Mitsubishi and Thales Develop Prototype of Next-generation Mine Countermeasure Device

Mitsubishi and Thales Develop Prototype of Next-generation Mine Countermeasure Device

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has concluded a research and prototype production contract with Japan’s Ministry of Defense for next-generation mine-countermeasure technology, a France-Japan joint research project being conducted based on agreement between defense authorities in the two countries. This joint research project is being conducted based on a France-Japan strategic roadmap to “continue cooperation including producing a prototype using sophisticated mine detection technology and conducting sea trials.” Testing will be conducted in Japan through 2024, followed by trials in France.

This agreement kicks off a 5-year project for design, development and integration of the dual frequency synthetic aperture sonar processing, and at sea experiments (in Japan & in France). This is the materialisation of years of long cooperative efforts between the DGA, ATLA, Thales and MHI to jointly build a project that satisfies both French Navy and Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force requirements and allows France and Japan to stay at the forefront of innovation on unmanned mine countermeasure systems. Working together with Thales, MHI is aiming to enter new markets in Japan’s allies by offering high-end technology to the most powerful navies. Thales’ anti-submarine warfare and maritime safety & security systems are currently in service with more than 50 navies.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries OZZ-5 Autonomous Underwater Mine Countermeasure Vehicle

MHI, through this France-Japan joint technology development, will supply high-performance, high-quality products in a timely manner, and following government guidance. The research and prototype manufacturing project aims to combine the low frequency synthetic aperture sonar (LF-SAS) mounted in MHI’s OZZ-5 autonomous underwater mine countermeasure vehicle with the high frequency synthetic aperture sonar (HF-SAS) from France’s Thales Group, and by enhancing the precision of the automatic detection and classification function, together with signal processing technology development, achieve synthetic aperture signal processing in real time.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (Mitsubishi Jūkōgyō Kabushiki-kaisha) is a Japanese multinational engineering, electrical equipment and electronics company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. MHI is one of the core companies of the Mitsubishi Group and its automobile department is the predecessor of Mitsubishi Motors. Through its defense-related activities, it is the world’s 23rd-largest defense contractor measured by 2011 defense revenues and the largest based in Japan. Present in Japan since 1970, Thales works with over 500 suppliers ranging from large enterprises to SMEs. The Group serves Japanese needs in scientific, security and defense (Japanese government).