The SWEEP minesweeper system – designed to defeat the threat of underwater sea mines and safely clear sea lanes – has recently proven its capabilities during two weeks of cold-weather sea trials say DE&S.
“Developed by Atlas Electronic (AEUK) as part of a £13 million contract, the autonomous vessel can pull three coil auxiliary boats behind it, with each emitting magnetic, electric and acoustic signals that can detonate a variety of mines. SWEEP is a complimentary system used to deal with mines that cannot be dealt with using traditional mine-hunting tactics and, having already proven to be capable of defeating the threat of modern digital mines in normal weather conditions, cold-weather trials were recently conducted to ensure its capability.”
Barry Miller, MHC team leader, said:
“Minesweeping has a long history of use as part of a mixed mine countermeasures capability, complementing mine hunting in difficult environments. The UK is currently trialling a ‘toolbox’ of autonomous mine hunting and minesweeping modules hosted on unmanned surface vehicles. This successful trial of an innovative and autonomous minesweeping capability in extreme weathers means we are a step closer to delivering a truly transformational capability to the Royal Navy.”
These latest trials were used to test the system’s cold-weather performance and help to inform the UK’s future unmanned minesweeping capability.
“The system was tested against a number of performance requirements, for example magnetic, acoustic and electrical influence generation, how well it cleared mines in sub-zero temperatures, whether the autonomous system could successfully avoid other vessels and the overall system performance in colder conditions that could be experienced for military operations.”