ECA Group announces the delivery of several fully robotized underwater mine counter measure systems since the beginning of the year to two navies, Kazakhstan being one of them.
They are the first unmanned mine counter measure systems ever manufactured. These highly innovative systems are a breakthrough in the underwater mine counter measures market. For the first time, customers can deploy vehicles that will protect their crews keeping them outside the minefield. Until recently, the detection sonar was located on the minehunter, which required entering the threat area and being exposed to a risk of explosion. Thanks to a system entirely based on specialized robots, mines are now detected using high resolution sonar fitted either on autonomous underwater vehicles or on surface drones, while avoiding the mother ship to approach the mines.
Once the sonar has detected potential mines, inspection robot such as the SEASCAN MK2 is used to identify (confirm via video images that the object is indeed a mine) and disposal vehicle as the K-STER C to destroy the mine. These robots can be launched either from the mother ship or remotely deployed from the surface drone, thereby keeping the mother ship at a safer distance from the mines.
Keeping the vessel in a standoff position relaxes the design constraints of the ship. Thus the platform are less expensive than conventional minehunters while being faster to reach the operation area and more flexible to be involved in other missions such as maritime surveillance.
For several years, ECA Group has been developing a comprehensive range of underwater robots (A9, A18 and A27 type AUVs, K-STER type mine killers, and H300/800 type ROVs, etc.), in addition to USV INSPECTOR type surface drones. Used together on a single vessel, these different robots can perform full mine counter missions (as well as Hydrography, Surveillance, and Research and Assistance missions) through their sequential and/or simultaneous deployment.