Seagull, Elbit Systems’ groundbreaking Multi-Mission Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) participated in the bi-national MCM trials for unmanned maritime systems organized at the beginning of June by the Directorate General of Material Resources (DGMR) of the Belgian Defense Ministry. Taking part in the trials, conducted off the Belgian Zeebrugge Naval Base, were several companies operating different types of unmanned underwater and surface vehicles.
Seagull is a 36 ft long USV that can be operated from a mother-ship or from shore stations. It provides multi-mission capabilities including Anti-Submarine Warfare, Mine Hunting; Mine Sweeping, Electronic Warfare, maritime security and underwater commercial missions, leveraging modular mission system installation and offering a high level of autonomy. It features inherent teleprocessing capabilities for enhanced situation awareness and mission endurance of more than four days.
In the bi-national Belgium and Dutch MCM Trials, a single Seagull unit demonstrated a Mine Sweeping mission execution scanning the whole water column in one path, operating both the K5900 Side Scan Sonar and the R2Sonic Forward Looking Sonar for Search, Detection and Classification. On the second day the same Seagull platform, operating a VideoRay Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle, conducted the Identification and Demolition Phase of the Mine Hunting Mission.
Elbit Systems displayed Seagull’s quick mission ready capabilities in an unfamiliar setup, installing a mobile Command and Control unit onboard a Belgian Pollux Patrol Boat and completing all tasks in just a few hours.
The Seagull team included three operators, with two operators remotely managing the mission and the third monitoring the autonomous cruise. Operating on Elbit Systems proprietary software that includes modules for change detection and automatic target detection, Seagull performed real-time detection, mapping and classification of Mine Like Objects.
Seagull’s strong operational capabilities were on full display when it cruised at a speed of 10 knots in sea states 5 and 6, scanning three different areas, three times the size that was scanned by Autonomous Underwater Vessels, emphasizing the Seagull’s clear advantage of processing imagery and generating actionable data in real-time and issuing an on the spot report to the Belgian Navy.
At the request of the Belgian Navy, the Seagull demonstration was also conducted based on Line-of- Sight communication, despite Seagull’s capability to operate using Beyond-Line-of-Sight communication, as had been demonstrated by Elbit Systems in both the recent IMDEX 2017 Show and previously during the Euro Naval Show in October 2016.
Yaron Levy, VP of Naval Systems in Elbit Systems ISTAR Division, commented in a statement: “The bi-national trials that were conducted by the Belgian Navy clearly demonstrated the unmatched operational capabilities of the Seagull. We see a growing interest in the novel capabilities that the Seagull provides for executing top quality and cost-effective MineCounter Measure, Anti-Submarine Warfare, and commercial underwater missions.”