Press unlock: World-category autonomous minehunters to protect Royal Navy

speakme at the Franco-British Council Defence conference, the Defence Secretary introduced a £184 million funding in the joint Maritime Mine Counter Measure (MMCM) programme, so one can create new methods to combat sea mines and preserve ships and personnel faraway from hazard.

The contract will support 215 jobs across the uk at Thales websites in Somerset and Plymouth, as well as within the wider provide chain, including L3 Harris in Portsmouth, Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire and Alba Ultrasound in Glasgow.

This funding follows the large £sixteen.5 billion agreement in the Spending evaluate for Defence over 4 years so one can modernise the defense force, reinvigorate the shipbuilding industry and convey jobs and prosperity to every part of the uk.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace mentioned:

This £184 million contract presents a huge soar ahead for the Royal Navy’s self sustaining capabilities in the detection and defeat of sea mines. as the military puts modernisation at the coronary heart of its future approach, these programs will offer protection to vital shipping lanes, commercial traffic and our brave personnel from these deadly devices.

The programme also underpins a deep and ever-strengthening relationship with France and marks the tenth anniversary of the Lancaster residence treaties between our two international locations.

UK-France defence cooperation

The Defence Secretary become talking at this year’s digital Franco-British Council Defence conference, which also featured French defence minister Florence Parly, Chief of the Defence staff everyday Sir Nick Carter and his French counterpart Ched d’État-principal des Armées François Lecointre.

This month marks the tenth anniversary of the historical Lancaster apartment treaties on defence, protection and nuclear cooperation between the united kingdom and France. The historical dedication has established a long-term partnership between both nations and contains the thoroughly operational mixed Joint Expeditionary drive (CJEF) – a force capable of swiftly deploy over 10,000 personnel in keeping with a crisis.

each international locations are deployed world wide collectively in places such because the center East combating Daesh and in Estonia as a part of NATO’s better forward Presence. In Mali, three RAF Chinooks and a hundred UK personnel are deployed in a non-fight function in guide of French counter-extremist operations.

Royal Navy minehunting

The Royal Navy is world chief in mine countermeasures, having been regularly called upon to take care of mines and other ancient ordnance, left over from the second World conflict, across the united kingdom. In contemporary times, the united kingdom has been concerned in minehunting operations the world over, together with the Gulf and off Libya.

Following a a success demonstration part and trials completed in October 2020, the brand new contract will produce three sets of minehunting device, which include:

self sufficient vessel – a ship managed and operated from a “mother ship/base.” Towed sonar – a sonar which is towed/dragged behind the vessel to locate ordnance. Mine neutralisation device – a remotely operated underwater vehicle which is used once the mine is discovered to neutralise the device and stop its detonation.

When used collectively, these three facets are usual as the simple gadget. This subsequent-generation mine searching potential is designed to potentially replace widespread crewed mine looking vessels, such because the Royal Navy’s Hunt and Sandown type ships, with independent systems.

First Sea Lord Admiral Tony Radakin observed:

i’m extremely excited through the advantage of the long run minehunting skill. this will enable us to bring minehunting extra without difficulty, more efficiently and greater safely, and to integrate much more closely with our French counterparts during this important area.

the united kingdom factor of the MMCM programme was negotiated by means of Defence machine and assist (DE&S), the procurement arm of the uk Ministry of Defence.

DE&S CEO Sir Simon Bollom mentioned:

This ground-breaking expertise brings with it a step-alternate in ability for the Royal Navy which is a daring step into the digital and self reliant world. I’m particularly proud of DE&S and the Royal Navy team who have worked tirelessly with our French colleagues to deliver on this contract.

Alex Cresswell, CEO of Thales in the UK, talked about:

technologies similar to autonomy and AI are transforming societies and battle at an exponential expense. This contract represents the subsequent generation for Anglo-French minehunting, providing an international main ability in order to preserve our armed forces safe and create and at ease a must-have jobs across the united kingdom and our supply chain. We appear forward to providing the next stage in this unique hi-tech programme.

the primary machine units are because of be delivered in late 2022. it’ll begin operational evaluation ahead of getting into provider with the Royal Navy.