Seagull unmanned surface vehicle demonstrates anti-submarine potential
Elbit Systems UK's autonomous Seagull Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) has completed Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) sea trials off the British coast in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence, with the USA's L3Harris Technologies providing sonar systems.
The Royal Navy has one of the world's best ASW capabilities, but it comes at a self-defeating cost. Anti-submarine operations require ever more sophisticated technology that has grown so expensive that Britain's fleet continues to shrink as the country's ships grow more advanced.
This means the Navy is faced with the problem that it isn't possible to be in two places at once. To overcome this, the MoD has shortlisted a number of British companies to develop USVs that can support ASW operations as well as other missions, with the latest sea trials being carried out in late October 2019 under a Defence Science and Technology Laboratory's (Dstl) Progeny Maritime Framework contract.
Looking a bit like a kitted out motor cruiser, the Seagull is a multi-sensor USV that can be altered for a variety of missions. It has an aluminum/composite hull, two diesel engines, two props and a pair of thrusters and can operate in conditions up to Sea-State 5 for up to four days. It can also operate from a port or a mothership and two Seagulls can be controlled at the same time in manned and autonomous unmanned modes using the same Mission Control System (MCS).
Along with ASW operations, the Seagull can also carry out other missions, including Mine Counter Measures (MCM), Electronic Warfare (EW), Maritime Security (MS), and Hydrography, without the need to significantly alter its structure, control system, or data links.
Major features of the Seagull include side-scan sonar, dipping sonar, torpedo launchers, diver detection and neutralizer systems, electronic warfare systems, and non-lethal weaponry.
"Elbit Systems has world-leading technology to offer to the maritime and littoral environment," says Martin Fausset, CEO of Elbit Systems UK. "The Seagull USV has once again demonstrated its superior capabilities underlining Elbit Systems UK’s competitive position to provide innovative and cost-effective solutions to the UK Armed Forces. We are proud of our ongoing work with the Royal Navy as we work together to maintain its operational advantage."
Source: Elbit Systems UK