The UK Ministry of Defense will spend £17 million on a fleet of sea drones after signing a contract with French arms giant Thales.
The drones will be developed with the MoD’s French counterpart, the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA). The MoD claims the vehicles will be used mainly for mine clearance.
The initiative aims to develop two kinds of unmanned maritime vehicle – a submarine and a surface craft – to meet the operational criteria of both nations.
While headed by Thales, the consortium which will work on the project includes British defense firm BAE.
Philip Dunne, a UK defense minister, said: “The development of unmanned maritime systems is a new and exciting area for both the UK and France.
“By working together and drawing on a common vision for unmanned underwater systems, we will be able to explore the military, technological, financial and skills benefits that developing this maritime capability could bring.”
“This work also feeds into the Government’s Defense Growth Partnership, aimed at ensuring the UK’s Defense Sector grows in the future by strengthening our global center of excellence and inspiring the next generation.”
Head of UK Defense Materials, Bernard Gray, said: “Both the UK and France recognize the potential for unmanned vehicles to counter the threat of sea-mines.
“Both nations are committed to developing a prototype for the Maritime Mine Counter Measures demonstrator to test the feasibility of using remotely operated, unmanned marine vehicles and sensors to detect and dispose of this threat to our maritime capability.”
Read full report via RT.