CBRNE & EOD Defence

Thales targets April 2020 delivery for MMCM demonstrators

14 June 2019

Apollo at sea off Brest on 7 June. The yellow TSAM tow body is visible aft. Source: Richard Scott/NAVYPIX

Thales is working to complete integration, testing, and qualification of Maritime Mine Countermeasures (MMCM) demonstrator systems planned to be delivered to France and the UK in April 2020.

Being jointly funded by the two nations, the MMCM programme covers the design, development, integration, and qualification of two offboard minehunting 'system of systems' that are capable of autonomous detection, classification, identification, and neutralisation operations. MMCM provides the basis for France's next-generation Système de Lutte Anti-Mines - Futur (SLAM-F) programme, and is informing the UK's future MCM and Hydrographic Capability (MHC) programme.

The Thales-led industry team was selected to lead the programme in March 2015. Following the completion of Phase 1 definition activities, European defence procurement agency OCCAR (on behalf of France's Direction Générale de L'armement and the UK's Defence Equipment and Support organisation) in October 2016 awarded Thales a follow-on contact for the build and qualification of two prototype/demonstrator systems: one for delivery to the French Navy, the other for the UK Royal Navy.

Phase 1 defined a primary system architecture including: a towed synthetic aperture sonar (SAS)-equipped unmanned surface vehicle (USV) and three SAS-configured autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) for detection classification and localisation; a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for identification and multi-shot mine neutralisation and a portable operations centre (POC) suitable for deployment ashore or on board a suitable host vessel.

As well as taking the overall programme lead, Thales is supplying its multi-aspect SAMDIS SAS for the USV Towed Synthetic Aperture Module (TSAM) and the AUV, the associated PRACTIS sonar data analysis tool, a retractable 2D mine and obstacle avoidance sonar (MOAS) for the USV, and the POC. Thales has adapted its own M-Cube MCM command system to serve as the mission management system (MMS) solution.

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