On January 31, 2004 at Abeking & Rasmussen shipyard
in Lemwerder/Germany a 25m SWATH@A&R vessel was launched. The Explorer will be used as a “Demonstrator” vessel for the further development of the “Minehunting 2000” remote controlled minehunting system.
The contract for developing this system was awarded in 2002 to a consortium consisting of Abeking & Rasmussen, Atlas Elektronik, EADS and Lürssen. The newbuilt SWATH vessel is based very closely on the proven 25m SWATH@A&R® Pilot Vessels, which are in operation in the North Sea since 1999. Keel laying was done on March 21st last year. This short building period was possible due to the close relation to the existing vessels and to a third 25m SWATH@A&R® Pilot Tender built almost in parallel, which is now in the outfitting phase.
The design was adapted slightly to accommodate all the sonar equipment and handling gear for extensive operational testing beginning later this year.
During these trials the SWATH vessel will have to prove its seakeeping capabilities, especially during launching and recovery of the sensitive towed sonar equipment.
After final outfitting and harbor and sea acceptance trials, the SWATH vessel will be used by Abeking & Rasmussen for further application trials during March. Final outfitting of Navy and Sonar equipment will be done in April.
From May on, when the 25m SWATH@A&R® vessel will be handed over to the German Armed Forces Procurement Agency (BWB) it will be the first SWATH vessel to fly the German ensign.