Mine-hunting ‘mom ship’ arrives in Plymouth

New ship to host autonomous mine looking methods arrives at HMNB Devonport.

Vessel to bear a interval of modification earlier than becoming a member of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Supposed to be operational in Spring 2023.

A specialist ship purchased to help Royal Navy mine-hunting operations – a mom ship to launch drones to seek out and destroy undersea threats – has arrived in Plymouth right now.

When deployed, the platform will help the safeguarding of UK waters from the specter of mines at sea, working a variety of uncrewed methods that may assist hold personnel at a protected distance.

Primarily based at His Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, the 96.8 metres lengthy vessel – the size of two Olympic swimming swimming pools – will work side-by-side with autonomous mine-hunting methods already operated by the Royal Navy out of Faslane beneath Mission Wilton.

Bought from Island Offshore, the vessel – presently named MV Island Crown, however attributable to be renamed because it joins the fleet – arrived at HMNB Devonport, the place it can bear minimal conversion work, primarily to help set up of navy communication methods and Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) operations, earlier than being handed over to the RFA later this 12 months.

Defence Procurement Minister, Alex Chalk KC, mentioned:

That is one other important step ahead within the modernisation of Royal Navy capabilities and use of autonomous methods to enhance our crewed fleet. This vessel will play an important position within the detection of undersea threats, retaining our personnel out of hurt’s method whereas they conduct very important operations.

Delivered at tempo, the potential will guarantee freedom of entry for the UK ships and submarines (together with the Steady At Sea Deterrent), whereas crucially lowering danger to personnel.

Operated by specialist groups on board, these progressive methods will permit the Royal Navy to guard UK waters, additionally offering help to the North Atlantic and European waters if required.

Commodore Steve Prest, Director Navy Acquisition, mentioned:

The supply of this ship is a crucial step within the Navy’s transformation to conducting mine countermeasures utilizing distributed offboard systems-of-systems. The ship shall be used to increase the vary of our Maritime Autonomous Programs from coastal waters to conducting offshore survey operations in Defence of the homeland.

The uncrewed methods will embrace the joint French-UK Maritime Mine Counter Measures (MMCM) system, the Mixed Affect Sweep (SWEEP) system and Medium Underwater Autonomous Autos (MAUVs).

The acquisition of the £40 million ship was carried out by Defence Gear and Assist (DE&S), the procurement arm of the MOD.

DE&S Director Common Ships, Vice Admiral Paul Marshall, mentioned:

Our crew undertook intensive analysis and market evaluation to determine a vessel for the Royal Navy that might meet the very important functionality it wants, and may very well be delivered at tempo while additionally present worth for cash to the taxpayer. The results of that agile working is the supply of a extremely efficient ship which shall be transformed to function at HMNB Devonport. As soon as militarised, it can play a key position in countering the evolving threats posed by mines at sea.

The ship is meant to enter service in Spring 2023.