Navy Royal Navy Receives Crewless Minehunter

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The Royal Navy's drive to increase their autonomous vessel capacity has taken another step forward with the arrival of a crewless minehunter.

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Part of the Royal Navy's huge drive to increase autonomous vessel technology, a new crewless minehunter is being tested.

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As the name suggests, the vehicle is designed to detect mine threats and reduce the risk to lives looking for them.

Co-produced by the Anglo-French Maritime Mine Counter Measures programme, it shows there can be some cross-border cooperation when it comes to Channel waters.

Demonstrators have been delivered to the Royal and French Navy, with the UK's model handed over in Plymouth for rigorous testing.

Speaking on the technological advancement, Commodore Steve Prest, the Royal Navy’s Deputy Director Acquisition said:

"It is exciting to see the first delivery to the Royal Navy from the Maritime Mine Counter Measures,"

"The future of mine warfare is here: the Royal Navy’s minehunting capability programme is real; it’s happening; it’s delivering."

"We have a lot to learn about this transformational approach to mine warfare, but there is much, much more to come."


The cutting edge system comprises of an uncrewed surface vessel, towed sonar and a portable operation centre.

Users of the demonstrator will be able to detect and neutralise mines from miles away, without interrupting busy sea lanes, while reducing risk to sailors.

The minehunter bolsters the Royal Navy's existing autonomous systems in Faslane, under Project Wilton.

With crewless vessels increasingly at the centre of operations, the ultimate goals is to replace crewed Sandown and Hunt-class ships with autonomous systems.

Keeping sailors away from the obvious potential dangers searching for mines can present.

The Navy said in a statement: "The demonstrator will undergo operational evaluation alongside other systems being delivered by the UK-France partnership"

Agreed by Whitehall in 2020, the deal is worth £184m of investment, which is supporting around 215 jobs in the UK.

 
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