Japanese shipbuilder Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Japan’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) have concluded a research and prototype production contract to develop a next-generation mine-countermeasure solution.

The mine-countermeasure technology development is the result of a France-Japan joint research project between MHI and France’s Thales Group.

This technology will enable the detection and classification of the buried and ground underwater mines which pose a threat to ship navigation.

According to MHI, the research and prototype manufacturing project aims to combine the ‘low frequency synthetic aperture sonar mounted in MHI’s OZZ-5 autonomous underwater mine countermeasure vehicle with Thales’ high frequency synthetic aperture sonar’.

The joint research project also aims to reach real-time synthetic aperture signal processing by improving the automatic detection and classification function’s accuracy along with signal processing technology development.

According to MHI, the project is being conducted to “continue cooperation including producing a prototype using sophisticated mine detection technology and conducting sea trials”.

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The prototype will be put through testing in Japan until 2024. It will then be trialled in France.

Furthermore, the France-Japan joint technology development will see MHI participate in international cooperation in sectors such as rescue, transport, patrol, surveillance, and mine countermeasure.

The company will also be able to deliver ‘high-performance, high-quality products’ as per schedule.

Earlier this month, MHI launched a new multirole frigate for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).