BAE Systems has been awarded a potential seven-year, $111.6 million contract by the Department of Defense (DoD) to manufacture and deliver Archerfish mine neutralizers to the U.S. Navy, marking the fourth consecutive Archerfish contract awarded to the company since 2003, BAE announced Monday.
“Archerfish not only helps to keep sailors safer, it also reduces the number and cost of mine clearance missions. Its world-leading capability and outstanding service with the US Navy makes Archerfish a highly attractive proposition to other major naval forces around the world,” said Brooke Hoskins, director of Products and Training Services for BAE Systems’ Maritime Services business.
Under the new contract Archerfish, developed by BAE Systems under its own investment, will continue to support the U.S. Navy in live mine clearance operations and provide capability to conduct training exercises. BAE Systems will provide the supply of fibre optic spool kits, support equipment, surveys, repairs and program management and support through the Archerfish project team based in Portsmouth, UK.
Archerfish is a remote-controlled underwater mine neutralizer that can be launched and operated from a surface ship, helicopter or an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV). BAE systems will leverage fiber optic data links to deliver real-time, high resolution, low-light video and high frequency sonar pictures of targets of interest from its on-board sensors.
The design will reduce the time to identify and neutralize targets to enable missions to be completed more quickly. Archerfish will also eliminate the need to deploy divers in water, which will enhance the protection personnel. Archerfish is currently used by the US Navy’s MH-60S Helicopter squadrons (AN/ASQ-235) as part of the Airborne Mine Neutralisation capability.
Archerfish will utilize a flexible, open architecture command and control system that can be operated on its own or integrated into a higher-level command management structure, which can be deployed remotely.
BAE Systems’ offering will support innovative fusing that will allow Archerfish to be recovered and reused. Additionally, an automatic target recognition function is in development that will allow concurrent multi-shot Archerfish operations, enabling mines to be neutralized in waves.
“This contract builds on our strong partnership with the US Navy which has seen BAE Systems supporting its minesweeping operations for almost two decades,” Hoskins added. Archerfish is manufactured in the UK at BAE Systems’ Broad Oak facility in Portsmouth, Hampshire, and Hillend facility in Dunfermline, Fife.