Atlas Elektronik Demonstrates Fully Unmanned MCM Detect-to-Engage Mission
BREMEN, Germany — Atlas Elektronic Group successfully demonstrated a complete unmanned mine countermeasures (MCM) detect-to-engage mission at the Belgium Navy’s North Sea Unmanned MCM Trials, the company said in a June 20 release.
On June 11, the Atlas Elektronik UK ARCIMS (Atlas Remote Combined-Influence Minesweeping System) unmanned surface vessel (USV) departed a Belgian naval base fitted with a towed AQS-24B mine-hunting sonar from Northrop Grumman and the SeaFox mine disposal system from Atlas Elektronic Group. ARCIMS transit to the tactical training area was independent of any support from the Coastal Patrol Vessel for the 36-kilometer passage.
Once in the operational area, a six-hour “detect-to-engage” mission was carried out using both remote control and autonomous operations. This included 12 square kilometers of continuous mine-hunting survey at 14 knots with two laser identification runs and a SeaFox engagement against a mine contact that had been detected and classified by the towed sonar. Atlas Elektronik’s new station keeping autonomy behavior was utilized to position the ARCIMS for accurate and stable launch and delivery of SeaFox mine disposal mission.
“The demonstration offered a fantastic opportunity to conduct a complete unmanned end to end mission,” said Mark Bezzant, Atlas Elektronik UK trials manager, “using multiple MCM toolbox components from a single USV.”
Throughout the realistic tactical scenario, the ARCIMS detect-to-sngage mission package received command and control (C2) from the MCM commander based on BNS Pollux, which maintained a mobile stand-off distance and utilized a radio communications system that was fitted to the vessel and tested in just one hour.
“The combined system delivered and demonstrated to the Belgian trials has presented Atlas Elektronik Group as a world leading provider of offboard and unmanned mission systems,” said John Sutcliffe, Atlas Elektronik director of business sevelopment. “Future deployment of our ARCIMS mission system and MCM toolbox will allow the manned C2 platform to remain outside of the minefield, increase the speed of mine detection and engage mine threats remotely thereby reducing the risk to military personnel.”