The government plans to purchase the nation’s first domestically developed unmanned underwater vehicle, which will be capable of detecting mines on the seabed, in fiscal 2019, according to government sources.
The government intends to include hundreds of millions of yen for the purchase in its budgetary request for next fiscal year and launch operations in fiscal 2022, the sources said. If a Japanese remote island is occupied and mines are deployed in waters nearby, the envisaged vehicle could be used to remove the mines without putting human lives at risk.
The unmanned underwater vehicle is about 5 meters long and weighs about 1 ton. It will be used together with an unmanned boat operated remotely. First, a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer will release the vehicle into the sea and instruct it to automatically navigate in a predetermined area.
The underwater vehicle will then detect mines on the seabed using built-in sonar. If mines are detected, information about their location will be sent to the unmanned boat, which will then fire depth charges to destroy the mines. (end of excerpt)
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