The Royal Navy has received an advanced remotely-operated mine-hunting demonstrator as part of the joint Maritime Mine Counter Measures (MMCM) programme.

The demonstrator is designed to detect modern sea mine threats and help reduce risk to ships and sailors.

It was officially handed over to the British Royal Navy in Plymouth on 23 November by teams from OCCAR, Thales UK and DE&S, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) procurement arm.

The autonomous system, which is a boat, can be controlled from either a ship or land.

It tows a highly sensitive detection device to combat sea mine threats and reduce risk to ships and personnel.

UK Defence Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin said: “This new technology is a huge leap forward for the Royal Navy’s autonomous capabilities in the detection of sea mines.

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“These systems will keep our personnel out of harm’s way whilst they conduct vital operations to protect shipping lanes from these hidden threats.

“This is just one example of how we are putting innovation at the forefront of our future strategies.”

MMCM is a joint defence programme between the UK and France.

The system has been produced by Thales UK. It has already begun capability development trials with the UK Royal Navy.

It will enter an operational evaluation, along with the other MMCM systems being delivered through a £184m UK MoD investment agreed in 2020.

According to DE&S, the new mine-hunting capabilities are designed to replace crewed MCM Vessels, including the British Navy’s Hunt and Sandown class ships.

DE&S Director General Ships vice-admiral Chris Gardner said: “The delivery of the MMCM demonstrator systems to the UK and France is an important milestone for the programme.

“This is a powerful example of how the joint commitment of the two nations to work together under the auspices of the 2010 Lancaster House agreement can deliver world-class equipment for our armed forces.”