Sea vessels

Navy Receives Final Autonomous Minehunting Boat

RNMB Hebe joined her sister vessels, Harrier and Hazard, at Clyde Naval Base in Scotland.

The third and final Royal Navy autonomous minehunting boat has been delivered to HM Naval Base Clyde.

RNMB Hebe, named after the ancient Greek goddess of youth, joined her sister vessels, Harrier and Hazard, at the naval base in Scotland as part of the Navy's Project Wilton.

From Hebe, mine countermeasures experts can coordinate and control the boats or monitor autonomous offboard sensors.

They also have the option of controlling the vessels from a land-based, remote-control centre.

The entire system is highly flexible and rapidly deployable, capable of being transported to wherever it is required to conduct survey and minehunting operations.

Lieutenant Commander Ross Balfour, Officer-in-Charge of Project Wilton, said the programme is "at the forefront of technological development" and "paving the way for follow-on autonomous mine countermeasures capabilities" being developed.

"Riding this bow wave of change means the pace of development is high, requiring us to 'learn by doing' and constantly questioning the accepted norms.

The autonomous minehunting vessels can be controlled from a land-based, remote-control centre (Picture: Royal Navy).

"I am certain that my team of highly trained mine warfare experts can meet these challenges and deliver cutting-edge operational capability from this equipment."

Hebe is four metres longer than the other two vessels, has more technology on board and is capable of working in isolation or be integrated with existing equipment on operations.

Lt Cdr Balfour added RNMB Hebe "is the final piece in the jigsaw" of the project's "maritime capability".

"Hebe has fantastic potential and we are working diligently to integrate her impressive capabilities with our existing equipment."

Capable of working in different configurations, the boats can detect and classify mines and maritime ordnance.

The Project Wilton team is also carrying out trials and a capability development programme to ensure the ships can deliver route survey operations.

Cover image: One of the Royal Navy's autonomous minehunting boats (Picture: Royal Navy).