BAE Systems secures £87m mine neutraliser contract with US Navy

Posted on 22 Sep 2020 by James Devonshire

BAE Systems has been awarded a contract worth up to £87m by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) to manufacture and deliver Archerfish mine neutralisers for the US Navy.

This is the fourth consecutive Archerfish contract awarded to BAE Systems since 2003 and will cover deliveries for the next seven years.

Archerfish is a remote-controlled underwater mine neutraliser that can be launched and operated from a surface ship, helicopter or an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV). A fibre optic data link enables real-time, high resolution, low-light video and high frequency sonar pictures of targets of interest to be relayed.

Archerfish is manufactured in the UK at BAE Systems’ Broad Oak facility in Portsmouth and Hillend facility in Dunfermline, Fife. The contract with the US Department of Defense secures 30 highly skilled jobs in BAE Systems in Portsmouth and Fife, as well as further jobs in the UK supply chain.

BAE Systems says Archerfish reduces the amount of time needed to identify and neutralise targets, enabling mines to be cleared more quickly. The system also protects personnel by eliminating the need to put divers into the water.

Archerfish is used by the US Navy’s MH-60S Helicopter squadrons (AN/ASQ-235) as part of the Airborne Mine Neutralisation capability, deployed from the Littoral Combat Ship.

Under the new contract Archerfish will continue to support the US Navy in live mine clearance operations and also provide capability to conduct training exercises between now and 2027.

The contract also includes the supply of fibre optic spool kits, support equipment, surveys, repairs and programme management and support, which will be provided by the Archerfish project team based in Portsmouth, UK.

Dr Brooke Hoskins, Director of Products and Training Services for BAE Systems’ Maritime Services business, said: “This contract builds on our strong partnership with the US Navy which has seen BAE Systems supporting its minesweeping operations for almost two decades. 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.”

*All images courtesy of BAE Systems