Underwater mine countermeasure for the future: ECA Group is set to develop autonomous underwater vehicles as part of the French-UK MMCM programme
ECA Group is a partner in the MMCM programme, which OCCAR awarded to Thalès (in partnership with BAE Systems) on 27 March 2015. Aimed at the British and French navies, this programme will develop a prototype autonomous system for the detection and neutralisation of sea mines and underwater improvised explosive devices.The programme comprises three stages, two of which are optional.
In the first stage, which represents several million euros and should be completed in 2015 and 2016, ECA Group will design the Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) and its Launch and Recovery System (LARS). ECA Group has filed several patents for the latter system, which falls under its areas of expertise.
The systems will be manufactured and delivered during the following stages of the programme, which represent more than €10 million. They will enable the French and British navies to perform operational assessments.
ECA Group's participation in this programme confirms its leading position - worldwide and especially in Europe, over a period spanning more than 30 years in the unmanned neutralisation of underwater mines.
Well known for its mine identification and neutralisation vehicles, which can operate at depths of more than 300 metres and in areas with very strong currents, ECA Group has extended its offer over the last ten years. It now boasts the most comprehensive range of underwater and surface drones required to launch an unmanned mine countermeasure fighting force.
ECA Group's range of mine countermeasure AUVs includes the A9-M, A18-M and A27-M. This comprehensive and complementary range of vehicles carrying the various sensors required to detect, identify and locate mines can operate in shallow water and in the deep sea. The autonomous underwater vehicle designed for the MMCM programme will be derived from the A27-M, the largest AUV in the range. It will include the most recent SAMDIS sonar from Thalès. The LARS will enable this AUV to be launched in the most challenging sea conditions from non-specialised vessels.