DSEI 2023: Exail in advanced negotiations with Australia for mine countermeasure capabilities
By contrast with Exail's existing clients for UMIS (Belgium and the Netherlands) Australia is opting for a modular version of the system which is compatible with most of types of ships or can be used from onshore.
The UMIS system, displayed at DSEI 2023, consists of several types of uncrewed vehicles, including AUVs, USVs, UAVs and mine identification and destruction systems (MIDS).
According to a company representative, in the first stage of an MCM operation the Inspector 125 USV performs initial mapping of the mine-contaminated sea zones of sea, along with an A-18-M or A9-M AUV (the latter being a light man-portable version).
Later, a Seascan AUV will scan the area for detailed identification and mapping of the mines. Using this information, the operator on the mothership or ashore can deploy single-use K-STER AUVs to hard-kill the mines.
Control over the operation is provided via a container-based integrated C3 centre, which uses Umisoft software. Depending on the customer, the system can be operated by line of sight or further away if the USV has a SATCOM terminal installed.
According to the representative, the upcoming contract will include full production of the system in Australia, as well as development of a modular version of UMIS.
In 2019, the Belgian and Netherlands navies awarded a contract to the Belgium Naval & Robotics (BNR) consortium, consisting of Naval Group and ECA (now known as Exail). This agreement involves provision of a total of 12 vessels, with six allocated to each nation, as well as approximately 100 drones designed exclusively for stand-off MCM operations at sea.
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