SeaFox – The Riskless Solution of Atlas Elektronik for Mine Disposal

SeaFox
SeaFox Unmanned Underwater Vehicle

What’s SeaFox?

The Seafox is an anti-mine marine drone. It is a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) manufactured by German company Atlas Elektronik to positively identify mines with a camera linked to the surface via a fibre-optic cable and destroy them with an integral shaped charge.

This fibre-optic guided, one shot mine disposal vehicle is used for semi-autonomous disposal of naval mines and other ordnance found at sea. It is able to automatically relocate previously acquired positions of underwater objects within minutes with the integrated homing sonar. After relocating, these objects can be identified using the onboard CCTV camera and destroyed by the use of a built-in, large calibre shaped charge. The one-way concept significantly reduces the disposal time and extends the operational envelope.

The system has been fully qualified for military purposes and has been introduced in large numbers into various navies. It is deployable from a wide range of carrier platforms, including dedicated MCM vessels, surface combatants, craft of opportunity, rubber boats and helicopters.

The use of SeaFox :

The SeaFox system is a mine disposal system based on the most advanced concept using the Expendable Mine Disposal Vehicle principle (EMDV).

Small, unmanned underwater drones are used for direct disposal of historical and most modern mine types; identical, reusable vehicles (without charge) are used for inspection, identification and training purposes.

The system is effective against long and short tethered mines, proud ground mines and floating mines.

SeaFox
Minehunter “Bad Rappenau” of the German Navy clearing a sea-mine with SeaFox

The SeaFox system mainly comprises a console, a launcher and the SeaFox vehicles. The system can be delivered as a stand-alone or a fully integrated version.

In case of stand-alone, the console contains all electronics, software, displays and operating elements to guide the vehicle automatically or manually towards the target and to relocate, identify and destroy it. In the fully integrated version, a Multi-Function Console or any existing console can be used.

The two different vehicles ensure quick disposal of mines during operation with the combat vehicle (SeaFox C) which has a 1.4 kg warhead, as well as cost-saving identification with the reusable identification version (SeaFox I).

Personnel Training Issues :

The SeaFox mine disposal vehicle is a remote operated vehicle (ROV). Depending on infrastructure 1-2 persons will be required to launch the SeaFox while another person will be required at the control station.

Training of the crew who is responsible for both operation and maintenance lasts approximately 1-2 weeks. Operator maintenance tasks can be performed by the trained crew. The SeaFox operators do not have to be sonar technicians or sonar operators, any trained personnel can operate the system.

SeaFox
A Seafox Combat Round is manouvered into its launch position by a member of HMS Bangor’s Mine Disposal Crew. (Photo : Wikipedia)

In order to keep the operators trained and skilled, ATLAS ELEKTRONIK provides a SeaFox Simulator, which enables on-board / stand-alone training using original operating devices. The simulation includes the whole chain from system preparation (e.g. communication between CIC and aft-deck) until mine disposal/vehicle recovery.

Operators and Real-time applications of the SeaFox :

Currently, the U.S., UK, Finland, Germany, N-the Netherlands and Belgium use different variants SeaFox UUV for training or combat purposes. SeaFox was used in real operations. In 2001 the Royal Navy leased some Seafox drones for use on HMS Bangor and HMS Blyth off Iraq as part of Operation Telic. The Bangor also deployed them off Libya in 2011. The SeaFox was also employed by the Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV) during the U.S. Navy’s Trident Warrior 12 Exercise and was also deployed to the Persian Gulf in the summer of 2012.

SeaFox
SeaFox-I variant used by the Finnish Navy.

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