Following the first phase of the program carried out in 2015, France and the United Kingdom marked the tenth anniversary of the Lancaster House treaties by signing a joint contract for Thales to start the production phase of MMCM to deliver 8 unmanned mine hunting systems (4 for France and 4 for the United Kingdom).
With 50 years of expertise serving navies around the world, Thales develops technologies that enable the transition from conventional solutions, such as minehunters, to unmanned solutions. The MMCM program is the first step in the renewal of the operational concept for mine warfare in France and the United Kingdom, based on the use of unmanned systems which could potentially replace traditional minehunters.
This is a step change in capability, improving performances, productivity and removing the need to place members of the armed forces in harm’s way. It strengthens the leadership of the French Navy and Royal Navy as world leaders in both mine hunting and unmanned systems in the maritime domain.
The subsystems developed for the programme by Thales and its partners include Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USV) to transport and connect solutions and a cutting-edge sonar (SAMDIS) offering unique Single Path Multi View capability to identify and classify threats. The SAMDIS sonar can be carried by Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) or by Towed Synthetic Aperture Multiviews (TSAM) vehicle operated from the USV. The USV can also carry a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to neutralize the threats. The entire system is remotely supervised by operators working from a Portable Operational Centre (POC) capable of controlling up to three systems in parallel at sea.
MMCM is the only proven system to offer advanced technologies, including autonomy, to improve performance and productivity thanks to the combination of unrivalled real time user experience using big data exchanges with trusted augmented artificial intelligence (A2I) to provide huge improvement of customer trust in operation clearance and increase the security of national interests. The open-architecture approach to MMCM allows these new technologies to be easily integrated into the overall system, providing the navies with the opportunity to introduce new operational capabilities, in a planned way, throughout the life of the system.
Thales is now fully committed to deliver the first operational systems to French and British navies by 2022.