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12 Sep 07. Atlas Elektronik UK, together with its ‘Atlas-QED’ consortium partners EDO Corporation and QinetiQ, are under contract to supply a mine counter measures (MCM) flexible agile sweeping technology (FAST) technology readiness demonstrator (TRD) that will ultimately enable the MoD to put a combined influence sweep (CIS) replacement into service using FAST Technology.

The FAST technology readiness demonstrator contract was accepted on 29 May, commencing with an Inaugural Meeting in June and a definition phase that culminated in the Preliminary Design Review held in July. The agreed programme of work now extends the design phase with an Interim Design Review to be held in September, Critical Design Review in December and build completing mid 2008, to ensure testing and evaluation is complete by end 2008, ready for formal demonstrations early in 2009.

Other equipment suppliers, small to medium enterprises and academia will be engaged where this enhances the value of the TRD. In line with the above strategy, Atlas Elektronik UK has recently engaged with Critical Software Technologies Ltd (CSWT) to extend its capabilities specifically in the area of Collision Avoidance technology. This clearly demonstrates the inclusive nature of participation in this innovative programme that encourages technology transfer from industry research.

Colin Sainsbury, Minewarfare Weapons Systems Manager of MPH IPT commented, “MoD is very pleased with the initial start to the FAST project. The Atlas-QED Consortium has demonstrated an enthusiasm to deliver a world leading mine sweeping demonstration system, at the lowest possible cost, in accordance with our programme. We anticipate the trials phase with great interest!”

The project will deliver a fully functional mine counter measures unmanned surface vehicle (USV) demonstrator system with quantified and validated performance through an agreed trials and evaluation programme. The objectives specifically include:
* de-risking of key technologies for a USV based mine counter measures influence capability
* development of technology and system integration maturity using a design and build technology readiness demonstrator programme
* quantified demonstration of likely mine sweeping performance and effectiveness against mine threats in a realistic scenario
* demonstration of deployment, recovery and capture of a FAST USV from a mine counter measures vehicle
* development of an open architecture approach to the FAST components, and
* transfer of MoD mine sweeping research knowledge to the UK industry supplier base.

Kevin Gale, Programme Manager of Atlas Elektronik UK Ltd commented, “The project continues apace with major subcontracts now in place. I am pleased with our progress to date against a challenging schedule involving many players. Internally, we have managed expectations in order to derive an agreed scope of work, completed the unmanned surface vehicle specification, initiated a competition for supply of the platform and are currently progressing new sweep technology design in line with FAST requirements. EDO Corporation is progressing with the production of the Power Generation Module together with a similar requirement for the US Navy and QinetiQ are progressing initial design studies which will inform and support the trials programme.”

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