PARIS, July 24 (UPI) -- The French Navy is testing lightweight autonomous underwater vehicles for mine-hunting operations. The vehicles are Alister 100s, produced by ECA Robotics of France. The AUVs are 6.5 feet long and weigh just 154 pounds.
The French Navy said Alister 100 AUVs will be the Navy's first underwater drones for combating mines and will be used for advanced operations in shallow waters, channel assault operations, for port clearance, and for secondary missions such as seabed survey and reconnaissance.
The drones are equipped with Klein-type sonar, which operates on different frequencies and can either favor either sensing range or image definition, depending on need. The system can be operated by dockside personnel or from a small inflatable boat.
A contract for six systems was awarded to ECA Robotics in 2010 by the military's Directorate General of Armaments. The contract calls for six AUVs to be delivered to the Navy's Mine Disposal Diver Group.