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July 10, 2002

SWATH MINE COUNTERMEASURES VESSEL

Germany launches mine hunter project
The German Parliament has approved the award of an ambitious R&D program for future Mine Counter Warfare at sea--Minehunting 2000--to a consortium consisting of Abeking & Rasmussen, EADS, Lürssen and STN ATLAS Elektronik .

The aim is to develop a remote controlled mine hunting drone as an improvement on the German navy's existing Troika Influential Sweep Drone, which saw action e.g. in the Persian Gulf.

A key requirement of the program is a platform that allows operation even under adverse weather and sea conditions. This requirement favors SWATH technology and Abeking & Rasmussen will contribute its SWATH@A&R system to the new R&D program.

The new Mine Hunting Drone design will derive directly from a commercial design: two 25 m SWATH@A&R pilot tenders that were delivered by Abeking & Rasmussen in 1999.

Fo r three years these vessels have proven their ability to operate under adverse weather conditions in tough, day to day work in the North Sea. On average 10,000 boardings are carried out from these vessels every year, transferringi pilots to and from shipson one the busiest shipping routes of the world, the Elbe Approach. This, says Abeking & Rasmussen, equates to 10,000 "more or less controlled collisions with much larger ships."

The operational reliability of the concept has thus already been proven. The next steps will be the design and construction of a demonstrator version, which will be used for testing various operational elements, including launching and retrieving of the towed sonar carrier. This demonstrator version will be financed by industry and leased to the German Navy for the trials only.

Parallel to these operational trials, the military version will be designed with all aspects of naval mine warfare vessels, this will be verified by construction of a testi section that will be subjected to live blasting by a sea mine.

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