Naval Warfare

European Defence Agency Kicks Off New Next Generation Minesweeping Project

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European Defence Agency Kicks Off New Next Generation Minesweeping Project

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European Defence Agency Kicks Off New Next Generation Minesweeping Project
European Defence Agency Kicks Off New Next Generation Minesweeping Project

European Defence Agency (EDA) has launched the third phase of its Modular Lightweight Minesweeping Next Generation (MLM-NG) project. The main objective is to further raise the technology readiness level (TRL) of relevant systems and to demonstrate the use of modular lightweight minesweeping in an operational setting, building upon the developments within the first (2011-2014) and second (2018-2021) phases. This third phase, which has a budget of around € 9.2 million, brings together six Member States: Belgium, Germany, France, Finland, Poland and is led by Norway. Across Europe, several nations are planning a replacement or reintroduction of their maritime minesweeping capability.

Most concepts for new capabilities are based on a flexible solution with autonomous and remotely operated sweeping systems, but the technology is not mature enough to be adopted by most nations. The aim for future mine sweeping solutions is to develop and utilise smaller Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) with lightweight sweep sources. These sources can be operated with a single platform or by a formation of several USVs, depending on the operation. The previous, MLM-II project, developed technology demonstrators and proved the feasibility of the modular and lightweight concept for minesweeping. MLM-NG will use the results from the MLM projects and further develop the relevant technologies. The project will also look into tactics, procedures and the concept of operations for such systems.

511 Tactical

MLM-NG aims to culminate with a live demonstration in sea trails, currently foreseen for Summer 2026 in Norway. Those tests are planned to include an operational assessment in addition to the technological and conceptual evaluations. During the demonstration all systems will be controlled from a command center on land, without personnel in the mine danger area. In the build up to the demonstration, the project will also address operational use, procedures, command and control (C2) principles, concept of operations (CONOPS) and functional requirements. All of which should contribute to the main objective of this project; further raising the TRL of relevant systems and to demonstrate the use of modular lightweight minesweeping in an operational setting.

Consortium members
The ten consortium members will come from the six participating Member States, namely;
BE: Royal Military Academy, Belgian Defence
DE: WTD 71, MTG Marinetechnik GmbH
FI: Finnish Naval Academy, Patria
FR: DGA TN
NO: FFI (leads), H. Henriksen
PL: CTM

European Defence Agency (EDA) Modular Lightweight Minesweeping Next Generation (MLM-NG) Project
European Defence Agency (EDA) Modular Lightweight Minesweeping Next Generation (MLM-NG) Project

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