The U.K.’s Royal Navy is harnessing a sophisticated autonomous robot minesweeper that can safely clear sea lanes of mines, the Royal Navy, Defence Minister Guto Bebb has announced.
After successfully completing four months of trials, the demonstrator system could go on to be used by the Royal Navy in the future to defeat the threat of modern digital mines.
The system has been designed and manufactured by the German marine electronics system maker's British subsidiary, Atlas Elektronik UK in Dorset, under a £13 million contract with UK's Ministry of Defence .
“This autonomous minesweeper takes us a step closer to taking our crews out of danger and allowing us to safely clear sea lanes of explosives, whether that’s supporting trade in global waters and around the British coastline, or protecting our ships and shores,” said U.K. Defence Minister Guto Bebb, in a statement. “Easily transported by road, sea and air, the high-tech design means a small team could put the system to use within hours of it arriving in theatre.”
According to the Royal Navy, the technology will destroy modern digital mines that can’t be tackled by existing mine hunting techniques. The sweeper system, which features a “sense and avoid” capability, could also work together with other similar autonomous systems for the common goal of making our waters safer, UK’s defence ministry noted.
The minesweeping system uses an Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) to pull “Coil Auxiliary Boats,” containing electrodes that emit magnetic, electric and acoustic signals to detonate mines. The system will now undergo a series of more detailed trials with the Royal Navy.