BAE Systems has been awarded a £87 million (EUR 95 million) contract by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to provide Archerfish mine neutralisers for the U.S. Navy. Archerfish is a remote-controlled underwater mine neutraliser that can be launched and operated from a surface vessel, helicopter or an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV).
Archerfish uses a fibre optic data link to relay real-time, high resolution, low-light video and high-frequency sonar images of targets of interest, allowing naval forces to complete mine clearance missions more rapidly without putting divers at risk. The flexible, open architecture command and control system allows it to be operated as a standalone unit or integrated into a higher-level command management structure, with wireless communications for remote deployment.
BAE Systems continues to develop Archerfish for future mine countermeasure challenges, with forthcoming enhancements including innovative fusing that will allow it to be recovered and reused, and an automatic target recognition function that will allow concurrent multi-shot Archerfish operations, enabling mines to be neutralised in waves.
The system is used by the US Navy’s MH-60S Helicopter squadrons (AN/ASQ-235) as part of the Airborne Mine Neutralisation capability, deployed from the Littoral Combat Ship. BAE’s contract with the Navy includes the supply of fibre optic spool kits, support equipment, surveys, repairs and programme management and support, which will be provided by the Archerfish project team based in Portsmouth, UK.
Dr Brooke Hoskins, Director of Products and Training Services for BAE Systems’ Maritime Services business, commented: “This contract builds on our strong partnership with the US Navy which has seen BAE Systems supporting its minesweeping operations for almost two decades. Archerfish not only helps to keep sailors safer, it also reduces the number and cost of mine clearance missions. Its world-leading capability and outstanding service with the US Navy makes Archerfish a highly attractive proposition to other major naval forces around the world.”