UK, France launch joint programme to develop autonomous mine warfare craft

Photo: UK MOD

The defence ministries of the UK and France have begun a joint programme to develop a new range of autonomous vessels optimised for mine countermeasures (MCM) missions.

Following a successful demonstration phase and trials completed in October 2020, the new contract will produce three sets of minehunting equipment, consisting of an autonomous vessel, a towed sonar, and a mine neutralisation system.

The project’s long-term objective is to design replacement autonomous platforms that will take over the MCM mission from conventional crewed vessels, such as the Royal Navy’s Hunt-class and Sandown-class ships.

The first equipment sets are due to be delivered in late 2022. It will commence operational evaluation prior to entering service with the Royal Navy.

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