The Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR-EA) has signed a contract with Thales Defense Mission Systems (TDMS) for nine Maritime Mine Counter Measures (MMCM) primary systems.

Of the nine primary systems, three will be delivered to the UK while the other four primary systems will be delivered to France.

The contract also includes two additional options, which will be exercised next year and delivered to France.

The MMCM system baseline features a portable command and control centre and an unmanned surface vessel (USV). It can also operate an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV).

The USV will be able to deploy the towed sonar and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) automatically.

USVs and UUVs will be able to detect, classify and localise the different types of naval mines. Furthermore, the mines will be identified by remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).

Each ROV will be equipped with three reloadable munitions to defeat the mines.

Additionally, the contract outlines the upgrade of the two prototypes, which were bought on behalf of France and the UK by OCCAR.

It also includes the delivery of the first batch of munitions, shore operating centre and a training centre to France.

Last week, the UK and France made further investment into the development of autonomous minehunting systems that could eventually replace the in-service Hunt and Sandown class minehunting ships.

In 2010, the MMCM was under the Lancaster House Treaty between the two countries.

The systems will operate more efficiently and faster, compared to the existing legacy mine hunters and keep personnel away from the minefield.