NEW YORK --- EDO Corporation, as a member of a consortium led by Atlas Elektronik UK, has been awarded a research contract by the UK Ministry of Defence. The contract calls for the consortium to demonstrate the use of an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) to combat "influence" mines.
The "Atlas-QED" consortium, which also includes team-member QinetiQ, plans to have a prototype system ready by early 2009 to demonstrate the feasibility of the concept, as part of the Royal Navy's Fast Agile Sweep Technology (FAST) program.
"We believe unmanned boats can serve as effective low-observable mine countermeasure platforms," said James M. Smith, EDO's chief executive officer. "We will apply our 40 years of experience at influence minesweeping to the task of demonstrating the feasibility of this concept to the Royal Navy. We are now under contract in both the United States and the United Kingdom to adapt our influence-sweep technology to unmanned vehicles."
EDO has also received a two-year contract from the U.S. Navy's Surface Warfare Center to support USV systems for Littoral Combat Ship mine-warfare missions. Under this contract, EDO will develop new USV test models and system prototypes, and then analyze their integration into Littoral Combat Ship mission modules.
Influence mines are triggered by the magnetic or acoustic signature of a ship and therefore do not require contact to detonate. EDO is the world's leading provider of influence mine countermeasures. EDO's MK 105 helicopter-towed minesweeping system has proven its effectiveness in operations ranging from the de-mining of Haiphong harbor in Vietnam to the clearing of the port of Umm Qasr in Iraq.
EDO's MK 105 magnetic-influence minesweeping system is a high-speed catamaran hydrofoil platform that is towed behind the MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter. The MK 105 can be used to safely clear a path through a minefield for ships in transit or clear an entire operation area at speeds greater than those achieved by conventional mine countermeasures ships.
EDO is currently developing a new, smaller minesweeping system known as the Organic Airborne and Surface Influence Sweep (OASIS). OASIS is a self-contained, high-speed, shallow-water magnetic and acoustic influence sweeping device that can be carried by helicopter to the operating area. Production is expected to begin in 2008.
EDO Corporation designs and manufactures a diverse range of products for aerospace, defense, intelligence, and commercial markets. Major product groups include: Professional and Engineering Services, Defense Electronics, Communications, Aircraft Armament Systems, Undersea Warfare, and Integrated Composite Structures. With headquarters in New York, EDO Corporation employs 4,000 people worldwide. The company was founded in 1925 and had revenues of $715 million in 2006.