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DSEI Japan 2023: IHI develops UUV for mine detection

A conceptual image, displayed at DSEI Japan 2023, showing how the UUV and semi-submersible USV developed by IHI Corporation will work together with the mother vessel to counter mines. (Janes/Oishee Majumdar)

Japanese heavy-industry manufacturer, IHI Corporation, has developed an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) to detect mines. The system has been delivered to the Japan Coast Guard and will also be provided to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), a company official told Janes at DSEI Japan 2023 being held in Chiba from 15 to 17 March.

“Two units of the UUV are in service with the Japan Coast Guard,” the official said.

IHI has also entered into a research and development (R&D) partnership with the JMSDF for the UUV and plans to provide at least one unit of the system to the JMSDF in 2024, the official added.

According to company specifications, the UUV is 5 m in length and weighs about 990 kg. It has a speed of up to 4 kt, an endurance of up to 24 hours, and a maximum operational depth of 3,000 m.

The UUV works in conjunction with a semi-submersible unmanned surface vessel (USV), also developed by IHI.

The company said that once the UUV has received command from a mother vessel to obtain information necessary for mine identification in a particular target area, the UUV “observes the target area in detail through an optical video camera, while keeping its position parallel to the tide, and then sends an optical image of [any mine-like detected] object to the mother vessel by way of the semi-submersible USV, allowing the mother vessel to identify mines in the sea”.

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