Defense Unmanned: ECA Group unveils Its latest Mid-Size AUV A18-M for Underwater Mine Warfare

Defense Unmanned: ECA Group unveils Its latest Mid-Size AUV A18-M for Underwater Mine Warfare

On 16th February 2018,  ECA Group presented its latest mid-size AUV A18-M dedicated to mine counter measures (MCM). 

Published on Defense-Unmanned.com, march 2018.

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ECA Group organized on February the 16th, a live demonstration in Toulon area in order to show the amazing performances of this new underwater drone that is completing ECA Group's AUV  family.

A18-M is the newest generation of autonomous underwater vehicle developed by ECA Group for efficient mine detection and classification. it can operate in all water depths up to 300m and is specifically designed to perform in the close vicinity of the smartest mines without triggering them.
"This mid-size AUV is the top trade-off between, size, weight and long endurance. Its payload capacity makes it able to host high performance sonar, such as synthetic aperture sonar (SAS) providing unprecedented detection and classification performances," says Léonie Delacou, AUVs product manager at ECA Group.
 
More compact than previous generation of MCM AUV, A18-M benefits from a very high image quality  and easy deployment capabilities even from small naval platforms such as new generation of Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV)

According to environmental conditions AUV A18-M can also adapt its operating depthin order to avoid blind zones due to sound speed stratification.

The sonar image raw data can be to processed in real time thanks to the Advanced embedded processing chich allows to extract a list of contacts to be relayed back to the command center using an advanced communication network. For this task an USV or an UAV acting as gateway. These contacts can then be reviewed by operators onboard a mothership or onshore.

The AUV is able also to detect any kind of hazard such as improvised explosive devices (IED), pollutants, as well as to provide very accurate maps of the seabed thanks to the Synthetic Aperture Sonar (SAS) 
"The performance gain is due to the very high resolution in both range and cross-range offered by a wideband SAS, of the order of 2.5cm x 3cm constant up to the edges of the swath, which is unachievable, at any practical range, by any other type of sonar on any type of platform. With the only possible exception of buried or concealed mines, all known mines can be detected and high-quality classification cues can be extracted from the highlight and shadow structure." says Dr. Marc Pinto Program Director for Systems of Robots and sonar expert at ECA Group.