Host ship for transporting cutting-edge autonomous mine hunting systems arrives in UK

Host ship for transporting cutting-edge autonomous mine hunting systems arrives in UK

A specialist ship bought by DE&S to house a range of state-of-the-art autonomous mine hunting systems to support the Royal Navy has arrived in Plymouth.

The vessel, currently named MV Island Crown, arrived at HMNB Devonport on 29 January where she will now undergo limited conversion work, before being renamed and handed over to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) later this year.

The 96.8 meter long ship – the length of two Olympic swimming pools – was delivered quickly due to the rapidly evolving threat posed by naval mines and the need for effective measures.

When deployed, the platform will carry systems including the joint FR/UK Maritime Mine Counter Measures (MMCM) system, the Combined Influence Sweep (SWEEP) system, Medium Underwater Autonomous Vehicles (MAUVs), and deployed equipment as part of Project WILTON in service at HMNB Clyde.

Powered by specialist crews on board these innovative systems will enable the Royal Navy to meet the offshore operational requirements for UK homeland defence, and in the North Atlantic and European waters if necessary.

MV Island Crown is the second Multi-Role Ocean Surveillance (MROS) ship to arrive in the UK this month, with Topaz Tangaroa, also bought by DE&S, arriving in Merseyside less than two weeks earlier.

Once renamed and in service with the RFA, Topaz Tangaroa will carry equipment that will protect Britain’s critical undersea cables and pipelines from enemy attack.

Gareth Morris, who project managed both MROS purchases for DE&S, said:

“It is a proud moment to see both vessels arrive safely at their destinations. The success of both projects is testament to the desire of all stakeholders to work together to ensure that key capabilities for the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary can be delivered as quickly as possible.

DE&S Director General Ships, Vice Admiral Paul Marshall, said:

“Our team undertook extensive research and market analysis to identify a vessel for the Royal Navy that would meet the essential capability it needed, and could be delivered quickly, while also providing value for money to the taxpayer.”

“The result of that agile work is the delivery of a highly efficient ship which will be converted at HMNB Devonport. Once militarized, it will play a key role in countering the evolving threats posed by mines at sea.”

The intention is that the ship will enter service in the spring of 2023.

Commodore Steve Prest, Director Navy Acquisition, said:

“The delivery of this ship is an important step in the Navy’s transformation to conduct mine countermeasures using distributed outboard systems.

“The ship will be used to extend the range of our Maritime Autonomous Systems from coastal waters to conducting offshore survey operations in defense of the homeland.”

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