The Navy has a plan to find and destroy underwater enemy mines from a safe distance — and it’s building a Ghost Fleet of drones to do it.
Naval Sea Systems Command is developing mine-neutralization technologies and sonar mine-hunting payloads for its new Mine Countermeasures Unmanned Surface Vehicle, or MCM USV, which will be operated from larger manned surface host ships, such as the Littoral Combat Ship, according to Warrior Maven.
“MCM USV will ‘take the man out of the minefield’ when it comes to Navy mine countermeasures operations,” Alan Baribeau, spokesman for Naval Sea Systems Command, told Warrior Maven.
The Navy is working with Textron Systems to add sonar technologies to the MCM USV, and is considering integrating the Barracuda Mine Neutralisation System, which would deploy from an LCS to destroy detected mines.
The Navy and the Pentagon have been developing this Ghost Fleet — a system of interconnected unmanned vessels able to perform missions in a synchronized fashion — to perform air, sea, land and undersea operations.
The fleet can also swarm and attack enemies, deliver supplies and conduct intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance missions.
The unmanned surface vehicles will be operational in 2019, according to Warrior Maven.