UK and France sign autonomous production contract for minehunting

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The UK and France will sign a production contract for the Joint Maritime Mine Action Project (MMCM) this month.The UK and France worked together on the project to develop an autonomous minehunting capability. Recent tests off the coasts of the UK and France have proven the system’s ability to detect sea mines.

Following the production contract, the Royal Navy and the French Navy will reach their operational capacity in 2022.

MMCM is a “system of systems” comprising unequipped surface ships (USV), unequipped submarine vessels (UUV), sensors, command and control systems, and mine neutralization systems.

The UK and France revealed news of the impending production contract in a joint statement by UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and his French counterpart Florence Parly, released yesterday by the two countries on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Lancaster House Treaty.

The joint statement reads: “Our Joint Maritime Mine Action Project (MMCM) has made significant progress in developing a world leading autonomous minehunting system. The sea trials carried out on the French and British coasts in 2020 proved the ability of autonomous vehicles to clear sea mines.

“The production contract will be signed later in November and the first operational capacities will be delivered in 2022.”

Testing of the system is underway and should be completed by the end of the year. The test results will inform the acceptance of the final MMCM demonstrator.

The ongoing MMCM project is also being used by the UK to inform its Mine Countermeasures and Hydrographic Capacity (MHC) program, with the evaluation and testing of the former helping to inform future investment plans for the latter. .

The Royal Navy is also using MMCM to support its wider adoption of autonomous systems.



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