By Tamir Eshel
Source : Defense Update
Elbit Systems completed recently a trial test torpedo launch from its Seagull multi-mission, autonomous Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) system. Performed out of Israel’s Haifa port, the trial demonstrated the capability of Seagull to install and launch lightweight torpedoes, adding to the platform’s sensory capabilities.
The Seagull is designed to carry out unmanned maritime missions, such as anti-submarine warfare (ASW) counter-mine operation, protecting high-value assets inshore and offshore. Lightweight torpedoes are often used by anti-submarine vessels, helicopters, and aircraft against submarines located in shallow waters. This is the first instance where such weapons are used from unmanned platforms.
“The success of this test demonstrates Seagull’s modular mission system capability, enabling a highly effective ASW configuration of high-performance dipping sonar using two single tube torpedoes,” said Ofer Ben-Dov, Vice President Naval Systems Business Line at Elbit Systems’ ISTAR Division.
The test highlighted Seagull’s capacity to detect and engage submarines, in addition to its ability to detect and destroy sea mines – all using the same multi-mission USV system in modular configurations. “This new and important capability has, to date, only been available to navies through manned vehicles.” Ben-Dov added.
Introduced earlier this year, Seagull is a 12-meter long multi-mission USV system equipped with one or two vessels that can be operated and controlled in concert from manned ships or from shore.
Seagull provides multi-mission capabilities and can be employed for ASW, MCM, EW, maritime security and other related missions, leveraging modular mission system installation and offering a high level of autonomy. In its basic configuration, the Seagull was armed with remotely operated weapon station mounting a 0.5” machine gun.
In its full configuration, the advanced USV system delivers unmanned end-to-end mine hunting operation capability, taking the man out of the minefield. It features inherent C4I capabilities for enhanced Situation Awareness (SA) and has a large fuel capacity that allows it to remain at sea for several days.
Seagulls are designed to operate in pairs, with one carrying the sonars that detect and locate the targets and the other operating devices such as counter-mine robots, depth charges and ASW torpedoes to neutralize the threats.