The Royal Navy has ordered three autonomous minesweeping systems for the detection and destruction of sea mines, under a £35 million (€28.2 million) contract announced by the UK MoD on 19 January. The first system is due to be delivered in late 2022.

The Combined Influence Minesweeping (SWEEP) system, designed by Atlas Elektronik UK, will be the Royal Navy’s first un-crewed minesweeper. It will allow personnel to neutralise mines from a remote and safe distance at sea while on operations worldwide, keeping sailors safe.

Using highly innovative technology, SWEEP will detect more modern and smarter digital sea mines, which target ships and submarines passing overhead. Each SWEEP system comprises an autonomous surface vessel that tows a sensor unit, which uses magnetic, acoustic and electric technology to identify and neutralise various types of sea mines. The system is controlled by a portable command centre, which can be based at sea or on land.

The SWEEP technology, which has been developed in the UK, can be rapidly deployed by land, sea and air and will offer increased protection to military and commercial vessels. (Photo: Crown copyright)

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