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.”