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Canadian USVs to imitate FIAC threat

17th August 2010 - 11:30 by Andrew White in London

The Canadian Navy and Meggitt Training Systems (MTS) Canada are working up plans to use unmanned surface vessels (USVs) to imitate fast inshore attack craft (FIAC) as part of a maritime counter-terrorism exercise in 2011.

Following on from its ‘Swarm Exercise’ demonstration in May which proved multiple Hammerhead USVs could be operated simultaneously, counter-FIAC tactics, techniques and procedures will be incorporated into the multi-national exercise ‘Trident Fury’, due to take place off the West coast of Canada in May 2011.

According to MTS Canada president Spencer Fraser, the exercise will include another ‘first class navy’ on top of Canadian air and naval forces and will feature live engagement of up to 16 FIACs in a single attack. Following the successful terrorist attack on the USS Cole in 2000 by a manned boat rigged with explosives, a number of major NATO navies have since released requirements to defend against such a capability.

MTS Canada will supply 16 Hammerhead FIAC unmanned and expendable kill targets which can be operated by no more than four controllers and mission commander, Fraser said. With top speeds of 35 knots and 24 hour endurance, the Hammerheads will advance towards the maritime task force before being engaged in a live-fire exercise by assets including F15, F16 and F18 aircraft, as yet undisclosed helicopter assets and ship defence systems including the Phalanx close-in weapon system, Fraser told Unmanned Vehicles.

In May, MTS Canada successfully proved it could simultaneously operate 16 Hammerhead FIACs using UHF half-duplex radio communications, giving the green light to go-ahead with preparations for Exercise Trident Fury.

Defence sources told UV that asymmetric threats from small boats and FIACs were ‘very relevant’ in the current operational environment and cited Iran’s ‘Great Prophet 5’ exercise in April as well as threats centred around the Korean Peninsula.

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