Israel’s Elbit Systems announced on 13 January that it has been awarded a contract to provide Seagull unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) to the navy of an undisclosed country in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Haifa-based company also did not provide details about the number of USVs on order or the value of the contract, although it noted that work is to be performed over a 17-month period and that it will provide Seagull USVs “specifically configured to perform mine countermeasures (MCM) missions while facilitating the option to add technology modules needed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW)” operations.
Elbit Systems said the Seagull USVs will be configured with side-scan and forward-looking sonars and include remotely operated vehicles designed for mine identification and destruction.
The sea vehicles will also be equipped with Elbit’s autonomous command-and-control suite, combat management system, and satellite communication capability, enabling the customer’s navy to execute end-to-end operations against mine threats such as bottom, moored, and drifting sea mines.
“There is a growing recognition of the essentiality of autonomous capabilities to perform a range of maritime missions, especially MCM and ASW,” said Elad Aharonson, General Manager of Elbit Systems’ ISTAR division.
“The Seagull USV has proven, since 2017, its capability to perform such missions, providing naval forces with increased mission effectiveness, reduced risk and better cost-efficiency,” he added.
The Seagull is a 12 m-long multirole USV developed by Elbit Systems for operations from shore or mothership, and is designed for a mission endurance in excess of 96 hours with a large fuel capacity of 3,500 litres. It can also carry up to 2,500 kg of mission equipment.
The company has demonstrated the USV to several potential customers, including the Israeli navy.
Regional naval forces have in recent years demonstrated increasing interest in introducing unmanned surface and underwater capabilities, with countries such as Australia, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea pursuing development in these domains.
by Jr Ng