The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has contracted Atlas Elektronik UK (AEUK) for the supply of new combined influence minesweeping systems as part of the Royal Navy’s (RN’s) Mine Countermeasures (MCM) and Hydrographic Capability (MHC) programme.
The new multi-influence sweep systems will be based on the MHC Sweep demonstrator handed over in 2018. This equipment has been evaluated by the RN’s Maritime Autonomous Systems Trials Team in a range of conditions. (Richard Scott/NAVYPIX)
Announced on 19 January, the GBP25 million (USD22.6 million) contract covers the supply of three autonomous sweep systems deployed using unmanned surface vessels (USVs). The order follows trials and evaluation of a demonstrator sweep system by the RN’s own Maritime Autonomous Systems Trials Team (MASTT).
An influence sweep is designed to generate a realistic influence in order to seduce a mine into incorrectly actuating in such a way that it causes no damage to its intended target. Sweeping is generally employed in difficult environments – such as inshore, offshore, and brackish estuary waters – where mine hunting is not possible.
AEUK was contracted by the MoD in March 2015 for the development and manufacture of a demonstrator system under the MHC Sweep programme. The technical solution developed by the company – based on the pedigree of the proprietary ARCIMS (Atlas Remote Capability Integrated Mission Suite) system – uses an 11 m USV configured with a power-generation module and towed magnetic, acoustic, and electrical influences (including up to three coil auxiliary boats).
The demonstrator package also features a containerised portable command centre, which can be based at sea or on land. This hosts the computer and communications equipment required to operate the sweep in either remote or autonomous modes.
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