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Unmanned vessel to demonstrate mine hunting capability

Written by Marine Log Staff
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Atlas Elektronik’s ARCIMS USV will be operated via remote control while towing the AQS-24B through a simulated mine field

SEPTEMBER 16, 2016—Northrop Grumman Corporation recently announced that it would demonstrate its unmanned mine hunting capability in the Royal Navy’s Unmanned Warrior exercise.

The unmanned mine hunting element of Unmanned Warrior will feature Northrop Grumman’s AQS-24B towed mine hunting sensor operated from an Atlas Elektronik UK ARCIMS Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV). The AQS-24B, which is a towed mine hunting sensor used by the U.S. Navy, uses high-speed synthetic aperture sonar for mine detection, localization and classification, and an optical laser line scan sensor for mine identification.

As part of the demonstration, Atlas Elektronik’s ARCIMS USV will be operated via remote control while towing the AQS-24B through a simulated mine field. The ARCIMS USV is an 11m platform with a large open deck space and a four-ton payload capacity. It has been specifically designed for unmanned military applications with a shock resistant hull and a low platform underwater signature.  It has two waterjet propulsion units for maneuverability and a top speed of over 40 knots.

Late last year, Atlas Elektronik UK together with parent company Atlas Elektronik GmbH, delivered an ARCIMS multi-role USV to the German Naval Technical Center, WTD71, based at the Eckernfoerde Naval Base.

In 2015, Atlas Elektronik UK was awarded a contract by the UK Ministry of Defence to supply the Royal Navy with an Autonomous Minesweeping Capability.

“We look forward to participating in Unmanned Warrior and demonstrating how innovative, state of the art U.K. and U.S. technologies can come together to advance unmanned military capabilities that can potentially benefit both navies as well as those of our allies,” said Andrew Tyler, chief executive, Northrop Grumman Europe.

Unmanned Warrior, which takes place at MoD exercise areas in Scotland and the Western Isles in October, is part of the biannual Joint Warrior exercise, and is the largest capability demonstration event of its kind. It will feature more than 40 unmanned vehicles, sensors and systems demonstrating, in a challenging environment, key military missions for the Royal Navy in a series of themed activities including mine-hunting, sea surveying, submarine simulation and fleet reconnaissance. The exercise will help inform the Royal Navy’s future capability planning and demonstrate how the systems being showcased deliver maritime situational awareness.

The demonstration of unmanned systems overlaid onto the Joint Warrior exercise scenario will create a challenging environment for the participants and allow the Royal Navy to see first-hand how the systems and sensors could integrate into current and future maritime operations.

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