Atlas Elektronik UK has delivered an autonomous minesweeper system to Royal Navy, capable to clear sea lanes of mines.
The system has been built by Atlas Elektronik, under a £13 million contract with the Ministry of Defence which has sustained around 20 jobs and created 15 new jobs with the company.
The system’s technology has the ability to defeat the digital sea mines which can detect and target military ships passing overhead. The sweeper system, which features a ‘sense and avoid’ capability, could also work together with other similar autonomous systems for the common goal of making waters safer.
The project also aims to demonstrate the viability of an unmanned system that can safely and successfully clear mines and which is designed to be operated from a land or ship-based control station and can be deployed from a suitable ship or port.
Over the last four months, the system has been put through its paces by Atlas Elektronik and Defence Equipment and Support team members and the Royal Navy’s Maritime Autonomous Systems Trials Team (MASTT).
The system was tested against a number of performance requirements, for example, how well it cleared mines, whether the autonomous system could successfully avoid obstacles and the overall system performance.
Brigadier Jim Morris Royal Marines – assistant chief of the Naval Staff in Maritime Capability, and senior responsible officer for the Mine Counter Measures and Hydrographic Capability (MHC) programme said: “This autonomous sweep system represents a fundamental step in the Navy’s transition to autonomous offboard systems to counter the threat posed to international shipping by the sea mine, we look forward to commencing demonstration of the associated minehunting system in 2019.”
The system will now undergo a series of more detailed trials with the Royal Navy.