Thales and MHI Team up for Autonomous Mine Detection


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 finalization of a bilateral defense 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-Defense Force will be an improved autonomous MCM system capable of detecting, classifying and localizing 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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