UK and France Team up for Undersea Robotic Defence Force

By Gary Cutlack on at

The UK and French ministries of war are coming together to create a seafaring fleet of UAVs, with the ability to find and defuse underwater mines all by themselves.

According to hardware maker Thales, which is designing and building the system in collaboration with BAE, the Maritime Mine Counter Measures system uses a variety of modern tech to locate and dismantle abandoned wartime sea mines -- in a fully autonomous stylee.

There will be many components needed to get it all working together. An unmanned surface vehicle will house the autonomous navigation system, while ROVs work to identify and disable detected mines. The stuff will all know what's happening thanks to a Towed Synthetic Aperture Sonar unit that pings the sea for deadly devices. The bots will then do their jobs either fully autonomously or with assistance from a host ship or remote shore-based station.

BAE is providing quite a lot of the technology too; building the Mission Management System and other tools as well as supplying the actual undersea ROVs to do the cold and dirty work. Once designed and built, the tools should be delivered to the French Navy and Royal Navy for two years of testing. [PopSci]