The UK has invested £184 million in the Maritime Mine Counter Measures (MMCM) programme through a joint production contract with France, say DE&S.

The contract sees the UK purchase three sets of equipment. Each set comprises a portable operation centre, an autonomous surface vessel, towed sonar and a mine neutralisation system.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“This £184 million contract offers a huge leap forward for the Royal Navy’s autonomous capabilities in the detection and defeat of sea mines. As the Armed Forces puts modernisation at the heart of its future strategy, these systems will protect vital shipping lanes, commercial traffic and our brave personnel from these deadly devices.

The programme also underpins a deep and ever-strengthening relationship with France and marks the tenth anniversary of the Lancaster House treaties between our two nations.”

According to the Ministry of Defence, the investment will see around 215 jobs supported in the UK at Thales sites in Templecombe and Plymouth as well as in the wider supply chain including L3 Harris in Portsmouth, Stonehaven in Aberdeen and Alba Ultrasound in Glasgow.

The next-generation mine hunting capability is designed to replace conventional crewed mine hunting vessels, such as the Royal Navy’s Hunt and Sandown class ships, with autonomous systems.

The Ministry of Defence say that following a successful demonstration phase and trials completed in October 2020, the new contract will produce three sets of minehunting equipment, consisting of:

“Autonomous vessel – a boat controlled and operated from a mother ship/base. Towed sonar – a sonar which is towed/dragged behind the vessel to locate ordnance. Mine neutralisation system – a remotely operated underwater vehicle which is used once the mine is located to neutralise the device and prevent its detonation.

When used together, these three elements are known as the Primary System. This next-generation mine hunting capability is designed to potentially replace conventional crewed mine hunting vessels, such as the Royal Navy’s Hunt and Sandown class ships, with autonomous systems.”

First Sea Lord Admiral Tony Radakin said:

“I am enormously excited by the potential of the future minehunting capability. This will allow us to deliver minehunting more effectively, more efficiently and more safely, and to integrate even more closely with our French counterparts in this important area.”

DE&S CEO Sir Simon Bollom said:

“This ground-breaking technology brings with it a step-change in capability for the Royal Navy which is a bold step into the digital and autonomous world. I’m incredibly proud of DE&S and the Royal Navy team who have worked tirelessly with our French colleagues to deliver on this contract.”

Alex Cresswell, CEO of Thales in the UK, said:

“Technologies such as autonomy and AI are transforming societies and warfare at an exponential rate. This contract represents the next generation for Anglo-French minehunting, delivering a world leading capability that will keep our armed forces safe and create and secure vital jobs across the UK and our supply chain. We look forward to delivering the next stage in this exciting hi-tech programme.”

The first equipment sets are due to be delivered to the Royal Navy in late 2022.

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Captain P Wash

Not really though. They are still maned from dry land, and Women controlled too. not sure what to type here ref the woman thing, Is it Womand ?

Daniele Mandelli

Personned?!

Robert1

Crewed? K.I.S.S

Mark B

In theory these things could be controlled from virtually anywhere although a safe distance is probably all that is desirable. Manned to me infers there is someone on the vessel doing something useful.

Captain P Wash

I’d hate to think how many Duracell’s the remote control will take .

ChariotRider

This is good news if it is followed orders further sets, otherwise 3 sets seems rather limited unless they are very very capable!

It is also something of a surprise!

Cheers CR

Daniele Mandelli

I’m not knowledgeable on this and sceptical, so someone educate me. 3 sets replace a dozen or so ships? How many crew in a MCMV x 12 we could now use elsewhere? How many of the 3 will be in use and how can 3 cover 12 vessels? Even if say only half of those 12 are in use? What motherships will be needed to deploy the autonomous vessels, which are little more than boats like RNMBs Hazard and Artemis? A scarse escort or RFA? And how will they be protected themselves from mines to deploy into the area they… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

To add, just read up some more and it seems 3 are just an initial order, same as France.

Captain P Wash

phased introduction ? Just guessing that the Hunts and sandowns will be phased out/sold.

James Fennell

Yes its an initial order, I think two sets will go to the Gulf for operational trials, presumably off an LSL mother ship. One set is for UK-based trials and another is to be made up from the prototypes for Faslane protection (shore based). I think they will evaluate what mix of manned and unmanned is required before making a final decision on whether any replacement manned MCMVs are also needed and if more of these systems (or improved versions) will be bought. Likely they could be deployed from LSLs, future survey vessels and frigates as well as from the… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by James Fennell
geoff

Morning Daniele. Also-how would the ship protect itself from enemy action? The Sandowns for example have a 30mm, 3 miniguns and 2 GPMG-not exactly HMS Vanguard but still gives them a usefull secondary role?
Durban maximum of 20 deg with intermittent showers. Bad time of the year for outside work!

geoff

Just to clarify my thoughts above-these unmanned units would have to operate from a mother ship(?) so their autonomy to act elsewhere in secondary roles is lost.

Daniele Mandelli

Morning geoff.

Foggy cold miserable Surrey!

Yes, Mother vessels.

I echo your thoughts, but others like GHF also point out it is a useful way to increase escort fleet. Or there may be cheaper vessels used.

Mike O

Yes a frigate cannot be frigating if it is too busy mothering. Hopefully there are plans for Verari 85 style vessels for the mothership role.

ChariotRider

Something else has just occured. The portable operations centre, can it be mounted on a ship or is it only shore based. In which case this system appears to be a coastal system only, something that the size of the mother vessels would also suggest. I realise that coastal waters are more likely to be mined as that is where the main choke points are. However, there are some very busy shipping lanes further of our coasts particularly in the North Sea where larger MCMV would be needed. Not to mention other areas of the world. So perhaps the Hunts… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Is it, though?
What of the clearance divers operating off a MCMV? What if the autonomous stuff cannot deal with a device and a diver is needed? Does a mother vessel carry them? The boats themselves are small.

Our MCMV already operate remote systems to find mines. Gunbuster?

Paul T

This is the Dutch/Belgian Solution to MCMV https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkwG545CmOw

Daniele Mandelli

Really interesting Paul. I’ve clearly got lots of catching up to do on this area.

john melling

That’s weird as i’ve just been looking on the ECA group website then scrolled down on here and seen your thread haha

In the news and events section there a page with a great looking mother ship with 2 or 3 unmanned boats around it with another being lowered on the crane

A ship like that would be good a good start to look at

Look at about 3.57 on the video and it shows it

Last edited 1 month ago by john melling
john melling

I do like Navy Group \ ECA, the Dutch / Belgian program and its made great progress

More here

https://youtu.be/CHlJYpP3dwQ

I hope the RN don’t recycle the minesweepers we have now and instead start a fresh
Perhaps an off the shelf option, join a team or our build own!

Anything than a “make do and mend”

Peter S.

Looks rather like the BMT Venari- parallel evolution? My ( very limited) understanding is that several of these remote/autonomous systems will be operated from a dedicated mothership.This would speed up the clearance of mines over a wider area. The fact that the system could be deployed from a frigate if circumstances required doesn’t mean this would be the normal method of operation. A 6/7000 ton warship poking about for mines just seems wrong.

ChariotRider

Hi Peter,

Not to mention blinking danagerous.

That would be right in [one of] the weight ranges and hence magnetic / accoustic signatures that might / would set off a smart mine. OK an ASW frigate being very quiet would probably pull it off. Mean while the subs are having a field day in your convoy routes!

As you say, wrong!

Cheers CR

john melling

As an example “The Belgian \ Dutch program is for 12 X 2,700-tonne displacement mother ship vessels (six for each navy) plus MCM toolboxes based on unmanned/autonomous systems drawn from ECA’s own UMIS offboard MCM suite.” So your right a 6/7000 dedicated MCM warship based on a T31/32 hull does not seem the “right fit” Yes its need to be able to defend itself but it does not need 12 – 24 silos etc A decent gun and CIWS, and small arms Its MCM and they do as it says on the tin…. The RN will need several dedicated mother… Read more »

Ron

Morning DM, Its what I’m thinking. Possibly this is the T32, I’ve been looking at designs available that could be suitable af a frigate whilst doubling up as a mothership or a base ship for small RM Comando teams. I keep coming back to the Damen Crossover type vessels. Possibly if it could have some of the featurs of the Damen Enforcer vessels but that could complicate things. However the Crossover Combatant variation would seem to do the job nicely. A main gun upto 127mm, two CIWS postions, VLS for anti air, a postion for anti ship, space for a… Read more »

XO_2.png
Daniele Mandelli

Morning Ron. I’m no expert on ship design by any means, but it looks good to me.

Ryan Brewis

That’s an interesting design to say the least. Are the SSMs actually sunken or am I just not seeing it right? A few other things, wouldn’t the VLS need the splash guard (probably wrong name but meh) like the Type 45 has and hopefully the CIWS would be changed, they look like Oerlikon Millennium guns and another calibre is the last thing needed. As for the two Merlins, I don’t want to be a downer but do we even have enough to theoretically give them one each? Might the NH90 have been a better choice instead of Wildcat? I know… Read more »

Ron

Hi Ryan, don’t worry without questions there no answers, so I will try my best to anser each point. SSMs yes the 2×4 containors are just behing the main mast in a well. If I understand correctly you can have RBS15s, NSMs or Harpoon. As you point out in the diagram the CIWS is the Millenium. I agree with you that another gun calibre is not advaisable. My understanding is that the weapons and electronic fit is customer defined. So the 40mm as fitted to the T31 should not be a problem. I also think that they shold have the… Read more »

Ryan Brewis

I went and had a look at the Damen XO class and it’s crazy we don’t seem to be able to design and market our own version. Though I will admit the market for mid sized frigates seem really saturated and historically export target nations like Brazil, India etc are developing their own shipbuilding capabilities so what future there is in warship exporting is possibly insecure. About the design, I don’t agree on the 30mm. Maybe the Mk4 isn’t fully suited to double-hatting CIWS and the ASCG role but I don’t see why it wouldn’t. Otherwise we have potentially three… Read more »

ChariotRider

Hi Daniele,

Paul’s link is a better answer than I could have given 🙂

I am aware that modern submersible ROV’s are incredibly capable. I have had the pleasure of visiting the University of the West of England’s Robotics Lab and the developments are remarkable. Whilst these were land machines there is no reason why the ideas could not be applied to submersibles. In short, I think that if we are not there yet, we are getting very close to not needing divers to go anywhere near mines again.

Cheers CR

Daniele Mandelli

Hi CR. Indeed. I found that link fascinating.

Bloke down the pub

I’d be interested to see oil support vessels used to test their suitability. This could a provide boost to numbers if required in a hurry.

ChariotRider

Hi Bloke down the pub,

That is a cool idea and given that potential stand off ranges then it could be a better solution than using trawlers as minesweepers during WW2.

One thought though, those support vessels are pretty big with big signatures so could be vulnerable to modern smart mines, some of which I believe can move once they have detected a target!

Cheers CR

Ron

I seem to remember a design for a mine to house a torpedeo, the mine would detect and then launch the torp. Can’t remember which country it came from but it was and I suppose still is an intresting idea. Does anyone know of this or if it was out into operation.

Trevor G

Just a thought, can the complete system be carried in the Type 26 mission bay for rapid deployment overseas?

Daniele Mandelli

They’re certainly air portable. The boats have been trialled in A400 by JATEU.

Pompeyblokeinoxford

JATEU? Surely you mean JADTEU!

Daniele Mandelli

Indeed Pompey! I did.

Dan

The MoD release says that the autonomous vessel is a 12m boat, and the Type 26 mission bay is designed to take 12m RHIBs, so that seems likely. I don’t expect the portable operation centre would be so large that it can’t fit inside a 20 ft container, which the mission bay can also carry.

Trevor G

Sounds like a more flexible & deployable system than the previously mooted third tier of multipurpose escort type vessels. It does however beg the question of how to deal with mines in deeper or less sheltered waters than would be accessible from 12M boats, even if unmanned.

Bloke down the pub

I’ve mentioned before in these pages how one of the benefits of the mcm fleet is the opportunity it provides for young officers to get sea time and experience of command. It’s all well and good training in virtual reality but the pressure of the real world creates its own problems. The cost of sending ships to sea without the necessary experience can be wrecked ships and dead crew, as the USN found out.

Challenger

As ever the big questions remain how many autonomous/uncrewed mine-hunters will eventually be procured and what’s the plan for how to deploy them. I’d have thought some form of mother-ships will be required and the best solution would be to pursue a corvette sized platform that could operate containerized/modular mine-hunter, survey and patrol equipment – basically a simple, low cost but flexible support ship to compliment the war-fighting surface fleet in the old MHPC mold. The unpalatable alternative will be to deploy these uncrewed mine-hunters from existing vessels, which isn’t impossible but hardly ideal given how this could distract from… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Exactly!

Dan

Perhaps one of the River class OPVs? But that would be taking it away from other duties as well. Or maybe the RN could lease one or more commercial vessels to serve as motherships, as required?

Challenger

In theory a lot of different vessels already in service or planned could host them but it’ll always take the focus away from their primary duties and it’s the old ‘can’t be in 2 places at once’ argument. Given that the Type 26/31/32 mix increasingly looks like the old C1/C2 Future Surface Combatant approach i think a Venari or Black Swan shaped class could fill the old C3/MHPC requirement and round things out nicely. Obviously not 1 for 1 replacements for the existing fleet but perhaps 8-10 to take on the mine-hunter/survey work of the 15 Hunt’s/Sandown’s/Echo’s with the option… Read more »

PC56

Surely 1 for 1 is desirable to stop the steady loss of numbers? Capability or not, it doesn’t feel right to be ok with the constant shrinking of the fleet. We don’t need an increase, but some parts of the fleet are in single digits. We can only shrink it so far.

Pacman27

As you all know I am a big fan of the Karel doorman design and keep banging on about buying 12 of these and replacing almost every large supports and amphib ship apart from the new tides. An updated KD design that can launch 4 Caimen 60’s or 8 MCM’s or CB90’s gives us massive capability. Even more so if we have a mix if needed. I know I will get panned for this, but by standardising on a platform like this we get a lot of bang for our buck. We simply can’t afford specialised ships anymore, what we… Read more »

ChariotRider

Hi Challenger,

Basically, this was the plan years ago. I worked on it very briefly, but it started to break out into individual role related classes.

All decisions well above my pay scale, I might be wrong, but it struct me that different specialisms not agreeing was part of the problem… Of course there may have been very reasonable technical reasons, but long and short was that traditional solutions prevailed.

Cheers CR

Ryan Brewis

Is the mine neutralisation system/UUV deployed off the autonomous vessel or does the mothership need to drop it? Speaking of the mothership, is this another role tacked onto the Bays? If so, could this mean a second batch?
At least they’re moving forward, so there’s that.

Watcherzero

Deployed off the autonomous vehicle, the idea is to keep people as far away as possible. The autonomous vessel would have to return to a mothership to get a replacement Drone/detonation charge after use though.

Jason

So just to be clear is this an announcement that the Hunt and Sandown classes within the RN are being retired without replacement by another vessel at all. Instead they’ll be replaced by these autonomous ‘kits’ that appear to be able to deploy from most ships within the RN and perhaps even the RFA. Is that what this is saying ?

Daveyb

If the kit is fitted to a RFA, does that mean it is now a warship??

Jason

Good point. I’m guessing if they can put a 20mm phalanx system on them for self defence then an autonomous mine hunting capability for the same reason isn’t gonna change things.

Peter S.

I’m not clear on the immediate effects of this announcement. I presume that Hunt class vessels could deploy the system as motherships? Their major refit was only completed in 2018 so there is life in them. Longer term would the BMT Venari be an option or more River OPVs?
I assume the high cost mentioned includes development. Does anyone know the cost of additional units?

Jason

I would have thought it defeats the objective a bit if they operate from the Hunts but in the short term you may be right. In the long term though the Venari would be great choice but perhaps it would be a better idea to introduce more Type 31 frigates for example to deploy them from. That way they could fulfil the MCM role well as well as deploy other autonomous vehicles with ease and be used in a more multi role capacity when necessary. Also increases the number of frigates as has been promised. Just a thought.

Daniele Mandelli

This stuff I feel is fantastic if there are corvette type motherships to base the stuff of that could take other roles when not in use, and expand the fleet. Black Swan types.

Otherwise, is it not tying down escorts/RFA?

These things, unlike a MCMV, cannot self deploy.

Glass Half Full

I suggest more ambition in our fleet vessels. Why would we want corvette or sloop class vessels in the context of the UK’s global ambitions? We need more frigates. So instead of replacing 13 MCMV vessels with a similar dedicated platform, we might instead purchase an extra 5+ T31, with the rest of the budget going on 13+ MCM mission modules to expand the MCM capability. So 8x T26 + 10x T31, all capable of supporting MCM modules (T26 because mines are a threat to carrier groups too and these MCM modules may also support ASW). Five T32 might be… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Certainly a great way to expand escort numbers, give you that.

How about rough sea states. Can these things handle that sort of condition?

Glass Half Full

Depends on definition of rough, and its going to depend on the ship platform and the launching system, but up to sea states 5/6 for launch and recovery. The larger the platform, e.g. T31, the more stable the ship is for this purpose. For USV operational use in tackling mines, anything more than SS 3/4 seems unlikely.

A little dated but a blog from Gabriele on the topic,
https://ukarmedforcescommentary.blogspot.com/2018/05/towards-unmanned-stand-off-maritime.html

Sean

I strongly suspect this is the RN’s thinking and it makes perfect sense with regards to vessel flexibility, economics, and increasing frigate crews while keeping sailor headcount the same.

Pacman27

I think 24-25 Frigates is good enough if balanced with a further 25 Corvettes The T26/T31 can cover off quite a lot (I would like to see us add another deck to it to essentially give us an updated Absalon class) We then could have a set of Corvettes with similar capability to the SAAR 6 perhaps. T26’s cost £1.2bn each T31 cost £600m each (fully fitted and capable) T82 Corvette would cost circa £300m each Good thing here is we build 1 of each for the next 25 years – updating in batches of 5. (like the burkes). to… Read more »

Glass Half Full

Why corvettes though? How do they fit into UK requirements? Corvettes are typically shorter range, short endurance, largely coastal or constrained waters vessels, hence their popularity for Baltic navies and by Israel for example. In addition, 25 corvettes is still 25 crews, so you have most of the lifetime manpower costs you’d have for a similarly armed frigate. You’ll also have most of the lifetime fuel costs. A significant proportion of the capital cost will be similar to a light frigate when fitted with similar sensor, weapons and flight assets. That aside, we don’t need this many vessels. Better to… Read more »

River Rha

Being A Shore-based Individual, though It would seem that My Parents Ensured that I Benefited from Caledonian MacBrayne And Predecessors Regularly Until Late 1990s, It would seem that I Am Fully Aware that During the Battle of the Atlantic, In the Course of the Second World War, Convoy Escorts Duty “Included Corvettes for the Hazardous Voyages Across Atlantic” And a Very Particular “Free French Crewed in the Main and Named In French” Royal Navy “Flower Class” Corvette “had the Unenviable Task of Rescuing the Small Number of Survivors of the Convoy Escorts Commodores’ Destroyer, After Destroyer Torpedoed In The For’ard… Read more »

Pacman27

The RN has a concept of C1,C2 and C3 asset types, each being more advanced than the previous class. Corvettes such as Saar 6 would give any ship in the RN a run for there money in a fight, but your point about range is well made, but as with the river class, hardly a deal breaker as we can engineer in our requirement. I am a big believer in 2 things, volume and progression where the RN are concerned. 25 smaller more lethal ships are better than 12 larger less lethal ships. From a manpower point of view we… Read more »

Glass Half Full

Does the RN still subscribe to the C1, C2 and C3 concepts though? If so then taking ThinkDefence’s definitions ref Sustained Surface Combatant Capability (S2C2) C1 – Force Anti-Submarine Warfare Combatant, a large multi-mission combat vessel for ASW and land attack missions. C2 – Stabilisation Combatant, a less well-equipped vessel for choke point escort and protection of sea lines of communication (SLOC). C3 – Ocean capable patrol vessel Originally C1 and C2 were both using the T26 hull and we know what happened to that idea. What we are currently working towards for the late 2020’s and 2030’s. C1 –… Read more »

Pacman27

i Don’t disagree that we can do with more frigates and if you look back over my previous posts I have been a big advocate of the absalon/Huitfeldt class and not a fan of the new rivers. ultimately I am trying to improve the balance of combat assets within an acceptable cost and fleet size envelope. i believe 24 major assets are already a big uptick in capability and a class of smaller vessels will be able to fill a lot of gaps. A vessel like the csword90 is potentially a game changer for the RN, and could deliver 2… Read more »

Glass Half Full

The problem is that a corvette sized platform is not delivering a balanced capability for a RN with increasing global roles and responsibilities, especially East of Suez, with far greater distances and larger oceans involved. The chance of a hostile surface vessel, let-alone multiples, turning up on UK shores in a hot war, requiring numerous corvettes to counter, is next to nil. They would never survive the submarine and air assets deployed against them. That’s not the case for the Baltic states like Sweden, Finland, Germany, or for Norway in its Northern waters, where Russia is a close neighbour, hence… Read more »

Glass Half Full

I must admit to being somewhat bemused by the comments, as this mission module MCM concept has been discussed many times here. The STRN site has a good article on the topic. https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/the-future-of-royal-navy-minehunting/ I would suggest the goal of this move is to get away entirely from dedicated platforms like the new Dutch/Belgian MCMV or the BMT Venari 85 concept. Why? Because if we need more or less similar manning in a T31 doing MCM as we do in a dedicated MCM/OPV platform then which would we rather have? Which gives us more flexibility over the life time of the… Read more »

Peter S.

That STRN article was not clear what mothership would be used. Cheap commercial vessels were mentioned but so was Venari. I do agree that grp hulled minehunters, which were expensive to build won’t be replaced, if the 2 year trial by UK and France is successful. Not convinced that it would be a good use of frigates though.

Glass Half Full

Perhaps think about it differently? Instead of assuming that we give up a T31 frigate to the MCM role from our limited planned numbers, look at it as an opportunity to build some more frigates instead of MCMV. And then there’s that whole operating off hostile shores thing – if we aren’t going to leave a dedicated MCMV undefended, then we need to add an escort – so now two ships and their crews doing what one could do. Gunbuster was educating me in the comments on another article that the 4x MCMV we have in the Gulf might be… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Glass Half Full
Paul.P

“Look at it as an opportunity to build more frigates”. Spot on. I think that is the RN thinking for Type 32. For this role the 110m Leander T31 design would be a strong candidate. It had a bigger mission bay than Arrowhead – modelled on the RR design used in T26. It also had a crane midships and an electric drive mode – quieter for towing a sonar.
In many ways I think it would be a bigger asset to a carrier task force.

Derek

All the articles and pictures I have seen have a Mothership with multiple autonomous boats in the water. This provides the capability of mine clearance more quickly and over a wider area as stated. Maybe the idea is to replace Hunt and Sandown classes with (say) 3 motherships with multiple sets on each. One based in Gulf? 2 to alternate for deployment where otherwise required. Putting a single set on a frigate seems to lessen the value of both assets to me.

Paul.P

Well argued. I suspect this is the RN thinking on T32. Not an up-armed T31 with a 5in gun and Mk41 VLS but rather an MCMV combatant, based either on the current Arrowhead 140 hull or maybe the Arrowhead 120 version or even the BAe Leander hull.
The current largesse of OPVs is a short term measure I think. The 5 River 2s are to enable us to lay off a couple of T23s which I expect to be announced in the upcoming defence review.

Remember this?

https://www.babcockinternational.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Arrowhead-120-EN-DIGITAL.pdf

Glass Half Full

Been a while since I looked at A120. Many similarities to the French FTI and the Italian PPA intermediate frigate specs, albeit shown with less powerful radar sensor fit. I don’t see a MCMV combatant per se, if I understood you correctly, more a GP frigate like a T31 with a long term fit of a MCM mission module. The fit might be on a deployment basis, e.g. fitted to the escort frigate forward deployed in the Gulf for several years. I wouldn’t expect mission modules to be swapped in and out every few months, although it would be possible… Read more »

Paul.P

Nice simulation graphic. Take the point about supporting design work in the national shipbuilding strategy. This does suggest T32 could be an entirely new design. Some would say haven’t we got enough hills to choose from. Have to wait and see I suppose.

Alexander Anderson

Will these be commissioned ships?

Dave Wolfy

I wonder if, somewhere in the evolution of this system the Falklands Conflict had some relevance.
These would have been very handy.

Herodotus

Where sea mines an issue in the Falklands….I didn’t think that they were. They just shoved a Leander class up the channel between the two main islands and hoped that it didn’t go bang! At the time, position fixing for MCM boats was provided by land based radio systems. These required manning….I remember that myself and a few other engineers volunteered to do so (idiots). As it turned out, we weren’t required!

Dave Wolfy

I understand that (well, I read it), but it was obviously a serious consideration.
We learnt many things from that show, I just wondered if going away from the MCM craft that we had to this method was of a direct relevance.

Gunbuster

The new AuSV boats have already been out getting a tan. They along with a USN system have already been deployed from a Bay class vessel. That said they can be used from anywhere. Shoreside having arrived on a C17, a military vessel or STUFT. A oil rig supply vessel is ideal. Big aft deck, Heavyweight crane, large storage capacity, plenty of accommodation and there are lots of them around. The USN replacement for their ocean going salvage tug class of USNS ships is based on such a vessel. They have used the current class of vessels to deploy divers… Read more »

Pacman27

£61.33m for 1 small vessel and it control centre etc. seems truly extortionate

the boat is £2m tops,

DSEI must do better than this

Daniele Mandelli

Nothing changes there Pac. Have MoD been bled again?

Pacman27

this is ridiculous. At most this system should cost no more than £10m each unit to buy, with a command centre able to control 16 boats via AI. If its costing 61m a pop we may as well give up I was really hopefully of this capability, as it is potentially a game changer if we can deploy enough of the boats but at this rate we are back to not being able to afford to lose any as they won’t be replaced truly disappointing at this price point. If the MOD can’t sort itself out it doesn’t deserve more… Read more »

Dave G

You have no clue how much things cost… it cost £35m so far to develop, test and role out (integrated to wider networks) the covid19 tracing app. Do you really think you can get a new effective combat system including distributed hardware and complex software in small numbers that has to work, be security and cyber robust, field ruggedised and integrated to wider networks at range for £10m for three?

Pacman27

The cost of creating this system has been drip fed in over years and shouldn’t be included in an order for 3 new units

We already have the core equipment for this so the cost is in bringing it together

I have no problem if this is 184m for the first 3 then £5m a pop afterwards. But it can’t be 61m each unit. That is just wasteful IMO

I think you will also find the track and trace software effort is generally seen as a failure

Peter S.

I can’t find more detail on costs but assume that they include the development programme which has been running for several years. Minehunting is pricey.: the cost of a Sandown commissioned in 2002 was nearly half that of the last type 23 also in 2002!

Pacman27

Maybe so – but surely our goal should be to have a significant fleet of these (say 32) to expand our capability for substantially less cost. What is needed is a common hull that our ships can carry and be configured for tasking. We are partially there with the atlas electronic workboats and with a bit more design input could potentially replace all our Pac Ribs with a version of these that can then be set up with modules for tasking. I just don’t get how an 11metre boat becomes a £61m system and everyone is happy. These systems need… Read more »

Glass Half Full

You are way too focused on the boats. The R&D and software costs are likely to dwarf the hardware costs for what is stated to be, and probably is, a cutting edge world-leading capability across all aspects of the system, including the sonar. Even if we end up with 20-30 such systems, these are still low volumes for bespoke systems, that must work, in challenging conditions, with very high reliability. You also seem to be overlooking that there are four distinct components that make up an MCMV-in-a-box, or more accurately MCM in a number of ISO containers. The portable operating… Read more »

Jonathan

i suspect this is where the resourcing for the new type 32 will come from. After all A bunch of new frigates would involve a singficant uplift in manning. Unless you move the mine warfare and survey functions to frigates and move the manpower and resources to support your new frigates. Lucky all our escorts will have big mission bays to act motherships for these new autonomously enabled capabilities.

Nicholas

A question from the ignorant, how do the unmanned units neutralise the mines?

Gunbuster

They will use a Saab Mumns unit. Its an ROV that carries 3 shaped charges one each per target that are attached andt and detonated remotely.
They mean that the ROV can attack 3 targets as a opposed to the current one target with the current Sea Fox.

Nicholas

Thanks, I had half imagined the thing snipping wires.