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Minehunting team ready to build on successes in autonomous operations

Mission System Team 3 – part of the Mine and Threat Exploitation Group (MXTG) – has been delivering on operations and trials on the Clyde to develop autonomous systems to support the future of minehunting within the service.
25 January 2024
The use of autonomous equipment to support and enhance minehunting operations has taken a step forward over the past year, thanks to the successes of a Royal Navy minehunting team.

Over the past 12 months, Mission System Team 3 – part of the Mine and Threat Exploitation Group (MTXG) – has been delivering on operations and trials on the Clyde to develop autonomous systems to support the future of minehunting within the service.

They have been working with a range of equipment to get a clear picture of the seabed within the Clyde and their efficiency to deliver was part of the reason they won the Naval Capability Award at last year’s Surface Flotilla Awards.

Mission System Team 3, known under the wide banner of Project Wilton, have helped reshape the Royal Navy’s approach to mine warfare.

And in an ever-changing environment where technology and systems are being used to limit dangers to sailors, the work they are doing is setting the foundation for operations in and around the UK and further afield.

And the team are looking to build on the work of 2023 as they prepare for a busy and challenging 2024, with more trials on different autonomous equipment to understand and analysis its uses against existing methods.

We have also been conducting trials and developing the use of autonomous equipment in support of the overarching Mine Hunting Capability project and future Mine Counter Measures (MCM) in the Royal Navy.

Lieutenant Alex Gibby, Group Engineering Officer for MTXG

Lieutenant Alex Gibby, Group Engineering Officer for MTXG, said: “Throughout 2023, Mission System Team 3 (MST3) has been delivering operational output, providing a clear picture of the seabed within the Clyde.

“We have also been conducting trials and developing the use of autonomous equipment in support of the overarching Mine Hunting Capability project and future Mine Counter Measures (MCM) in the Royal Navy.

“2023 also saw MST3 visually identify multiple bottom contacts with an ROV using sensors supplied by the Royal Navy’s Fleet Hydrographic and Meteorology Unit. This allowed us to show the benefits of hydrometeorological and minewarfare combined operations.”

This year, the team are looking forward to integration with minehunting “mothership” RFA Stirling Castle which will be used in autonomous operations.

This spring, they will also take part in trials to understand how different technology and autonomous equipment can be used to enhance a variety of minehunting operations.

Later in the year, they will build on integration with Stirling Castle to show how MCM operations can be conducted from different platforms and they will also test a small patrol vessel in operations away from UK waters.

 

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