BAE Systems Surface Ships has been awarded a $19,914,240 contract for Archerfish Destructor full rate production, maintenance and associated technical services.

According the contract notification, the work to be performed under this contract will include maintenance, spare and repair parts and evolution of the Archerfish Destructors.

“BAE Systems will manage the destructor configuration as well as integrate new or upgraded capability and assess the destructor configuration for application to in-service upgrade efforts.  This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative maximum value of this contract to $189,268,826.  Work will be performed in Portsmouth, United Kingdom (86 %); Marseille, France (8 %); and Rocket Center, West Virginia (6 %), and is expected to be complete by January 2023.  Fiscal 2019 weapons procurement (Navy) (62%); 2020 weapons procurement (Navy) (28%); 2020 operations and maintenance (Navy) (9%); and 2018 weapons procurement (Navy) (1%) funding in the amount of $19,914,240 will be obligated at the time of award, of which $1,793,874 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. 

This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1), this contract was awarded on a sole-source basis (only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements).  The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-20-C-6407).”

BAE describe Archer Fish an expendable mine neutraliser or single shot mine disposal system. The firm say that it is capable of overcoming the threat of modern mines which have “become increasingly resistant to traditional methods of mine disposal”.

“Archerfish can be launched and operated from surface ships, helicopters and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs). It is deployed from a launch ‘cradle’ with a fibre optic data link providing exacting command of the weapon. Through the use of high frequency sonar and low light video data, Archerfish will identify mine threats and then emit a shaped charge warhead, initiating a full order detonation of the target.

Archerfish’s credentials are impressive and it is currently undergoing qualification with the United States Navy as part of the MH60s helicopter Airborne Mine Neutralisation System (AMNS). It has been selected as the Common Neutraliser to ultimately equip all United States Navy Mine Countermeasure platforms.”

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Sounds fantastic. Little info elsewhere on this.


So is the whole thing the destructor or does it fire a destructor after examining & identifying the target mine?


Seems more like the latter from the article.

Mark L

It is an expendable so the whole thing is the destructor. The training version is reusable and is identical to the warshot except it does not have the shaped charge. BAE have a brochure on their website but it does not have much detail.


So by the look of it this is fundamentally a British Bae development rather than the US side of the company as most of it is produced in Portsmouth. Can’t be that simple mind surely, otherwise we would, I would expect, have heard more about it by now. So is it alternatively purely an American requirement but Bae has exploited technology from its British arm for the most part to create it? Just seems odd that the US would countenance a non competitive contract to a non American company if it were their requirement that generated the actual concept in… Read more »


BAe at this stage is more american than British, most of their income comes from that side of the channel.


Lol, are you going to swim that “Channel”?


Meant to type pond, brain fart i guess.

N R Martin

Just because most of there income is from the USA doesn’t make them more American than British….use your loaf.


Most of their shareholders are US entities, so yes it does. They are HO in the UK but pay more tax in the US and employ more there.


Indeed but the important point is that it’s American operations are, other than financial matters/performance, technologically cut off from its UK Masters to the point even top management here have limited access to the US operations and contracts. Therefore the questions I ask don’t seem to have an obvious answer as to how this particular technology development works between the two sides of the company especially as I have heard nothing of this being developed as a British platform. Those questions if answered would be rather interesting in regards to this ‘separation of powers’ and as to whether there is… Read more »


I suspect it comes down to who owns the IP and what the contract for development states about sharing.

If BAe owns the IP and/or the contract is silent/flexible, then they will no doubt share across their divisions.


Its not quite but its close, in 2019 45% was from the US military, 37% from the UK and other countries and 18% from civilian.

Rob Collinson

Nice to see that the Americans are buying British!!! Usually and much more recently a one way street with us buying from American companies. I know, done shoot me down by saying that BAE are a multinational company and they have significant clout in the American defence structure, but most of that is BAE ownership of smaller American firms. But this is a mostly British BAE subsidiary and the bang is a British pound not an American buck. And, to the tune of nearly $200M worth. A small drop in the US Defence Budget, but a very welcome US purchase… Read more »


Yes and a non competitive win at that which suggests this is pretty much a unique solution well ahead of any opposition perhaps on a world wide scale that it would be great to know more about.

Rob Collinson

Recent history would highlight that this has been a recent method used by the MoD to bypass costly (in both time, money and some oversight) appropriations, in recent times. E-7 Wedgetail would be a good example – not that I think it was a necessarily bad decision. AH-64E Apache upgrade would be another. This view is probably a simplistic view. For example, it has been clear for quite a few years that the E3 AWACS fleet was getting VERY long in the tooth, both in terms of the airframes and the advances in surveillance technology. Also that the value-cost equation… Read more »

Rob Collinson

It is probable that the RAF always had this purchase on the books, hence the ‘Seed-corn Programme’ the RAF had with the RAAF Wedgetail fleet.

Am I right? Or am I being rather cynical?


I am normally strongly support transparent competitive procurement in government expenditure to avoid the endless close on frauds that the government normally is involved in (ferry service for a company with no ships/experience for one etc etc). I do however think that defense procurement tenders seem to be a way of delaying any expenditure and generally end up with purchases of gear from suppliers that massively over promise and under deliver, generally because politics seems to get in the way of buying the best gear. Additionally once a public tender is launched, there will be an outcry for buying British… Read more »


With both the Apache E buy and the Wedgetail. It would have been very hard to put them into a competitive arena. If the Army and RAF wanted something off the shelf tomorrow rather than in 5 years time. Who would have been the competitors? This is especially relevant when the Apache E is really an upgrade from the Longbow D version. Therefore, everything is already in place to support it, i.e. maintenance, training, logistics etc. The E3D is on its last legs, it has been increasingly difficult to maintain the fleet and achieve the required availability. The RAF required… Read more »


Archerfish is a lot more compact than the current Sea Fox which is in use with the USN. Archerfish is a better design for helo carriage and launching from Unmanned vessels etc. Its also not German unlike the Atlas produced Sea Fox which may have some bearing on it especially with the US Administration being hacked off with the German NATO contributions. Archerfish will need integrating onto the LCS MCMV bolt on fit. I doubt it will appear on the remaining Avenger class although I wouldn’t count on it. The USN has paid off 3 Avenger vessels last week and… Read more »