New RAN Minehunting Drone Trials Craft

Photo and text by Chris Sattler

The RAN is presently attempting to bring into service – along with its contractor Thales – a ‘grab bag’ of deployable systems under Project 1778 ( Task Group MCM Phase 1) consisting of three medium sized ‘Bluefin 12’ autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), four smaller ‘Bluefin 9’ AUVs, five Steber 12 meter boats (based on Steber’s GP Harbor Launches) with three configured as support boats and the others as autonomous Minesweeping Drones. These USVs will be used to tow components of the Dyad Sweep system mentioned above. The RAN will also introduce for the first time, the expendable Seafox Mine Disposal weapon which will be deployable from the two Steber craft configured for support operations (two rounds per boat). In addition, the Clearance Diving teams will receive some upgraded control systems for underwater demolition charges and six ROTINOR dive scooters

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