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28/01/2020: UK MoD Procuring 5 MANTAS T12 USVs For Royal Navy And Joint Forces Command

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) awarded a procurement contract to Maritime Tactical Systems (MARTAC) of Melbourne, Florida, for the procurement of 5 MANTAS T12 unmanned surface vehicles (USV).

The total value of the procurement is 1.8 millions £ ($2.3 millions) for 5 USV plus integrated sensors, spares, support equipment, training and technical support.

3 MANTAS T12 will go to the Royal Navy and 2 will be used by the UK Joint Forces Command which recently changed its name to Strategic Command. The Strategic Command provides the foundation and supporting framework for successful operations by ensuring joint capabilities like medical services, training, intelligence, information systems and cyber operations, are developed and managed. They also provide the command and control for overseas defense operations.

According to the ex ante transparency notice by the UK MoD regarding this procurement:

As part of the preliminary work on this project MAB6 and jHUB conducted a market survey to qualify the availability of COTS/MOTS products that would support the idea that low observable USVs have utility for discrete maritime operations. This work revealed only 1 product was available which had a proven track record and that met the need was the MANTAS T12. A successful pilot contract was let by jHUB Commercial in February 2019 to Maritime Tactical Systems Inc. (MARTAC), in which 2 x MANTAS T12 craft were leased to test their suitability. Now that suitability has been confirmed, Navy X and MAB6 intend to purchase 5 x MANTAS T12 craft (3 for Navy and 2 for JFC) direct from MARTAC due to the following technical reasons: there are features associated with this platform that are currently unique in the market place: it is proven to be low observable – radar cross section, thermal signature, noise signature – and this has been independently validated; it is able to semi-submerge on demand (gator mode), reducing its visible signature to almost zero – this is currently a feature unique to MARTAC’s MANTAS T12; it is integrated with payloads and a ground control station making it capable of operation as a complete system without further development (i.e. TRL9). Everything else on the market at the time of survey either failed one of the low observable characteristics or was available only as a development project (i.e. not OTS). The implied requirement here is pace — we wish to explore the potential military advantage of this capability at pace, which is why we drove toward OTS as a requirement.

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