Three world-class autonomous minesweeping systems will detect and destroy sea mines on dangerous naval operations for the Royal Navy, thanks to a £25m contract announced today.

The system will allow personnel to neutralise mines from a remote and safe distance.

Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said:

“This next-generation autonomous technology will be instrumental to our goal of protecting the safety and security of our personnel, while also reaffirming the UK’s unwavering commitment to improve the safety of international waters.”

The Ministry of Defence say that each SWEEP system comprises an Autonomous Surface Vessel that tows a sensor unit behind it.

“The unit uses magnetic, acoustic and electric technology to identify and neutralise different types of sea mines. The system is controlled by a Portable Command Centre which can be based at sea or on land. The technology, which has been developed in the UK, can be rapidly deployed by land, sea and air and will offer increased protection to military and commercial vessels.”

DE&S CEO Sir Simon Bollom said:

“This cutting-edge SWEEP technology follows hot on the heels of the contract negotiated for equally innovative autonomous minehunters and provides the Royal Navy with the increased capability they need to deal with modern mine threats.”

The first system will be delivered in late 2022 and will enter operational evaluation before service at a later date.


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I’m sure they’re wonderful. But they don’t look it do they? More like a cheap commercial workboat with an ugly mast stuck on it.


Will these have the stability to work in the north Atlantic in January? Genuine question… I’m sure they’ll be great in the gulf.


That was my first thought so I would suggest they would be specialist coastal water units. Back in the 50’s and 60’s the RN operated the Ham Class inshore minesweeper of 120 tons (they built 93 of them!). I would see these new systems fulfilling a similar role with the added flexibility of being small enough to be shipped around the global by sea or, more importantly, by air. This could be quite a useful capability. To meet the need for deep water clearance obviously something different would be needed. However, my understanding is that minelaying is usually undertaken in… Read more »


Not sure about operations in the North Atlantic, but North Sea, or Pentland Firth, tried that on Helmsdale and Archer out of Dundee. Still remember first time going out on Helmsdale three days of my head over the side feeding the fish. Or maybe it was just the smell from the galley. Just been checking the ATLAS site, it seems that these boats can operate in sea state 4 conditions which is moderate with waves upto 2.5 m with a 13knt wind. However, if the mast can be made to fold then they could be an asset to the T31/T32… Read more »


Hi Ron,

Good last paragraph I fully endorse as a former defence analyst I believe that keeping it respectful and as far as possible accurate is important for the reputation of the site and all of us who post.

We all make mistakes from time to time, but correcting someone with respect and in a helpful rather than sarcastic manner will only improve the quality of the site.

Cheers CR


Archers in a sea way are not good. Took on out of Liverpool Uni and was fine in really bad weather… one out of Brighton well I like you spent a day feeding the fish until we got into Weymouth where I went home for the night. ( I lived there at the time)


Hi Gunbuster, hope you had a good new year, as for the Archers, I enjoyed the flying bridge, and they never really caused to much trouble unless I was stupid and got the crew Indian food and some beers for the overnight stays. Bad idea. But the Rivers, even on a calm mirror pond I would upchuck. How much wood could a wood chucker chuck comes to mind every time I think about that damned boat. I’m bloody sure that if I put her on wet grass she would rock and roll. Ah the good days, never mind that she… Read more »

Levi Goldsteinberg

Great stuff. Presumably a proof of concept for a wider order. The ageing MCMVs were starting to become a concern re: replacement, thats a relief


The hulls on UK MCMVs probably have at least another 30+ years left in them. The GRP is sound and lasts for a ridiculous amount of time. Equipment inside the vessel is constantly upgraded. New engines , command systems and sonars in Hunts, upgraded sonars, command systems and DG engines in Sandowns.

If the UK disposes of any vessels they will be sold on to other operators to use. Plenty of nations use ex RN Sandowns and Hunts and they will have decades of life left in them.


Unmanned sweep boats are not going to go out into the Atlantic proper. Deep water sweeping is not a practical solution. For deep water you need to use mine hunting. Hence the current Sandown MCMV boats have a VDS minehunting sonar that they lower out of the vessel down to a deep operating depth and physically look for mine targets. Combined Influence sweeping is ideal and is quick for shallower areas. However there are disadvantages to sweeping over hunting Combined Influence Sweeping is quick , hunting is slow Hunting is accurate and precise, Sweeping does not guarantee finding/detonating every target… Read more »


Great knowledge Gunbuster….thanks for sharing…….Ian


I was at one point Base maintainer and Tag Workshop CPO for the Combined Influence Sweep System that was fitted to Hunts when I was working Small Ships in Pompie. That mag sweep part of the system system had around 4000 Amps modulated and pulsed into various waveforms going through a loop of buoyant cables towed by the Hunt. Added to that was a Towed Acoustic Generator which weighed in a a couple of tons . It was an electrically driven titanium blockrd hydraulic engine the generated AF and LF sound out in the 100s of Db range again at… Read more »


Stop bluffing Harold, you have already previously stated you have never served in any capacity in the military, in any branch of service. Oh dear the troll is forgetting his previous stories, which begs the question, there are a number of Harolds operating this avatar, and with the different writing style you have just verified to all you are a troll account. Sad, how sad.


3 replies, your angry old man, thats a bit of a sign you have been caught out. Hilarious. And you have already posted many times you have nerver served. You realy must remeber the chuff you trolls post.


No you didn’t serve, you’ve already stated that in quite a few posts, and no you didn’t know a boomer from an SSN, and is that abuse the best you can do? None of your chuff adds up date wise from what you have claimed previously. In the US they call it stolen glory, over here we call you a walt! And yet again, dear oh dear oh….dear.


Oh dear…..gotcha.


Oh dear, oh dear and yet again oh dear…..quite sad.


3 replies, 2 quite similar but each with an attempt to remedy spelling errors, the third with minimal errors but an extra few lines. How many Harolds are running this troll, poss bot account.


And you claim to have operated on a type14, which was an ASW asset, yet you mis -identified on another story a nuclear powered attack sub with being a ballistic missile boomer. Oh dear, oh dear and yet again, oh dear…….


Dear oh dear, and oh dear.

Daniele Mandelli



Mate I know I should leave him alone, but he has no friends! Its hard to ignore such blatent chuff, stupidty and blind ignorance and refusal to acknowledge his previous statements. Even his stated age and timeframes just dont add up…..He is now not only a troll mate, he is now a Walt.


Sad Walt.

Daniele Mandelli

He has lost whenever he posts unless that post is sensible, free of loathing of the UK, and actually makes pertinent points on the subject matter rather than dismissing reality.

If a 5th columnist stood on a street corner broadcasting blatant propaganda through their microphone they would incite a response. Here is no different. I know most thankfully ignore but if one must reply then go ahead and enjoy yourself!


Hehe, I’ve enjoyed this little squabble. Thanks guys, it has brightened up my evening! One of you does sound a little bit hysterical though…


Thank you I do my best to prevent him from eating crayons.

Meirion X

You are a lying rUSSian B**tard, troll H!

john melling

Brilliant news to hear and I hope we make further orders