ECA Group, within the framework of the Belgian Naval Component evaluation of unmanned maritime systems, demonstrated the A9-M autonomous underwater vehicle capability to remotely survey the seabed in search for mines from its BNS Pollux offshore patrol vessel.

The A9-M is a 2 m long, 70 kg drone with a capacity of 10 h of autonomy.

The trial took place offshore Zeebruge Naval Base mid-September 2016 with the aim to evaluate the operation of unmanned mine countermeasure systems in comparison to legacy equipment currently in use by the Belgian Navy, as well as test these systems in specific North Sea conditions.

Results will be analyzed by the CMRE (NATO Center for Maritime Research Experimentation) and final evaluation of A9-M performance communicated to ECA Group for evaluation and further improvement.

The remote operation of A9-M system was also performed simultaneously with another unmanned underwater vehicle being operated directly from the patrol ship for identification missions.

Further trials are planned by the Belgium in spring 2017.

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