There are threats from mines and improvised explosive devices in all conflicts in which naval forces are involved. That is why the countries must strengthen and protect their maritime dominance as well as guarantee the protection of their assets and guarantee free movement. civil navigation. Likewise, limiting human exposure to mines is vital.
To this end, Thales is developing technologies that enable the transition from traditional solutions such as mine hunters to other more up-to-date and unmanned solutions. The “Maritime Mine Counter Measures” (MMCM) program is the first step in the renewal of the operational concept for mine warfare in France and Great Britain. based on the use of unmanned systems that could potentially replace traditional mine hunters.
After an initial phase of the program in which two demonstrators demonstrated their success and operational performance at sea. France and the UK have signed an agreement with Thales to start the production phase of MMCMs. All of this to deliver eight unmanned mine-hunting systems (four for France and four for the UK). Thales, along with its main partners in this project, ECA Group, Saab and L3Harris; They must deliver these systems to both navies from 2022. This program also testifies to the exemplary cooperation between the two countries on industrial plants.
It is certainly a radical shift in skills aimed at improving performance, increasing productivity, and thereby limiting the need to put members of the armed forces at risk. Subsystems developed by Thales and its partners for the program include unmanned surface vehicles (UPS), designed to transport and connect solutions, and a state-of-the-art SAMDIS probe that provides multiple functions for managing the route to the Identification and classification of threats. The SAMDIS sonar can be carried by autonomous underwater AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles) or by a tow vehicle with TSAM (Towed Synthetic Aperture Multiviews) with synthetic aperture and multi-view, which is operated from the UPS. The UPS can also carry a remote controlled vehicle ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) to neutralize threats. The entire system is remotely monitored by operators who work from a portable operations center and can control up to three systems at sea in parallel.
The MMCM mentioned above is a well-established system that offers advanced technologies, including its operational autonomy, and also improves performance and productivity thanks to the combination of real-time user experience. For this purpose, a large data exchange is used, which is managed by advanced and reliable artificial intelligence (A2I). This leads to a significant improvement in customer trust. This is the result of Thales’ open architecture approach. These new technologies can be easily integrated into the overall system. This gives the marine the ability to introduce new planned operational capabilities throughout the life of the system. (Antonio Ros Pau)
Photo (Thales): The MMCM system enables the transition from traditional solutions such as mine hunters to other more up-to-date and unmanned solutions.
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