London                       

Maritime Capability Conference

Maritime Capability Conference

Maritime Capability Conference

The Conference

The Maritime Capability Conference 2019 was delivered in partnership with the Royal Navy on DSEI Day Zero (Monday 9 September) at ExCeL London.

The conference focused on the following topics under the overarching theme of ‘Autonomous Operations in a Digital Navy’.

Digitisation - How to digitise the Royal Navy and ensure Information advantage is at the heart of the future naval approach

Autonomy - Exploring the opportunities to increase mass, reach and lethality of the Royal Navy

Machine Speed Warfare – Harnessing new, disruptive technologies to gain war-winning advantage

Manpower - Manning and training the future increasingly ‘autonomous navy’

View the Agenda


Maritime Capability Conference DSEI 2019

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Comment from The First Sea Lord

Comment from The First Sea Lord

“One of the defining features that has helped to keep the Royal Navy at the forefront of world navies across the generations is our strong pedigree in the field of innovation. At the turn of the last century, Admiral Jackie Fisher’s reforms led the way for world navies as we transitioned from sail to steam, started building ships with iron and steel instead of wood and became the first to do away with cannon lining the sides of our ships, instead introducing rifled guns in turrets, made accurate by the invention of the first fire control computers. Then, as the last century progressed, we became pioneers in the fields of submarine warfare and maritime aviation, capabilities that to this day remain beyond the reach of many rich and powerful nations. 

Now, as we approach the era of machine speed warfare, we’re leading the way again, accelerating the introduction of novel and disruptive technologies. Open architecture command systems, autonomous systems, artificial intelligence and machine learning are just some examples of the technology we are already looking to rapidly incorporate into the Fleet as we work our way towards a fully digitized Service. 

These complementary technological advances offer a glimpse of the exciting future that awaits us. But in the increasingly complex modern security climate, the Royal Navy must continue to identify and embrace new technologies, both in the new platforms that will make up our future Fleet and by future-proofing the platforms we already have in service, if we are to remain credible and maintain our competitive edge over any potential adversary we might face.

Key to achieving this goal is empowering our people, both within the Service and across the entire Defence Enterprise, to come up with new ideas and to take risks, even if that means failing sometimes during development, so that we never fail on operations. With this objective in mind, I am certain that this year’s DSEI will once again offer a great opportunity for Naval practitioners to meet with partners from industry, academia, and our counterparts from overseas, facilitating a sharing of our knowledge and experience which will be of mutual benefit to all of us.

For almost half a millennium the Royal Navy has stood resolute in defence of British Interests; by seizing the many significant opportunities for technological advance that will be showcased at DSEI, together we will ensure the Royal Navy remains ready to uphold our centuries-old role, whatever challenges the future might have in store.”

First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff


Conference Overview

Conference Overview

The world is changing, and the Royal Navy must mobilise, modernise and transform to stay ahead of emerging threats in order to set the conditions for future maritime success. This is not just about equipment; our thinking and how we conduct operations in a digital world must also change to keep pace, to adapt and to succeed. With the onset of the 4th industrial revolution, driven by rapid developments in Digital, Cyber and Autonomous capabilities, will this bring about a revolution in military affairs similar to the switch from battleships to aircraft carriers in the Royal Navy; or will Artificial Intelligence (AI) be the new Nelson - controlling the sea-battle in an entirely new way?

The Royal Navy must, and is, modernising the way it operates. Deterrence and warfighting remain at its heart, but new technologies and advances in others now enable us to increase our mass, reach and lethality. The Royal Navy will be operating in a persistent and forward deployed manner, but with the agility and flexibility to respond to escalating scenarios, harnessing the power of our Carrier or Littoral Strike Groups. We must introduce and embrace new technologies and be more innovative in how we use them.

General Information

General Information

The Maritime Capability Conference took place alongside the Aerospace Capability Conference and Land Capability Conference in the ICC at ExCeL London on Monday 9 September.

Registration: 0800 - 0900

Opening Plenary Keynote: 0900 - 0930

Conferences: 0945 - 1700

Closing Keynote Plenary: 1715 - 1745

Day Zero Drinks Reception: 1745 - 1900


  • DSEI showcases the best of British defence technology and innovation on the world stage. The UK Government looks forward to engaging with strategic partners, international delegations and pioneering defence companies on the global defence and security agenda.
    Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, Minister for Defence Procurement
    UK MOD
  • I very much look forward to continuing my personal support to DSEI. It provides an excellent opportunity to explore the development of airpower capability, through engagement with the widest range of industry and international partners.
    Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier KCB CBE DFC MA RAF Chief of the Air Staff
    Royal Air Force
  • I much look forward to DSEI. We intend to build on the very positive experience as we construct the partnerships we need to deal with the complexity of the future operating environment
    General Sir Nicholas Carter KCB CBE DSO ADC Gen Chief of the Defence Staff
    Ministry of Defence
  • Once again the Royal Navy is proud to be at the vanguard of DSEI 2019 and I look forward to what I know will be a hugely beneficial opportunity for us all to explore maritime warfare development with so many partners from industry and academia, and with our counterparts from overseas.
    Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB ADC, The First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff
    Royal Navy
  • DSEI is a highlight within the defence calendar, I use it to find out what the most recent developments are in every technological area affecting for defence. Without DSEI I fear this sort of interaction, information exchange and knowledge of developments across all domains would be lost. DSEI is an invaluable international biannual event .
    Rt Hon Dr Julian Lewis MP, Chairman, House of Commons Defence Select Committee
    UK Parliament
  • DSEI is a fantastic showcase for defence companies where international buyers, sellers, developers, thinkers, educators and the trainers can all get together. The UK defence industry is looking to recruit more engineers, scientists and developers into 200,000 jobs and up to 10,000 apprentices within UK defence companies. DSEI is an excellent tool to highlight the challenges the industry face as well as showcase its capabilities domestically and overseas.
    James Gray MP, House of Commons Defence Committee
    UK Parliament

Platinum Partners


  • General Dynamics

  • BAE Systems

International Partner


  • UAE Pavillion




Supported By

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  • Ministry of Defence

  • Department for International Trade