France, UK initiate manufacturing phase of joint mine counter measures programme

French company ECA Group will supply six autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) derived from the A27-M AUV during this stage. Photo: ECA Group

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) and French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) are continuing their collaboration on the combined maritime mine counter measures programme with an agreement to transit to the manufacturing phase.

The agreement, signed at Euronaval on October 20 between Harriet Baldwin, Minister for Defence Procurement in the UK and Laurent Collet-Billon, General Director for French Procurement Agency, was welcomed by Thales, BAE Systems and their partners SAAB, ECA Group and ASV Global – the companies involved in the programme.

Initiated in 2010 the project is developing a prototype autonomous system for detection and neutralisation of sea mines and underwater improvised explosive devices (UWIEDs).

The next stage of the programme will involve taking the first stage designs into a complete, manufactured system for assessment by the Royal Navy and the French Navy.

BAE Systems naval ships combat Systems Director, Richard Williams, saidd: “We are pleased to be starting stage two of the combined United Kingdom and French MMCM programme, which is a key milestone in the transformation of MCM capabilities and the future operational use of unmanned naval systems.”

Dan Hook, Managing Director at ASV Global: “We’re excited to progress to this next stage of the contract which will see the build of the next generation of MMCM platform following on from the Halcyon demonstrator platform showcased at the Royal Navy’s recent Unmanned Warrior exercise.”

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