The US Navy’s AN / DVS-1 coastal battlefield reconnaissance and analysis (COBRA) Block I airborne mine detection system has attained initial operational capability (IOC).

The COBRA system can be deployed onto the US Navy’s MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned air system (UAS). It is designed to help detect and localise minefields and obstacles when flown over a beach zone area.

US Navy Mine Warfare Programmes programme manager Melissa Kirkendall said: “COBRA represents a real step forward for tactical reconnaissance of beach areas.

“With COBRA, the navy or Marine Corps team can quickly look at a possible landing zone and detect mines and obstacles that would inhibit landing force mobility during an assault.”

The inaugural incarnation of the COBRA solution has completed the first phase of its initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) programme on-board the MQ-8B Fire Scout UAS.

“With COBRA, the navy or Marine Corps team can quickly look at a possible landing zone and detect mines and obstacles that would inhibit landing force mobility.”

The Block I system comprises two airborne payloads, a post-mission analysis station and  tactical control system (TCS) segment for the MQ-8B Fire Scout mission control system (MCS).

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COBRA technology forms part of the littoral combat ship’s (LCS) wider suite of mine countermeasures (MCM) systems and is currently in the low-rate initial production phase.

It also successfully completed a series of developmental tests at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, and Webster Field, Maryland, last year.

The mine detection system’s next test will be carried out on-board an LCS equipped with a full MCM mission package (MP), which includes the MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter with a 23-person aviation detachment.

It will perform a wide range of beach-based missions during the sea trial, while also demonstrating its suitability for operating from the LCS.

The mission of the AN/DVS-1 COBRA is to carry out unmanned aerial tactical reconnaissance in the littoral battlespace for detection and localisation of minefields and obstacles within the surf zone and beach zone prior to amphibious assault operations.