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[*] posted on 17-5-2017 at 04:10 PM
Mine warfare, all aspects


ECA Group UMIS Mine-Warfare System for the Kazakh Navy Is Now Fully Operational

(Source: ECA Group; issued May 15, 2017)



The Unmanned Mine Counter Measure Integrated System (UMIS) delivered and installed by ECA Group onboard the new mine hunter “10750E Class” of the Kazakhstan Navy, has successfully gone through Sea Acceptance Trials (SAT).

Built by the Russian shipyard SNSZ in St Petersburg, this first mine hunter has reached Aktau through the rivers and channels by the end of the winter. Fitted with ECA Group’s MCM system this MCMV will be capable to survey and protect the North-Eastern coast of the Caspian Sea in a fully unmanned mode keeping the ship and its crew in a safer position.

Composed of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) A9, Identification and mine disposal vehicles (EMDS) K-STER and a single multifunction console integrating the mission management software suite, this ECA Group UMIS system provides a fast and cost effective solution to MCM operations from initial seabed survey, target detection and classification down to final identification and neutralization.

With their high-resolution sonar and video camera, the A9 AUV and identification vehicle K-STER I are not limited to MCM missions and will also provide the Kazakhstan Navy with maritime surveillance capabilities such as Search and Rescue (SAR) operations.

Always committed in a long-term support with its customer, ECA Group has also established a partnership with a local company which will be in charge of the maintenance of the system and the training of the crew.

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[*] posted on 24-5-2017 at 11:34 AM


UDT Europe: New Towed Acoustic Projector System for DST

23rd May 2017 - 18:23

by The Shephard News Team



The Australian Department of Defence’s Defence Science and Technology (DST) group has acquired a new Towed Acoustic Projector System (TAPS) from GeoSpectrum Technologies to improve its underwater acoustic research capabilities.

At less than 900kg, the TAPS is significantly smaller and lighter than the 10 tonne sonar research projector system (SRP) previously used by DST for work that requires the transmission of sound waves underwater for sonar research.

This allows the system to be used by a wider variety of vessels for operational flexibility. The TAPS winch, launch and recovery system and associated equipment can be easily moved with a forklift, transported in a standard trailer and rapidly installed on a vessel.

Both the TAPS and SRP systems require the acoustic transducers to be towed by a cable through the water as they transmit acoustic signals representative of different maritime objects such as submarines, torpedos and boats.

While the SRP tow body incorporates the entire frequency range (50 Hz to 10 kHz) in its single 640kg unit, TAPS has five interchangeable 20 kg fibreglass ‘V-wing’ tow-bodies, each fitted with an acoustic transducer that covers a smaller frequency range.

Defence researcher Phil Jackson, DST, said: ‘We found in practice that very rarely do we need the entire frequency range at once, normally just a subset, so we made the design compromise of having to swap tow-bodies for a lighter system that is logistically much easier to manage.

‘It only takes 15 minutes to reel a tow-body in and swap it, not an onerous requirement.’

The system was acquired from Canadian subsea detection specialists GeoSpectrum Technologies under a tender process, with assistance from Defence Research and Development Canada.

Training for the TAPS system has now begun for DST personnel
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[*] posted on 8-6-2017 at 12:49 PM


A9-M secures new NATO customer

07th June 2017 - 9:30

by The Shephard News Team



ECA Group's A9-M autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) has been selected by an unnamed NATO navy for maritime mine countermeasure (MCM) operations, the company announced on 2 June.

The 70kg A9-M AUV is designed to be deployed and operated from rigid hull inflatable boats by two operators, or directly from larger vessels. With an endurance of up to 20 hours, the AUV can operate in strong currents and high tide environments without degradation of its side scan sonar image quality.

The A9-M is used to identify mine-like objects in underwater MCM operations. The system's acoustic and magnetic signatures are minimised in order not to trigger underwater mines when operating in a minefield.
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[*] posted on 14-6-2017 at 09:12 AM


Kraken’s AquaPix in mine warfare exercise

13th June 2017 - 12:30

by The Shephard News Team



Kraken Sonar Systems’ AquaPix synthetic aperture sonars (SAS) will take part in a mine warfare exercise to be conducted by the Belgium and Netherland navies in mid-June.

The exercise, to be run by Belgium's Directorate General of Material Resources - will see a variety of unmanned systems carry out mine countermeasure trials off the Belgian coast.

Underwater and surface unmanned vehicles from a number of companies will take part in the exercise, and Kraken is to provide its AquaPix Interferometric SAS (INSAS) and AquaPix Miniature Interferometric SAS (MINSAS) to equip three different systems.

Belgium and the Netherlands are carrying out a programme to replace their Tripartite class minehunting ships built in the 1980s. Six new ships are to be acquired along with unmanned mine countermeasure assets to improve operational performance and increase personnel safety.

AquaPix provides detailed seabed images with a constant resolution better than 3cm x 3cm out to a range of 300m from each side of an underwater vehicle (600m swath). It can also produce 3D bathymetric data with a resolution better than 25cm x 25cm out to full range while delivering very high depth accuracy.

Karl Kenny, Kraken president and CEO said: ‘During the trials, our engineers will be at sea supporting both our AquaPix INSAS and AquaPix MINSAS systems. The Belgian and Netherlands' navies project to replace their mine countermeasure capabilities creates a significant opportunity for Kraken's sensors and underwater robotic systems. This project provides guidelines for future mine countermeasures capability and opens the possibility for other countries to join the Belgian-Netherlands initiative.’
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[*] posted on 15-6-2017 at 11:35 AM


Russian navy to receive 40 Project 12700 minesweepers

Bruce Jones, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

14 June 2017

And the money for this is coming from where exactly?

Russia's Ministry of Defence announced on 9 June the start of construction of 40 Project 12700 glass fibre-hull mine-sweeping vessels, with delivery of the first two scheduled for 2018.

Navy Deputy Commander Vice-Admiral Viktor Bursuk said Sredne-Nevskiy Shipyard in St Petersburg would build two ships per year and that there were plans for the construction of others at shipbuilders in East Asia.

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[*] posted on 27-6-2017 at 11:57 AM


ECA demonstrates multiple MCM systems in North Sea trials

Richard Scott, London - IHS Jane's International Defence Review

26 June 2017

French underwater robotics specialist ECA has shown a 'multi-simultaneous' unmanned mine countermeasures (MCM) 'system of systems' capability to the Belgian Navy under the umbrella of the North Sea Unmanned MCM Trials (BE NSU).

The parallel and collaborative 'Detection-to-Identification' MCM demonstration, performed off Zeebrugge on 10 June, comes as Belgium and the Netherlands are preparing to jointly procure a new stand-off remote MCM 'toolbox' capability to enter service in the mid-2020s. ECA is one of a number of companies expected to bid for this programme.

For the purposes of BE NSU, ECA's Unmanned MCM Integrated System (UMIS), comprising an A9-M autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) and an Inspector unmanned surface vessel (USV) - itself deploying two Seascan Mk 2 remotely operated vehicles - was deployed by the Belgian Navy coastal patrol vessel BNS Pollux .

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[*] posted on 14-9-2017 at 02:40 PM


Autonomous mine-hunting boat will be delivered to the British Navy this winter

By: David B. Larter   12 hours ago


The ARCIMS autonomous unmanned surface vehicle is coming into the Royal Navy as part of its mine countermeasures program. (Atlas Elektronik)

LONDON ― The British Royal Navy is getting ready to take delivery of an unmanned mine-hunting system that follows the trend of getting ships out of the minefield.

The ATLAS Remote Combined Influence Minesweeping System is slated for delivery in December, according to Atlas representatives at the Defence and Security Equipment International conference in London, England. ARCIMS can operate unmanned and is programmed to follow minesweeping patterns, avoid other vessels and hazards, and adjust and return to its pattern.

As it stands, the Royal Navy is looking to acquire four of the ARCIMS boats, but there is room for growth as the service plans to accelerate its Mine countermeasures and Hydrographic Capability program, First Sealord Adm. Philip Jones said Sept. 12.

“Today I can announce the Royal Navy’s aim to accelerate the incremental delivery of our future Mine countermeasures and Hydrographic Capability program,” Jones said. “Our intention is to deliver an unmanned capability for routine mine countermeasure tasks in U.K. waters in two years’ time.”

Jones did not say what platforms or systems would be accelerated in the MHC program.

ARCIMS was demonstrated to the Royal Navy last year towing Northrop Grumman’s AQS-24B Minehunting System, which Atlas reps say has been reliable and integrates well with unmanned surface vessels. The 11-meter boat has a top speed of more than 40 knots and can be used as a manned platform.

The boat is compatible with the Royal Navy’s Hunt-class mine countermeasures ship. Atlas reps would not disclose the price of their ARCIMS boats.

The U.S. is also developing an autonomous mine-hunting boat with Textron for its Unmanned Influence Sweep System. The Navy inked a $14.8 million deal with Textron in April for two Common Unmanned Surface Vehicles as part of its own mine countermeasure program. 
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[*] posted on 15-9-2017 at 01:39 PM


BAE Systems Unveils New Mine Counter Measures and Autonomy Mission System

(Source: BAE Systems; issued Sept 13, 2017)

BAE Systems has today unveiled NAUTIS 5, the latest version of its flagship Mine Counter Measures (MCM) system, at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition.

BAE Systems’ Naval Autonomy Tactical Information System (NAUTIS) is used to counter the ever-present threat of naval mines. It is installed on board more than 65 ships from seven navies across the world, including the Royal Navy’s Hunt and Sandown class Mine Counter Measure Vessels (MCMVs).

NAUTIS 5 is the result of BAE Systems’ long-term investment in MCM capabilities. It incorporates a number of new and improved features including: improved command and control for autonomous and off-board systems, which can be easily integrated thanks to a new Open Architecture; a new and improved Human-Computer Interface (HCI) utilising the very latest graphical technologies; and embedded onboard training.

NAUTIS 5’s new autonomous systems capabilities have been developed following BAE Systems’ leading roles in a number of autonomous systems projects and programmes, such as the Royal Navy’s 2016 Unmanned Warrior exercise, the DSTL Maritime Autonomous Platform Exploitation (MAPLE) consortium and the recently launched National Maritime Autonomy Centre.

For MCM ships using the current version of NAUTIS, a simple upgrade can be installed in short maintenance periods without the need to change on-board consoles. The system uses commercial, off-the-shelf hardware based on Shared Infrastructure technology, an innovative hardware solution that hosts software from multiple combat system technology providers on a single system.

Altogether, NAUTIS 5 offers a reduction in through-life costs, increased operational capabilities, improved user experience, improved agility and the capacity for further growth.

BAE Systems Naval Ships Combat Systems Director, Richard Williams said: “The NAUTIS 5 system is the result of our long term investment and vision for mine countermeasures and autonomy mission systems. We have worked closely with our customers and equipment providers to understand operational needs and how to address them. As a result, we have developed a world class system that keeps BAE Systems at the forefront of the MCM domain and helps to keep trade routes open.”

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[*] posted on 12-10-2017 at 09:34 PM


USN COBRA mine-detection systems reaches IOC

Michael James Fabey - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

12 October 2017



The US Navy (USN) AN/DVS-1 Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) airborne mine-detection system achieved initial operational capability (IOC) on 10 October, USN officials announced.

COBRA is being developed for integration with the USN’s MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned aircraft system and is flown over a beach zone to detect and locate minefields.

The Block I version completed the first phase of initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) on board the MQ-8B.

Previously, such reconnaissance was only possible by putting sailors or marines on the beach in advance of a landing, essentially putting them into the middle of a possible minefield.

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[*] posted on 18-10-2017 at 02:32 PM


Accelerating autonomy in MCM

Richard Scott - IHS Jane's Navy International

17 October 2017

NATO’s Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation is exploring novel technologies and techniques applicable to the next generation of collaborative, autonomous mine countermeasures capabilities. Richard Scott reports
Based in La Spezia on Italy’s Ligurian coast, NATO’s Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE) is founded on more than 50 years of experience through its former incarnations as the NATO Undersea Research Centre (NURC) and NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic Undersea Research Centre (SACLANTCEN). Now an executive body of NATO's Science and Technology Organization, the centre continues to investigate the application of novel techniques and technologies in the undersea environment.


The MUSCLE vehicle (foreground) seen in company with CMRE's research vessel NRV "Alliance". (CMRE)

As NATO’s ‘knowledge repository’ for maritime science and technology, CMRE provides facilities and expertise through which members of the alliance can work together, reducing the costs and risks of research while at the same time aligning national interests and ambitions, and promoting improved interoperability.

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[*] posted on 1-12-2017 at 06:57 PM


Polish Navy Commissioned ORP Kormoran MCM Vessel on Navy Anniversary
 
The Polish Navy (Marynarka Wojenna) commissioned the first of a new class of mine counter measure (MCM) vessel on November 28th. The date also marked the 99th anniversary of the creation of the Polish Navy. The Inauguration Ceremony was held in Gdynia. The flag raising ceremony was attended by the minister of defence Antoni Macierewicz and several local and military authorities.

 
ORP Kormoran MCM vessel of the Polish Navy at sea. Picture by our colleague Tomasz Grotnik
 
The Polish Navy new generation MCM vessel was fully designed and built in Poland as part of the Kormoran II programme. The vessel is designed by Remontowa shipbuilding (Gdanska Stocznia "Remontowa" im. J. Pilsudskiego S.A.) based in Gdansk.

ORP Kormoran (hull number 601) is the first of proposed three vessels in her class. Construction of Kormoran’s two sister ships is yet to start. ORP Kormoran is the first naval ship built in Poland and commissioned by the Polish Navy in years.

  
The Polish Navy flag is raised for the first time aboard ORP Kormoran. Picture: Polish Navy
  
According to Remontowa shipbuilding, Kormoran II is dedicated to mine hunting tasks in Polish EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone), as well as in tactical task forces in Baltic and North Sea and other auxiliary tasks defined by Polish Ministry of Defense. The vessel was designed with great care to achieve low signature and high maneuverability, thanks to use of cycloid propellers driven by diesel engines.

  
ORP Kormoran MCM vessel of the Polish Navy at sea. Picture by our colleague Tomasz Grotnik
 
Defence and security company Saab announced in June 2014 that the Polish Navy has chosen the Double Eagle system for the Kormoran II MCMV. The Double Eagle is in service with several navies, in the Baltic Sea, in the North Sea and around the world as a state of the art, well proven, low risk and extremely efficient mine countermeasures (MCM) underwater vehicle.

We reported during Balt Military Expo 2014 that ZM Tarnow will be supplying a new 35mm turret for the Kormoran II program. Our sources however indicate that this is now unlikely to happen.

Research and Development Facility of Centrum Techniki Morskiej S.A (ORB CTM) was in charge of developing and integration of the combat management system for Kormoran II.

Kormoran II class basic specifications:
Overall length 58.50 m
Max width 10,30 m
The height of the forecastle deck 6.40m
The height of the main deck aft 4,70 m
Displacement 850 t

 
 ORP Kormoran MCM vessel of the Polish Navy at sea. Picture by our colleague Tomasz Grotnik
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[*] posted on 1-12-2017 at 07:18 PM


Published: Wednesday, 29 November 2017 15:20

Saab MCMV 80: Next Generation Multi-Function Mine Counter Measure Vessel
 
Swedish Defence and security company Saab (with its naval branch Kockums) continues to refine its MCMV 80 vessel design. The MCMV 80 was first unveiled at the Undersea Defence Technology (UDT) 2017 exhibition in May.

  
Artist impression of an MCMV 80 underway with an airborne SKELDAR UAV. Saab image.

According to Saab, the "mine counter measure vessel 80" is a next generation MCM vessel featuring operational flexibility and adaptable configuration, designed to meet current and future challenges of modern navies.

The MCMV 80 can be tailored to a wide range of different missions. Containerized mission modules allow the end-user to conduct operations both in the minefield (as a dedicated MCM platform. Saab calls this the "current approach") and outside the minefield (as a mothership for remotely operated or autonomous minewarfare systems. Saab defines this as the "future approach").

 
 
MCM current approach compared to future approach (with MCMV 80) according to Saab. Saab images.
 
We were explained that the design is so adaptable that it can truly be multi-function and fit the role of a full fledged offshore patrol vessel (OPV). Saab Kockums draws on years of experience in designing, building and supporting MCM vessels for the Swedish Navy (renowned for their experience in minewarfare: The navy is constantly involved such operations since to date, over 50,000 sea mines remain in the Baltic sea) as well as its expertise in low signatures, composites vessels (such as the Koster-class MCMV, the famous Visby-class corvettes and even the superstructure of Singapore's Littoral Mission Vessel).

 
The MCMV 80 is part of a broader new family of "corvettes" (here seen as an OPV, it corresponds to the mid-range). Saab image.
 
MCMV 80 is part of a broader new family dubbed "Next Generation Corvettes" designed by Kockums with future Swedish Navy needs in mind. The hull profile actually shares some similarities with the Visby and LMV classes. However, if a customer prefers a non-composite hull, Kockums can offer the vessel with a steel hull.

 
Stern view of Saab's MCMV 80. The vessel can be fitted with ISO containers. RHIBs and USVs can be easily launched and recovered thanks to the stern ramp.
  
A helicopter flight deck and UAV hangar can be added to the design for logistic and reconnaissance operation capabilities. Two stern ramps and a launching crane enables the launch of unmanned surface vehicles (USV, several designs of which Saab unveiled to us during our tour), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV such as the AUV62), remotely operated vehicles (ROV, such as the MuMNS Multi-Shot Mine Neutralisation System) and RHIB's or interceptors. According to Saab, these features combined makes the MCMV 80 the perfect platform for a wide range of manned and unmanned operations.

The arrangement of the MCMV is focusing on supporting lean operations. For example, the operator room and the bridge are integrated in one 360° 'superbridge' to facilitate communication and enhance situational awareness operator, the navigation and optionally the flotilla command.
 
Our video interview on Saab's MCMV 80 design at UDT 2017: https://youtu.be/j_YyP5Zuzpw?t=51
  
The MCMV 80 is a new design following Saab's evolutionary design approach, meaning that innovative ideas are introduced step by step, together with proven designs. This enables Saab to provide completely new solutions with low technical risk, without having to include obsolete technology or ideas.

The MCMV 80 can be delivered with different levels of signature management. From lower MCM signatures and less stringent requirements up to the highest shockproof requirements and stealth capabilities. Similar to the Visby class corvettes, MCMV 80 benefits from the use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic in the hull superstructure.

Saab's MCMV 80 has a length of 80 meters, a displacement of 1,250 tons, a speed 15 knots and crew complement of 40 to 60 sailors.

Navy Recognition learned during UDT 2017 in June that Saab is proposing its MCMV 80 design to the Belgian and Netherlands navies for their MCM vessel replacement program. We learned during our visit that Saab has now briefed the Belgian navy about the design.
 
 
Saab's MCMV 80 scale model during Navy Recognition's recent visit of the Kockums facility in Karlkrona, Southern Sweden.
 
Navy Recognition learned during UDT 2017 in June that Saab is proposing its MCMV 80 design to the Belgian and Netherlands navies for their MCM vessel replacement program. We learned during our visit that Saab has now briefed the Belgian Navy about the design.

Belgium is the lead nation for the joint procurement of next generation MCM vessels to replace the Tripartite-class ships of the Belgian Navy and Netherlands Navy. The two countries signed an MoU one year ago. According to our information, the Belgian Navy is very much sold to the idea of using its future MCM vessels as motherships to deploy unmanned systems. A test and evaluation campaign was conducted last summer with many key players in the industry.

The Swedish Navy will also be replacing its Koster-class MCM vessel in the next 10 years and Saab is anticipating that its MCMV 80 design will answer the Swedish Navy needs.

  
Saab's MCMV 80 scale model at UDT 2017. This configuration shows a 57mm main gun, a large helicopter deck and an integrated mast (similar to the LMV one) hosting several advanced sensors.
 
 
Saab's MCMV 80 scale model in a lighter configuration with an MSI Defence 25mm main gun, a smaller helicopter deck for VTOL UAVs and a simpler, more traditional mast. Also visible are two ISO containers, RHIBs and a USV.
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[*] posted on 1-12-2017 at 07:37 PM


I prefer this concept from earlier this year (Sept 2017)........



September 4, 2017

BMT introduces Venari 85 – candidate for future Royal Navy mine warfare vessel?

Ahead of DSEI 2017 (Defence & Security Equipment International) exhibition in London, BMT Defence Services has launched Venari-85, a new concept for a mine countermeasure (MCM) vessel. The RN is looking at options to replace its current generation of mine warfare and hydrographic vessels and this new design provides an intriguing hybrid for consideration.

Venari-85 is a flexible platform, future-proofed and able to evolve as technology advances in unmanned and offboard systems. BMT’s ship design experience has been combined with QinetiQ’s integration expertise, and drawing upon the experience of mine warfare operators from several different navies and suppliers, this concept has been designed to exploit the next generation of offboard vehicles, mission systems and operational concepts. Venari-85 can support new warfare and hydrographic technology and can support multiple air, surface and sub-surface unmanned vehicles.

A BMT spokesperson said “Venari-85 represents a huge step change in the way MCM ship design is approached and developed. Designing platforms with roles and future technology developments in mind seems the logical step but not one that’s often taken. Before attempting to design such a platform, we invested significant time and effort in operational analysis to better understand how the vessel will be deployed now and in the future, to comprehend the missions and the equipment needed to conduct them. Such an approach not only avoids compromise and repurposing costs in later years, it also maximises the ability to conduct effective MCM throughout life. ”

Alongside the primary MCM role, Venari can be used in other roles such as maritime security boarding, economic zone protection and contribution to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations – all of which reinforce the platform’s value for money credentials.

The Venari 85 concept can be tailored to the specific needs of the customer and provides:
- Mission spaces optimised for the prime mine warfare role.
- Hullform and hydrodynamics designed for a wide range of conditions and locations.
- Efficient and effective propulsion arrangement for speed, accuracy and manoeuvrability.
- Survivability measures and low radar signatures.
- Scaleable self-defence and surveillance capabilities.


Venari in action – mothership to multiple UAVs and UUVs

The RN is currently in the ‘assessment phase’ of its Mine countermeasures and Hydrographic Capability (MHC) programme looking at possible replacements for Sandown and Hunt class minehunters. The concept phase determined that these would be simple steel “mother ships” deploying unmanned, off-board systems (OBS) that take the man out of the minefield by conducting the hunting entirely using autonomous vehicles. Venari meets this criteria but adds further capability. It is significantly bigger than existing RN vessels, being really a hybrid OPV. The flight deck can host a manned helicopter, up to the size of the AW159 Wildcat, with facilities to provide in-flight refuelling of larger aircraft if required. (It is not the intention to permanently embark a manned helicopter, The hangar is intended for the stowage and support of UAVs). There is space on the forward deck that would allow mounting of a medium calibre gun.

This concept is very attractive as it would offer significant flexibility and increase the number of available patrol vessels. Unfortunately, it is difficult to imagine RN would get funding for sufficient of these potentially more capable vessels. The RN is already down to 15 minehunters. Selecting a Venari type concept would probably require trading some mine hunting capability for a broader patrol capability.

BMT continue to produce innovate naval concepts and, even if the RN does not take Venari forward, there are plenty of foreign navies that this hybrid approach may appeal to. BMT will also have a keen interest in whether their Venator-110 concept may be taken up by the RN when announcements on the Type 31e programme are made by the MoD at DSEI later this week.

Related articles
Venari-85 Data sheet (BMTDSL)

http://www.bmtdsl.co.uk/media/6889878/BMT-VENARI-85-Technica...
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[*] posted on 5-12-2017 at 01:16 PM


European Tender for Belgian and Dutch Mine Warfare Vessels

(Source: Marineschepen.nl; posted Dec. 01, 2017)

By Jaime Karremann (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)

Personally, I think the Dutch and Belgies are nuts to do this! ALL of the work should have been kept in the two respective countries................

The new Belgian and Dutch mine control vessels are being tendered at European level. For the first time in Dutch history, large naval ships are being put out to international tender, even as shipbuilding capacity to build them is available in their own country. The new ship class will consist of 12 ships, and management of the project is in Belgian hands.

Behind the scenes, the replacement of Dutch mine warfare capability project, which includes both the new vessels and related equipment, such as drones and remotely-operated vessels. As agreed, Belgium is in charge of this replacement program, while the Netherlands is in charge of the joint program to replace both navies’ M-frigates. Yesterday at the NIDV symposium in Ahoy, KTZ (TD) Paul Willemse presented plans for the replacement.

Until now, the Dutch navy was very closely involved in the design and construction of naval ships. The Defense Materiel Organization (DMO), and certainly its precursor Department of Materiel Royal Navy (DMKM), took a large part of the preparatory work, after which the design was completed together with the shipyard and the navy supervised the construction. The advantage of this is that there is a lot of knowledge about the design from the navy and also that the builder is familiar with the navy.

But the departments responsible for this have been decimated, while thanks to the three new construction projects, there is much more work to do. In addition, Belgium is in charge of the replacement.

Whereas in the past Dutch shipyards could count on orders from their own navies, this is completely different with the future construction of the mine-control vessels. Thanks to the international tender, every shipyard in the world can compete for the order of no fewer than 12 new ships. The technical specifications are jointly drawn up by the Belgian Directorate Material Resources (DG MR) and its Dutch counterpart, the DMO.

For the Netherlands, this way of working is new, Belgium has been working satisfactorily for years. The construction of two patrol vessels of the Castor class was also put out to tender in Europe. Dutch Damen also participated, but lost to a French shipyard. Belgium also has its own industry that can contribute to the construction of future mine-hunters, but the same rules apply to them as to other interested parties.

According to Willemse, there is now a lot of interest from abroad.

For the Netherlands, this means that the new six minehunters can deviate from the rest of the fleet, which is almost entirely built by Damen, both in terms of sensors, weapon systems and software. More concretely: the combat management system Guardion that was developed by the navy and can be found on almost all Dutch naval vessels, may not be found on the future mine control vessels. Instead, there will be commercial software from the manufacturer from country X on it.

According to Paul Willemse, that does not have to be a problem because a ship class of 12 is already a big family.

Willemse also wants to temper the expectations of adjusting a chosen design. The tender is just like all other tenders: Belgium and the Netherlands set the requirements and the builders make a proposal. If a design is chosen, it is not the intention that major changes are made to the design. Certainly, if the design is similar to a design by another builder, the project runs legal risks.

The European tender will really start in April 2018 with request for proposal. The first Belgian mine-warfare vessel must be delivered in 2023, while the first ship of this class flying a Dutch flag will follow in 2025.

Incidentally, for the replacement of the M-frigates, the Netherlands itself can determine how the tender will be arranged.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 5-12-2017 at 02:27 PM


They seemed to be infected by Euro-itis.

A dreadful disease that results in dessicated finances, wasting of the industrial muscle and sclerosis of decision making.




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[*] posted on 5-12-2017 at 02:32 PM


It's NOT like the Dutch, in particular, are short of ship-building capacity OR capability.............
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[*] posted on 30-12-2017 at 12:52 PM


Polish Navy inks $570M deal for minesweepers, rescue vessel

By: Jaroslaw Adamowski   8 hours ago


Poland’s ORP Kormoran minesweeper entered operational service in November 2017. (Polish Ministry of National Defence)

WARSAW, Poland — The Polish Ministry of Defence has signed a deal with a consortium formed by the Gdansk-based Remontowa Shipbuilding shipyard and the country’s defense giant PGZ to acquire two minesweeper vessels and one rescue vessel.

“We are rebuilding the Polish Navy, which was forgotten for many years,” Deputy Defence Minister Bartosz Kownacki said in a statement.

The ministry says the acquisitions, which are worth nearly 2 billion zloty (U.S. $570 million), will be part of its effort to modernize the country’s Navy and preserve Poland’s operational capacities in the Baltic Sea. The two minesweepers are scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in the years 2020 to 2021, Remontowa Shipbuilding said in a statement.

In addition to the minesweepers and one rescue vessel, Warsaw also aims to replace its outdated Kobben-class submarines with three new subs under a contract estimated to be worth some 10 billion zloty. Last August, the ministry decided to overhaul two of the Kobbens, but the subs are to be decommissioned, one in 2018 and another in 2020.

Remontowa Shipbuilding is a privately owned shipyard with a portolio of naval ships, cargo and offshore vessels, and ferries.

Headquartered in Radom, central Poland, PGZ consists of more than 60 companies with an aggregate workforce of 17,500. The state-run group’s total annual revenues are about 5 billion zloty.
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[*] posted on 10-1-2018 at 06:57 PM


Govt Nixes Rs 32,000 Crore ‘Make In India’ Minesweepers Project (excerpt)

(Source: Times of India; published Jan 8, 2018)

By Rajat Pandit

NEW DELHI --- In yet another major blow to the 'Make in India' plan+ in the defence sector, the government has cancelled the Rs 32,000 crore project to construct 12 advanced minesweepers in collaboration with South Korea at the Goa Shipyard.

Advanced minesweepers or mine counter-measure vessels (MCMVs) are around 900-tonne specialised warships that detect, track and destroy underwater mines laid by enemy forces to choke harbours and offshore installations, disrupt shipping and maritime trade.

The Navy, which began this acquisition case way back in July 2005, needs 24 MCMVs to guard the east and west coasts but is making do with only four 30-year-old minesweepers at present.

This "big operational capability gap" is all the more alarming because Chinese nuclear and conventional submarines, which can quietly lay mines, are regularly making forays into the Indian Ocean now.

Top sources say the government has directed the Goa Shipyard to start the entire process afresh for the already long-delayed MCMV project, which was strongly pushed by Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar when he was the defence minister, after scrapping the protracted commercial negotiations with South Korean shipyard Kangnam. "Goa Shipyard has been asked to issue a new global expression of interest (EoI) for the MCMVs. The fresh RFP (request for proposal) or tender will follow thereafter.

Final negotiations with Kangnam were stuck for long because it wanted deviations from the original RFP. There were also some ToT (transfer of technology), build strategy and cost problems," said a source. (end of excerpt)

[The "problem" was that the Koreans wanted too much, from an Indian viewpoint, for the ToT. There was neither a build strategy nor a cost problem apart from the ToT arguments - sheer BS to excuse Indian ineptitude]

Click here for the full story, on the Times of India website.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/govt-nixes-rs-3200...

-ends-
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[*] posted on 12-1-2018 at 08:05 PM


Surface Navy 2018: Saab’s MuMNS extends MCM operations

Geoff Fein - Jane's International Defence Review

11 January 2018


Saab's MuMNS is designed to increase the MCM operational tempo by carrying three charges as opposed to one. Source: Saab

Saab’s Multi-Shot Mine Neutralisation System [MuMNS] is expected to enter into test and evaluation with the French Navy and the UK Royal Navy (RN) toward the end of 2018.

MuMNS is a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that will be deployed from an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) built by ASV for Thales under the joint Maritime Mine Countermeasures (MMCM) programme.

MuMNS will replace the current way mine neutralisation is done, Chris Lade, defence sales manager for Saab, told Jane’s on 9 January at the annual Surface Navy Association conference in Arlington, Virginia.

The old way was to have a ROV carry a charge to the mine, drop it off, and then the mine blew up, he said. “That process was replaced by a one shot mine disposal system that is effectively an underwater missile with a [1 kg] shape charge that delivers a high-kinetic effect to the mine rather than a blast,” Lade said.

Saab combined the two to deliver a shaped charge from the vehicle.

The first reason for doing that is to reduce cost. Identifying that an object is not a target will result in fewer charges being wasted.

But Saab’s MuMNS goes further. Rather than one shot it has three, so it is multi shot, Lade noted. Having the extra shots means operators do not have to keep bringing MuMNS back to the mothership to be reloaded.

“You increase your operational tempo because you are not having to launch and recover the vehicle all the time,” Lade said.

MuMNS can be fitted with three silos in the front, for mine neutralisation, auxiliary equipment for mine immunisation and exploitation, or tooling, according to Saab.

(299 of 605 words)
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[*] posted on 1-2-2018 at 04:10 PM


Green Light for the Navy

(Source: Belgian Defence Forces; issued Jan 26, 2018)

(Issued in French and Dutch; unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)


The new Belgian-Dutch minehunters will allow safer and faster searches for naval mines thanks to the extensive use of unmanned systems. (BE MoD infographic)

The government’s Council of Ministers on January 26 approved the defence ministry’s plans to acquire six new-build mine countermeasures vessels (MCMV). The investment is valued at 1.1 billion euros.

The order will be awarded together with the Dutch Navy, which is also purchasing six similar vessels.

The Navy will replace the current mine action capability, based on our Tripartite Mine Hunters and the Godetia, with these new vessels. Our country will purchase six new vessels together with the Netherlands, which also plans to buy the same number of the same vessels. Belgium will be in charge of the project.

These new vessels will make maximum use of unmanned systems on, under and above water to detect and destroy mines. With these unmanned systems, the search for mines can be carried out more safely and faster compared to the current procedures.

According to this Belgian-Dutch "Next Generation" concept, these detection sensors will have to be disconnected from the launch platform in the future in order to be able to act more quickly, more efficiently and, above all, in greater security.

Our country currently has five mine action ships. They have to protect the shipping lanes and are deployed within the framework of NATO.

Belgium is also planning the purchase of two new frigates. The Netherlands, which will also order two frigates of the same type, will take the lead in this program.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 27-2-2018 at 06:31 PM


Video: ECA Group unveils the A18-M mid-size AUV for mine warfare

Posted On Monday, 26 February 2018 23:40

ECA Group unveiled the latest addition to its range of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV): The A18-M dedicated to mine counter measures. Navy Recognition attended the event and a live demonstration to bring you a video report on this new generation AUV.

The French defense company specialized in unmanned systems claims the A-18M’s compactness and unequaled high-quality imagery makes it the best underwater military drone dedicated to mine warfare on the market.


ECA Group's A-18M starts at 3.8 meters in length (can be longer depending on payload and modules) and is air transportable

[B]A18-M: compact, modular, connected and enduring[/B]

A18-M is an autonomous underwater vehicle developed by ECA Group for large area mine and classification in all water depths up to 300m.

“Some of main advantages of this AUV are its large endurance and payload capacity which make it able to host high performance sonar payloads, such as synthetic aperture sonar providing unprecedented detection and classification performance.” says Léonie Delacou, AUVs product manager at ECA Group.

Due to the high stability of the AUV, which is much less affected by waves than a surface ship or a towed system, very high image quality is obtained.

The AUV can also adapt its operating depth to the environmental conditions, avoiding blind zones due to sound speed stratification.

Advanced on-board processing allows to process the image data to extract a list of contacts which are relayed back to the command center using an advanced communication network, with an unmanned surface vessel acting as gateway. These contacts are then reviewed by expert sonar operators who may task other assets for identification and possibly disposal.

For accurate underwater navigation, A-18M is fitted with an iXBlue Phins III inertial navigation system as well as doppler velocity log and GPS.

Video: A-18M AUV, UMIS and the rest of the ECA Group naval range: https://youtu.be/3TCV7HBAgOE

SAS precision aboard a mid-size AUV

Due to the very high area coverage rate, of the order of 2km²/hr (between 5 and 10 times that of a classical side-looking sonar which could be mounted on the AUV), very large areas - of the order 20-40km2 depending on transit distance, can be covered in a fraction of the time of legacy assets (an MCM vessel would typically need 12 hours to cover 4km²), with far superior image quality, and with reduced risk to personnel.
The SAS fitted aboard the A-18M is an AQUAPIX MINSAS Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Sonar (SAS) by Canadian company Kraken Robotics.

“The performance gain is due to the very high resolution in both range and cross-range offered by a wideband SAS, of the order of 2.5cm x 3cm constant up to the edges of the swath, which is unachievable, at any practical range, by any other type of sonar on any type of platform. With the only possible exception of buried or concealed mines, all known mines can be detected and high quality classification cues can be extracted from the highlight and shadow structure.” says Dr. Marc Pinto Program Director for Systems of Robots and sonar expert at ECA Group.

More generally, the AUV is able also to detect any kind of hazard such as improvised explosive devices, pollutants, as well as provide very accurate maps of the seabed which allow the environment to be assessed with high fidelity.


A-18M has a speed of up to 6 knots and an endurance of up to 24 hours

A18-M joins the UMIS team to optimize operations at sea
AUV A18-M can be integrated within a larger unmanned system, such as ECA Group’s UMIS (Unmanned Maritime Integrated System) and benefit from common interfaces, communication network as well as data processing system.

“The A18-M joins now the ECA Group MCM robotic ‘team’ which is composed of the Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) Inspector MK2, the identification and classification ROV SEASCAN MK2 and the mine disposal vehicle, also called minekiller, the K-STER C. All of these robots can work together, accomplish tasks simultaneously and send gathered and automatically preprocessed information (ATD – automatic target detection) to a common command and control system to be processed for further mine hunting decision. This is the first comprehensive unmanned system including USV, AUVs, ROVS and EMDS, and in the near future also the UAV IT180 which is being navalized.“ says Daniel Scourzic, UMIS (Umanned Maritime Integrated Systems) Marketing Manager at ECA Group.

Operating in parallel several unmanned devices, the UMIS system allows the user to have higher efficiency and clearance rate, achieved in at least 3 times shorter period compared to the conventional mine hunting operations without any risks for operators who stay out of danger zones.




According to ECA Group, the A-18M’s compactness and unequaled high-quality imagery makes it the best underwater military drone dedicated to mine warfare on the market.
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[*] posted on 17-3-2018 at 01:53 PM


LCS Coastal Mine Reconnaissance module completes developmental testing

Michael Fabey, Washington, DC - Jane's Navy International

16 March 2018

The Coastal Mine Reconnaissance (CMR) mission module for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Mission Modules (MM) programme successfully completed developmental testing (DT) recently off the coast of southern California aboard USS Coronado (LCS 4), an Independence-class version of the LCS.

“This DT marks the last critical step in demonstrating the CMR mission module capability on the LCS Independence variant prior to fleet introduction,” Captain Theodore Zobel, LCS Mission Modules programme manager, said in a statement on 15 March.

More complex mine-warfare missions and initial operational test and evaluation were scheduled to begin later in March, Capt Zobel said.

The CMR mission module includes the MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle with its mission control system (MCS), the AN/DVS-1 Coastal Battlespace Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) system with the airborne payload subsystem, and the post-mission analysis subsystem, supporting software and support containers.

(164 of 344 words)
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[*] posted on 17-3-2018 at 09:16 PM


"Personally, I think the Dutch and Belgies are nuts to do this! ALL of the work should have been kept in the two respective countries................"

That would be illegal under the Single Market regulations . Though if you look at the purchasing policies of virtually any EU member country almost totally ignored
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[*] posted on 20-3-2018 at 09:08 AM


JMSDF commissions second Awaji-class minesweeper

Kosuke Takahashi, Tokyo - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

19 March 2018


The JMSDF commissioned JS Hirado, the second of three Awaji-class MCMVs in a ceremony held on 16 March in Kanagawa Prefecture. Source: JMSDF

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) commissioned its second of three Awaji-class mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs) in a ceremony held on 16 March in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Named JS Hirado (with pennant number 305), the 67 m-long vessel was inducted into the service’s 1st Mine Warfare Force – based in Yokosuka – shortly after being handed over by shipbuilder Japan Marine United Corporation (JMU) at the company’s facility in Yokohama, according to a JMSDF statement.

Hirado was launched in February 2017 and began sea trials in September 2017. The first vessel of the class, JS Awaji , was commissioned in March 2017, while the third one is expected to enter service in 2021.

According to Jane’s Fighting Ships, the Awaji class has a crew complement of 60, a standard displacement of 690 tonnes, a beam of 11 m, and a draught of 5.2 m. Each of the vessels in service is powered by two diesel engines of 2,200 hp each and has a stated top speed of 14 kt.

The hull of these platforms has been constructed from a composite fibre-reinforced plastic material to reduce weight as well as the magnetic signature of the platforms during minesweeping operations. The material is also highly corrosion-resistant, according to the JMSDF.

(231 of 269 words)
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[*] posted on 23-3-2018 at 09:35 AM


Navy Wraps Up Testing on Drone-Based Minehunting System


A common unmanned surface vehicle patrols for intruders during Trident Warrior 2011 on July 20, 2011. The experimental boat can operate autonomously or by remote. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Scott Youngblood)

Military.com 22 Mar 2018 By Kris Osborn

The Navy has completed developmental testing of an emerging drone-base mine detection system designed to identify surface mines and beach or coastal obstacles after launching from a Littoral Combat Ship, service officials said.

The Coastal Mine Reconnaissance system, now much closer to operational status, supports the mine-countermeasures mission package for the LCS, a collection of integrated technologies geared toward finding and destroying sea mines.

The CMR mission module consists of an MQ-8B Fire Scout drone and the AN/DVS-1 Coastal Battlespace Reconnaissance and Analysis, or COBRA, sensor. COBRA reached operational status last year after completing Initial Operational Test and Evaluation on the MQ-8B.

Operating aboard the USS Coronado, or LCS 4, the CMR conducted developmental testing by performing nine specific missions. According to a Navy statement, testing points consisted of mission-tasking from a shore-based commander, flying planned missions, and downloading and analyzing collected data.

The CMR also uses a web system called MINEnet Tactical, which supports mine warfare command and control, Navy developers said.

Given that the LCS is engineered to use its shallow draft, speed and maneuverability to conduct combat operations in littoral waters near enemy coastlines, having an improved technological capacity to find and detect enemy mines and submarines near the surface expands its mission envelope and provides needed protection for offensive ship operations.

Previously, such reconnaissance was possible only by putting sailors or Marines on the beach in advance of a landing, exposing them to casualties and revealing an intended landing zone, a Navy statement said.

The CMR is an integral part of the mine-countermeasures mission package for LCS, which also includes MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopters, undersea drones such as Knifefish, and unmanned mine-hunting surface vessels.

Alongside CMR, the Navy plans to deploy fast, high-tech surface drones equipped with advanced wireless technology able to find, attack and ultimately destroy underwater enemy mines, all while operating at safe distance from a larger manned surface host ship such as an LCS, service officials said.

Naval Sea Systems Command is working with industry to develop, assess and analyze mine-neutralization technologies for its emerging Mine Countermeasures Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MCM USV) -- a multi-mission surface drone countermine platform slated to be operational by 2019, Navy developers said.

"MCM USV will 'take the man out of the minefield' when it comes to Navy mine countermeasures operations," said Alan Baribeau, spokesman for Naval Sea Systems Command.

The current exploration of mine-neutralization technology is happening alongside the ongoing integration of advanced sonar mine-hunting payloads onto the USV -- the AQS-20 and AQS-24, Baribeau explained.

Overall, the MCM USV represents the next iteration of surface-drone technology, extending beyond the mine-detecting Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) now going through testing and builders trials, Navy developers said.

The developing technology is part of a longer-term Navy effort to go beyond detection and succeed in destroying mines as well.
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