Thales has awarded Saab a SEK300m (£26.8m) contract to supply its Multi-Shot Mine Neutralisation System (MuMNS) to the UK-French Maritime Mine Countermeasure (MMCM) programme.

Deliveries of the mine-neutralising system will begin in 2022, with the order booked in Q4 of 2020.

Under the programme, the MuMNS system will be operated from an uncrewed surface vessel (USV) and will ultimately be in service with the UK Royal Navy and French Marine Nationale.

The MMCM is a ‘system of systems’ including uncrewed surface vessels (USVs), uncrewed underwater vessels (UUVs), sensors, command and control systems, and mine neutralisation systems.

Saab’s business area Dynamics head Görgen Johansson said: “We are proud to announce our first customers of the MuMNS. It’s a great success to deliver capabilities that enable these navies to perform safer and more efficient Mine Countermeasures operations, since the operator can neutralise multiple sea mines from a safe distance.”

The MuMNS can neutralise three mines without the need to resurface and is billed as being affecting against a range of sea mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The mine neutraliser has an operational depth of 300m and weighs 415kg.

MuMNS comprises a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV), up to three mine neutralisation charges, a surface unit, Launch and Recovery System (LARS), tethered winch and control position.

Last November the UK and France invested £184m in the MMCM programme. The autonomous minehunting system being developed through the programme could eventually replace the UK’s in-service Hunt and Sandown class minehunting ships.

The investment also funded Thales’ and L3 Harris’s work into the development of autonomous systems able to detect and neutralise sea mines.

The November contract covers the production of three sets of autonomous vessels, towed sonar and the MuMNS. The first of the three sets will be delivered in 2022 and will then undergo operational evaluations before transitioning into active service.