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Royal Navy to trial minehunter USV in the Gulf

Date: 16 Feb 2023 Author: Chief Editor

🎯 USV that can search for and detect underwater threats has arrived in the Gulf, in an important step towards autonomous mine-hunting operations, and a demonstration of the UK’s continued commitment to the Middle East. Royal Navy Motor Boat Harrier (RNMB Harrier) is part of the ten-year programme for replacing the Navy’s current fleet of mine counter measure vessels and her time in the region will lay the foundation for future autonomous kit.

While deployed for operations, the 11-metre boat will work with host ship RFA Cardigan Bay to conduct a series of demonstrations and trials that will prove her ability to operate in the harsh and demanding weather conditions of the Gulf.

Harrier is capable of operating both autonomously (pre-programmed to conduct a mission) or remotely from a ship or shore-based remote control centre. She tows a side-scan sonar behind her to look for mines on the seabed, alerting units ashore or at sea of their whereabouts. In the future, she will also work with remotely operated underwater vehicles and a mine sweeping system.

The tests will be key for seeing how the Atlas remote-controlled mine sweeper boat deals with hot climates, having already proved her ability in UK waters. She will face water temperatures of more than 30C in the summer, very different from her previous home of Faslane.

A move towards autonomous mine-hunting will enable the Royal Navy to counter the rapidly evolving threat of modern sea mines while reducing the risk to sailors.

🎤 Lieutenant Commander Mark Shaw, commanding officer of Mission System Team One in the Mine Threat Exploitation Group, said: “We are excited to be involved in the Mine Hunting Capability programme which will transition the Royal Navy from a ship-based mine counter measures (MCM) capability to maritime autonomous off-board systems.

⚙ Specifications of RNMB Harrier:
🔹 Designer\Builder – Atlas Elektronik UK
🔹 LOA – 11 m
🔹 Payload – Side Scan Sonar and AUV

📃📷 Source: Royal Navy