BAAINBw, the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support, has signed a contract with Atlas Elektronik to upgrade the last three class 332A minehunters to new technical standards for the German Navy.

Under the terms of the conversion project, Atlas Elektronik will have to replace the command and weapons control system with the advanced Integrated Mine Countermeasure System (IMCMS), which has already been deployed on other units of this class.

As part of the contract, a simulator will be deployed for the first time in minehunting and mine clearance training.

BAAINBw deputy director general Armin Schmidt-Franke said: “This modernisation will establish a uniform and modern standard of important capabilities for the German Navy.

“The training and test facility helps to further improve training and to test changes to the command and control system without reducing the operational readiness of the minehunters.”

The company will also replace the PINGUIN minehunting weapon system with SEEFUCHS, as well as transfer the capability to control the SEEHUND surface drones to simulate mine clearance.

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The SEEFUCHS-I mine identification drone facilitates detection and identification and the SEEFUCHS-C minehunting drone has a shaped charge warhead and helps in destructing the mines.

The SEEHUND surface drones, which are remotely controlled, help simulate ship noises and the magnetic signature of larger vessels, causing bottom mines to detonate.

Up to four SEEHUND surface drones can be controlled from a control platform at the same time.

The signing of the contract has started the final phase to develop the target structure for the mine countermeasures units of the German Navy.

With the conversion, the German Navy will have a total of ten class 332 minehunters, equipped with the capabilities of minehunting, mine clearance, and clearance diving for naval mine countermeasures.

Additionally, Atlas Elektronik will provide a training and test facility for the modernised systems. The facility will be built at the Naval Operational Training Centre in Kiel, Germany.

The facility will facilitate the simulation of the weapon system training in a 1:1 environment as well, as enabling the testing of new components before deploying them aboard.

To date, nine nations across the globe have installed the SEEFUCHS weapon system.

Image: SEEFUCHS drone of the India type on the minehunter Homburg employed to monitor maritime traffic in the Mediterranean Sea during the Operation Active Endeavour. Photo: courtesy of Bundeswehr / Hannemann.