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Unmanned Vehicles

Thales and MHI team up for autonomous mine detection

30th March 2021 - 08:32 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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OZZ-5 autonomous underwater mine countermeasure detection vehicle. (Photo: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries)

French and Japanese companies to jointly develop a dual-frequency sonar demonstrator for mine countermeasures.

Thales and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) are collaborating to develop a dual-frequency sonar demonstrator for mine countermeasures (MCM) aboard an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). 

This followed the finalisation of a bilateral defence co-operation agreement between the French procurement agency DGA and its Japanese counterpart, the Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency.

The result for the French Navy and Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force will be an improved autonomous MCM system capable of detecting, classifying and localising all types of mines, Thales announced in a 30 March statement.

Thales will provide its SAMDIS HF synthetic aperture radar, while MHI will provide its low-frequency synthetic aperture sonar and the OZZ-5 AUV.  The system will be evaluated in French and Japanese waters.

Integration of the high- and low-frequency sonars, ‘coupled with a combined automatic detection and classification function, will not only provide capability and performance enhancement into a single solution but will also mutually benefit each sonar’s processing and imaging’, Thales noted.   

The French company added that the five-year project ‘is a stepping-stone for Franco-Japanese cooperation in mine action and further consolidates the existing partnership between MHI and Thales’.

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