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Elbit Systems UK completes Anti-Submarine Warfare trials for British Navy with its Seagull USV

Elbit Systems UK completed a series of Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) trials with the UK MoD (Ministry of Defense) with its Seagull armed USV (Unmanned Surface Vessel). The trials were delivered via Dstl’s (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) Progeny Framework, exploring how autonomous systems could support future ASW operations.
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Elbit Systems UK completes Anti Submarine Warfare trials for British Navy with its Seagull USV 925 001 Trial test of torpedo launching with the Elbit Systems Seagull USV Unmanned Surface Vessel. (Picture source Elbit Systems)

Elbit Systems UK was one of a shortlist of UK companies selected to take part in this second phase of the project – a series of live at sea trials that took place off the UK coast with the Ministry of Defence in late October 2019.

Elbit Systems UK used its Seagull™ USV (Unmanned Surface Vehicle) for these trials, with the USA’s L3 Harris providing the sonar. Seagull™, Elbit System’s multi-mission, multi-sensor USV demonstrated her autonomous ASW utility to the UK MoD, across the entire trial period, utilizing her ‘ASW Toolbox’ solution throughout to show how the abilities of this system to offer a force multiplier for ASW operations.

The Seagull is an unmanned surface vessel (USV) designed and manufactured by the Israeli Company Elbit Systems. The US was unveiled in February 2016 during the Singapore AirShow to offer a generation of an unmanned naval system able to conduct a wide range of missions including mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and electronic warfare.

The Seagull can be operated from another ship or ground station using a mission control system (MCS). It can be operated in manned or unmanned modes. It can carry modular mission payload systems including navigation, sailing and safety suite, electro-optical (EO) / infrared (IR) sensors, side-scan sonar or synthetic aperture sonar (SAS), forward-looking sonar or multibeam echo sounder, diver detection sonar and dipping sonar.

The front deck of the Elbit Systems Seagull USV is fitted with a remotely controlled weapon station armed with one 12.7mm heavy machine gun. The USV is also fitted with torpedo launching system to counter submarine threats and protect naval bases or other vessels. 

Seagull has previously participated in bi-national MCM trials in the North Sea off the Belgian Coast organised by the Directorate General of Material Resources (DGMR) of the Belgian Defence Ministry, and has been used in a series of demonstrations alongside several global navies, including being deployed in 2018 by NATO forces in a joint ASW exercise alongside the Royal Navy’s Type 45 HMS Duncan and the Spanish Navy’s Santa Maria-class frigate “Victoria”.