Parasail based system could speed minefield clearance

Written by Nick Blenkey
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he Towed Airborne Lift of Naval Systems (TALONS) is a parafoil-based system shown here kiting from the Greenough Advanced Rescue Craft. TALONS relays data between the MCM USV and the LCS via the government-developed multi-vehicle communication relays system (Photo by U.S. Navy)

The Navy has demonstrated a parasail-based system to extend the distance at which Littoral Combat Ships can communicate with Mine Countermeasures (MCM) Mission Packages deployed within a mine threat area.

The MCM Mission Package (MP) supports MCM operations through the employment of aviation assets and unmanned surface, semi-submersible and submersible vehicles that are equipped with an array of sensors and systems to detect, localize and neutralize surface, near surface, in-volume and bottom mines.

These systems are designed to be employed while the LCS remains outside the mine threat area. The MCM MP also provides the capability to sweep mines and detect beach zone and buried mines.

The Navy is evaluating the somewhat unhandily-named Greenough Advanced Rescue Craft (GARC) and Towed Airborne Lift of Naval Systems (TALONS) prototype as a means of providing enhanced communication ranges for the MCM Mission Package that could reduce the time to clear a minefield. A week-long demonstration was completed October 6.

“This achievement marks an important landmark in the potential acquisition of an enhanced communication range solution for the Navy,” said Capt. Godfrey Weekes, LCS Mission Module program manager. “From concept to at-sea demonstration within 10 months is quite remarkable and is in alignment with senior Navy direction toward rapid acquisition.”

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