Israel’s Elbit Systems unveiled a prototype of what it claims is the world’s first unmanned system for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missions.
Developed in less than three years with technical and performance input from the Israeli Navy and Israel’s Ministry of Defense, the self-funded Seagull can complement or even replace expensive, manpower-intensive frigates or aircraft currently used to hunt submarines at sea, according to executives in Israel.
"Drawing on world class know-how derived from generations of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) design, development and operation and its naval capabilities, Elbit Systems’ newest offering in the unmanned platform field is Seagull - an organic, modular, highly autonomous, multi-mission Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) system," says a statement from the company.
Seagull is a 12-meter USV with replaceable mission modules, with two vessels capable of being operated and controlled in concert using a single Mission Control System (MCS), from manned ships or from the shore.
The system provides unmanned end-to-end mine hunting operation taking the man out of the mine field. It provides mission planning, and on-line operation in known and unknown areas, including area survey, search, detection, classification, identification, neutralization and verification. It is equipped to search the entire water volume and operate underwater vehicles to identify and neutralize mines.
Seagull changes the dynamics of anti-submarine operations by creating a threat to submarines using a cost-effective and available asset, replacing and augmenting manned assets with minimal threat from submarines. It empowers a surface vessel or naval base commander with off-board, available and rapidly deployable Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capabilities to protect critical sea areas and high-value assets from submarine as well as sea mine threats.
Incorporating Elbit Systems' extensive experience in UAS, Seagull features a robust, highly-autonomous and safe sailing capability as well as modular mission payload suites, selected to match a variety of required missions including EW, surface force protection, hydrographical missions in addition to the core MCM and ASW missions.
The sailing suite includes a patented Autonomous Navigation System (ANS), with obstacle avoidance, which considers the international regulations for preventing collisions at sea.
Network ready and long enduring, Seagull features inherent C4I capabilities for enhanced situation awareness and can remain at sea for over 96 hours. The Seagull multi-mission USV system offers navies a true force-multiplier in reducing risk, cost and manpower requirements in performing missions which have only been performed to date by costly manned assets.