Source: Mer et Marine
As we announced on Tuesday, the French prototype of the surface drone produced as part of the Franco-British mine warfare program is now in Brest. Here are some first pictures, taken yesterday in the Breton port.
Project manager of the Maritime Mine Counter Measures (MMCM) program, aimed at renewing the means of mine warfare of the French Navy and the Royal Navy with autonomous craft, Thales developed this USV (Unmanned Surface Vehicle) with the company British ASV, specialized in surface drones and who built the machine on its Portchester site. Another prototype is produced at the same time to be tested with the Royal Navy from the new Thales site of Turnchapel Wharf.
Made in composite, the USV is 12 meters long. It will be used to deploy two systems: Thales T-SAS trailer sonar and Saab’s Multi-Shot Mine Neutralization System (MuMNS).
The set can be implemented from the ground or a mother boat.
MMCM also includes an underwater drone of the A27 family of the French group ECA, which will be operated independently.
After arriving at the Brittany point, where is the National Navy’s mines warfare staff, the USV is scheduled to begin testing in July. It will go through the Thales site in Brest, in order to set up the T-SAS deployment and towing system.
At the end of the sea trials campaign, the aim is to obtain a qualification of the system in 2019. In all, the French fleet plans to acquire eight drone systems, including four by the end of 2025. .
It should be noted that this Franco-British program, initiated in 2015 and notified in October 2016 by the Directorate General of Armament (DGA) and its British equivalent, initially involved BA Systems. But it was learned that the group finally withdrew, Thales retaining control of the program for both countries.
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