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EDA launches next phase of Modular Lightweight Minesweeping project

MLM NG aims to demonstrate the use of Modular Lightweight Minesweeping in an operational setting. (EDA)

The European Defence Agency (EDA) has launched the third phase of its Modular Lightweight Minesweeping (MLM) project.

Phase three, called MLM Next Generation (MLM NG) and announced by the EDA on 1 July, aims to further raise the technology readiness level (TRL) of systems developed within the two previous phases of the programme and demonstrate the use of MLM in an operational setting. The project will also explore tactics and procedures for such systems.

With a budget allocation of around EUR9.3 million (USD10.01 million), the MLM NG project will be managed by the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (Forsvarets forskningsinstitutt: FFI) in collaboration with a multinational consortium of 10 companies from six member states, including Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, and Poland.

A number of European navies are planning to replace or re-introduce their maritime minesweeping capability, with most concepts being based around a flexible solution with autonomous and remotely operated sweeping systems. The aim of future minesweeping solutions is to develop more compact and lighter-weight sweep sources that can be operated from smaller unmanned surface vessels.

Against this backdrop, the EDA's MLM programme during the last decade has sought to demonstrate modular lightweight sweep technology through a combination of theoretical studies, modelling, component evaluations, and at-sea testing.

The first and second phases of the programme, conducted between 2011–14 (MLM) and 2018–21 (MLM II), produced demonstrators and proved the feasibility of the modular and lightweight concept for minesweeping.

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