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European USV Minesweeping Project Enters Third Phase, Targets 2026 Demo in Norway

Home Defense Security Cooperation European USV Minesweeping Project Enters Third Phase, Targets 2026 Demo in Norway
European USV Minesweeping Project Enters Third Phase, Targets 2026 Demo in Norway

Work has started on the European Defence Agency’s Modular Lightweight Minesweeping Next Generation project’s third phase to further advance the technology readiness level of systems under development and demonstrate their use in an operational environment.

The project seeks to develop and deploy smaller unmanned surface vehicles as lightweight minesweepers operating in a formation or as a single platform, according to an EDA statement. 

Budgeted at $9.8 million, the project’s third phase builds upon the previous stages’ conceptualization initiatives and feasibility studies. The technology demonstrators were developed in the project’s second phase, conducted from 2018 to 2021, which also confirmed the minesweeping concept for modular and lightweight USVs.

The development of minesweeping tactics, techniques and operating procedures are also lined up in the project. The project efforts will culminate in live sea trials expected in summer 2026 in Norway, the lead country in the six-nation EDA initiative. The other participating countries in the project are Belgium, Germany, Finland, Poland and France. 

Several European countries are planning to replace their maritime minesweeping capabilities and are seeking mature technology for the switch. In September 2023, the French navy supported a demonstration of Thales’ unmanned underwater vessel in finding and neutralizing sea mines.

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