MMCM contract announcement for Manufacture and Qualification
The contract to proceed with Stages 2 and 3 of the Maritime Mine Counter Measure (MMCM) Programme has been jointly announced, on 20 October, at EURONAVAL by the United Kingdom (UK) Defence Procurement Minister, Harriet Baldwin and for France by the Head of the defence procurement office (Direction Générale de l'Armement), Laurent Collet-Billon. The announcement follows the successful completion of a 15 month-long study, definition and design stage by Thales Underwater Systems (TUS), in collaboration with Thales UK and BAE Systems and their partners in France (ECA) and in the UK (ASV and SAAB UK). The contract for Stages 2 and 3 was signed, on behalf of France and the UK as the MMCM Participating States, by the OCCAR Director, Mr Tim Rowntree and the TUS Chief Executive Officer, Mr Alexis Morel.
Stage 2 and 3 of the MMCM Programme will, over the following 30 months, provide the Manufacture and Qualification of two identical MMCM prototype/ demonstrators. These autonomous off-board unmanned systems, deployed from the shore or at a stand-off distance from mother ships, will enable the detection and neutralisation of sea mines and underwater explosive devices. The MMCM Programme also includes a Stage 4 option for a two-year period of support for evaluation of the systems by the Marine National and Royal Navy.
The programme was initiated in 2010 under the Lancaster House cooperation agreement between France and the UK and the opportunity for cooperation between the nations in MMCM initially emerged through participation within the European Defence Agency on requirement definition. For France, the MMCM project is a core building block of the larger "Système de lutte anti-mines futur" (SLAMF) programme aiming at renewing anti-mine warfare capabilities after 2020. For the UK, the MMCM project contributes to the Mine countermeasures and Hydrographic Capability (MHC) programme.