ECA Group sells first Towsca & Seascan under mine countermeasure contract

French defense and security contractor ECA Group was recently awarded a new export contract for the delivery of three mine counter measure unmanned systems to an undisclosed customer.

This contract, around €10 million, includes the supply of three Inspector Mk2 unmanned surface vehicles (USV).

These Inspector Mk2 will be fitted with the recently developed subsea robotic system Towsca which is designed to increase the survey capability of Inspector Mk2.

As ECA Group explains, Towsca is a high resolution towed side scan sonar remotely deployed from the aft deck of the USV. With its automatic seabed follower, it can operate in medium water from 10 to 100m depth and shallow to very shallow waters.

It completes the interferometric sonar fitted on the bow mast of the USV Inspector MK2. All seabed data gathered by Towsca are real time transmitted to the control station through the USV high data rate radio link. Each of these USVs is also equipped with two Seascans, the company added.

The Seascan is the new generation of identification vehicle in the ECA Group ROV (remotely operated vehicle) range. Seascan is deployed with a compact launch and recovery system (LARS) and is able to operate up to 3h in a range of 1000m around the USV and in water depth down to 300m. The USV’s radio link is used to operate the Seascan and to recover in real time sonar and video data.

According to the company, this mine counter measure system can be operated autonomously or remotely from a distant control station. The first system will be delivered by the end of 2016 followed by two others in 2017 and 2018.