Following recent news that SKELDAR V-200 VTOL UAV has been selected for the Belgian and Dutch MCM program;
Captain (Rtrd) Nurettin Sevi, Aerospace and Defense Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:
"Sea mines are very cost-effective, easy to deploy and becoming more sophisticated and highly deadly. Even though some sea mines are very simple, they remain an ever-present threat to naval operations and commercial shipping. In order to mitigate or sweep away their impact on the maritime domain and keep manned platforms away from the mine danger area, modern navies have begun to use maritime unmanned vehicles as a Mine Countermeasure package. This package consists of Autonomous Unmanned Vehicle (AUV), Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) and Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV). With developing laser mine detection systems, UAVs can be the key element of the package to detect mines on the sea surface and shallow sea bottom.
"With their modular structures and increasing payload capabilities, maritime unmanned vehicles provide strategic and operational advantages to navies by reducing the cost and human risk significantly in mine countermeasure and anti-submarine operations, as well as by extending the reach of information, surveillance and reconnaissance collection.
"The utilization of unmanned and autonomous vehicles in MCM operations can be more flexible than in other combat operations, since the underwater is generally free from non-combatants and the target is a sea mine, which limits ethical concerns.
"Moreover, low speed and limited capability of underwater communication systems make the exploitation of autonomous and unmanned systems arguably more necessary in this domain than many others."
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