ECA Group announces the delivery of several fully robotic underwater mine disposal systems since the beginning of the year to two navies, including that of Kazakhstan.
They are the first fully robotic mine disposal systems ever created. These highly innovative systems are a breakthrough in the underwater mine disposal market: for the first time, customers can deploy vehicles that allow them to stay away from the minefield. Until recently, the detection sonar was located on the minehunter, which had to enter the danger zone and was exposed to the risk of explosion. Thanks to a system MADE up entirely of dedicated robots, mines are now detected using a choice of either autonomous underwater vehicles or surface drones towing a sonar, which means the mother ship does not have to approach the mines.
Once the sonar has detected potential mines, SEASCAN and K-STER type robots are used to identify (confirm via video images that the object is indeed a mine) and destroy the mine. These robots can be launched either directly from the mother ship or from the surface drone, which places them in the water automatically, thereby keeping the mother ship at a safe distance from the mines.
For several years, ECA Group has been developing a comprehensive offer of underwater robots (A9, A18 and A27 type AUVs, K-STER type mine killers, and H300/800 type ROVs, etc.), in addition to INSPECTOR type surface drones. Used together on a single vessel, these different robots can perform full mine disposal missions (as well as Hydrography, Surveillance, and Research and Assistance missions) through their sequential and/or simultaneous deployment.
In order to coordinate the action of all robots on the vessel, ECA Group has over recent years developed an Unmanned MCM Information System (UMIS) enabling the vessel to plan and conduct mine disposal missions safely and effectively through the optimal operation of the various robots, and to incorporate the information collected into the naval customer's centralized management system. In the field of underwater mine disposal, such an offer that removes the need for the vessel to enter the minefield can use less specific (and thus more versatile and faster) vessels, which customers can also use for other types of mission, such as maritime surveillance, when mine disposal is not required. These vessels are less expensive than conventional minehunters. Being faster, they are also able to reach the area more quickly.
Thanks to ECA Group's wide range of robots, there is considerable flexibility to adapt the systems offered depending on the customer's operational requirements and budget: minimal configurations make it possible to carry mine disposal solutions on smaller vessels (<30m), in particular where the requirement is limited to coastal mine disposal. For planned mine disposal activity requiring rapid mine disposal (for amphibious operations, for example), the configuration may incorporate several INSPECTOR USVs and AUVs, as well as one or two dozen mine killers on the same mine disposal vessel.
The selling price of such robotic naval mine disposal systems can range from €3 million to €30 million, depending on the configuration and service offered to the customer by ECA Group to support implementation.
These robotic underwater mine disposal systems will be presented at the ECA Group stand (H73-F70) at the Euronaval trade fair to be held in Paris from 17 to 21 October 2016. A series of lectures will also be dedicated to these systems.
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About Groupe Gorgé
Established in 1990, Group Gorgé is an industrial group operating in different areas of expertise:
Smart Safety Systems – Using technology to work in risk environments;
Protection in Nuclear Environments – Protecting people and securing buildings operating with radioactive materials;
Industrial Projects & Services Conducting Robotics and Fire protection systems projects for industry and service-sector player;
3D Printing – Enabling major industry players to find new routes to successful innovation and production processes by providing systems, 3D printers and new premium material.
In 2015, the Group reported revenue of €264.5 million. It is backed by 1,600 employees and operations in over ten countries.
More information available on www.groupe-gorge.com
Groupe Gorgé is listed on Euronext Paris and on the US OTC market in the form of ADR.
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