Thales to Provide Unmanned Mine Countermeasures System to France and United Kingdom
On behalf of the French Defence Procurement Agency and the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence Equipment and Support organisation, the Organization for Joint Armaments Cooperation (OCCAr) has awarded the Maritime Mine Counter Measures (MMCM) contract to Thales, in collaboration with BAE Systems and their partners in France and the United Kingdom. Initiated in 2012 under a cooperation agreement between the two countries, the MMCM program develops a prototype autonomous system for detection and neutralisation of sea mines and underwater improvised explosive devices.
The MMCM contract includes three stages, starting with a first phase for design. The next stages, which are subject to contract options, will manufacture and experiment the future mine countermeasures capabilities of both France (SLAM-F future mine countermeasures system) and the United Kingdom (MHC – Minecountermeasures and Hydrography Capability). The program will deliver an autonomous, remotely operated mine countermeasures solution. Thales will provide systems to both the French Navy and Royal Navy for two years of evaluation testing. Each system will comprise an unmanned surface vehicle equipped with an autonomous navigation system, an obstacle detection and avoidance sonar, a threat identification and neutralisation capability based on remotely operated vehicles, a towed synthetic aperture sonar and autonomous underwater vehicles.