The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded BAE Systems an £87m contract to manufacture and deliver Archerfish mine neutralisers for the US Navy.

The contract marks the fourth consecutive Archerfish contract awarded to the country by the US Navy since 2003 and will cover deliveries for the next seven years.

Archerfish can be deployed by ship, aircraft or uncrewed underwater vessel (UUV). The remote-controlled Archerfish is connected via a fibre optic data link which carries real-time, high resolution, low-light video and high-frequency sonar images of mines so they can be neutralised.

BAE Systems said that the system reduces the amount of time needed to identify and neutralise mine targets and protects personnel by eliminating the need to deploy divers.

BAE Systems’ Maritime Services business director of products and training services Dr Brooke Hoskins said: “This contract builds on our strong partnership with the US Navy which has seen BAE Systems supporting its minesweeping operations for almost two decades. Archerfish not only helps to keep sailors safer, it also reduces the number and cost of mine clearance missions.

“Its world-leading capability and outstanding service with the US Navy makes Archerfish a highly attractive proposition to other major naval forces around the world.”

Archerfish is deployed with the US Navy’s MH-60S Helicopter squadrons for live mine clearance operations, from Littoral Combat Ships (LCS).

The contract also covers fibre optic spool kits, support equipment, surveys, repairs and programme management and support. Support will be run by BAE Systems Archerfish team based in Portsmouth, UK, where the system is manufactured.

BAE Systems said: “Investments continue to be made to enhance Archerfish to meet future mine countermeasure challenges and reduce the through-life cost of the system.

“Innovative fusing will allow it to be recovered and reused and an automatic target recognition function is being developed that will allow concurrent multi-shot Archerfish operations, enabling mines to be neutralised in waves.”