At the occasion of Open Spirit 2018 exercices, the capabilies of ECA Group systems have once again successfully demonstrated their efficiency and reliability to complete underwater mine warfare missions.
Open Spirit is the Baltic navies' biggest annual mine countermeasures exercise. The Baltic Sea still contains a large amount of explosives and chemicals leftover from the two world wars. Reducing the threat of the remaining explosives, such as mines and bombs, is the aim of the exercise.
Open Spirit is organized by the navies of the Baltic States on a rotating basis in Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania, each one is equipped with ECA Group unmanned mine warfare systems, including Autonomous and Remotely Operated Vehicles.
During this year exercice, Latvian Navy first deployed ECA Group's A9-M man portable AUVs to first conduct mine detection missions.
This Autonomous Underwater Vehicle is STANAG 1364 compliant and dedicated to military applications. Thanks to its low its acoustic and magnetic signatures, it doesn't trigger any of the smartest underwater mines when doing the mine warfare survey. Its main function is Mine Like Objects detection and even classification depending on environmental conditions and seabed type in particular.
For the classification and neutralisation stage, NATO's Tripartite class mine-hunters participating to the exercices were equipped with Group's PAP, a remotely controlled (filoguided) mine discovery vehicle (RCMDV) to investigate the possible mine further and proceed to underwater mine neutralisation. PAP has been in service since 1979 in the French Navy to conduct such tasks and is used to identify mine-like objects using an onboard camera.
Alongside, those traditional means of mine neutralisation, Lituania and NATO mine countermeasure ships are also equipped with ECA Group's K-STER C expandable Mine disposal systems. These K-STER C vehicles are dedicated to mine warfare, as they are fitted with a shape charge in a tiltable head to aim at the target to dispose of in a completely autonomous way.
This year’s edition of the international Baltic Sea ordnance disposal drill Open Spirit took place from May 11 to 25 2018 in Estonian waters ranging from Tallinn to the Sõrve peninsula, and welcomed 800 participants from 15 countries. Overall 20 different mine countermeasure ships, including NATO ships joined the exercise.
Learn more abut ECA Group solutions for Mine warfare by reading the dedicated White Paper