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Supporting the Royal Navy’s Mine Hunting WISEX programme with Seagull™ USV demonstrations

6 September 2022


As part of the Royal Navy’s transition towards an autonomous Mine Hunting Capability, the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) invited Elbit Systems UK to demonstrate its proven autonomous mine hunting technology for the WILTON Industry Show and Experiment (WISEX) event.

Elbit Systems UK (ESUK) was invited to demonstrate Seagull™ Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV) and her MCM toolbox sub-systems under operational conditions - involving key environmental variables, such as differing depths, currents and tidal streams – in UK Waters in Scotland.

The demonstration took place in July and August and involved ESUK demonstrating specific capability in 2 different operating areas to provide the MOD information on system performance evidence to inform future programme requirements.


Seagull™ is an operationally proven USV which can be deployed for a variety of crewed and uncrewed missions. Modular and agnostic in design, Seagull™’s mission system payloads can be used to support Mine Warfare, Anti-Submarine Warfare, Anti-Surface Warfare, Electronic Warfare and ISR operations - providing navies with a full spectrum of autonomous operational capability.

Our Seagull™ USV is a true force multiplier, providing navies with an agnostic and innovative capability that can support global littoral and deep-sea operations. Through continued collaboration with our industry partners and with advances in mission system capabilities, Elbit Systems continues to spearhead USV technology to ensure we maintain a competitive advantage in the maritime domain.

At its core, Seagull™’s operationally proven autonomous capability is market leading and we are proud to be supporting the Royal Navy’s understanding of how autonomous systems can be used in future global operations.

Greig Murray, Business Development Manager – Elbit Systems UK

Seagull™ can be operated in crewed and uncrewed modes using line-of-sight and SATCOM datalinks; and an integrated navigation and safety suite. Additionally, the Mission Control Station (MCS) can be operated from a mothership, from headquarters, or transported in a mission module vehicle to a remote location onshore – as was the case during the WISEX demonstrations.

The Demonstration

Seagull™ USV WISEX demonstration

The aim of the WISEX demonstration was to provide MOD and industry partners with operational analysis of Seagull™’s mine hunting capabilities; and to provide the evidence necessary to inform the development of MOD’s Mine Hunting Capability programme. Co-sponsored by Navy DEVELOP and Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), the demonstrations were also supported by Dstl stakeholders.

Through collaboration with our industrial partners, the Seagull™ used in the WISEX demonstrations was equipped with the Kraken KATFISH open aperture multi-beam sonar, along with Elbit Systems’ mine warfare Mission Management System, showcasing a configuration that is operationally proven and that has recently been delivered to an Asian customer.

As well as these detection systems, Seatronics’ Valor Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) was deployed and equipped with the ECS Cobra BX-90 Mine Disposal Solution, though no live ordinance was used during the demonstrations.

Experts from Seatronics and Kraken were also supporting the demonstrations, enabling MOD to gain further insight into the mission system’s operational capability. 

The demonstration area comprised two simulated minefields seeded with mine like objects. The first field was located in a narrow stretch of the Kilbrannan Sound, and the second was located in more open waters to the south.

The first field was chosen to test Seagull™’s ability to conduct operations in deep water (over 100m) over challenging seabed gradients with a focus on coverage speed and coverage accuracy. The second field facilitated a test of Seagull™’s ability to operate in an area with challenging tidal streams and more acute weather conditions and sea state.


Despite the challenging sea state, the demonstrations were a resounding success, with the Seagull™ USV and her mission system payloads achieving a target detection and identification rate of 100%.

The successful demonstration of Seagull™ and her MCM mission system payloads during WISEX has reinforced what we already know – that Elbit Systems UK’s autonomous maritime technology continues to offer an innovative, yet proven, capability to our defence customers.

Despite rough conditions and complex cross-currents and tidal flows, Seagull™ achieved the challenge set and completed the task. Our involvement in WISEX has provided an opportunity for the Royal Navy to fully understand ESUK’s autonomous mine warfare value proposition. WISEX also provided the Royal Navy with the data and information required to inform the progress of its Mine Hunting Capability Programme.

Through ongoing collaboration, ESUK and our industry partners are looking forward to continuing our work with MOD, DE&S and Dstl not only in the maritime sphere, but across all domains.

Greig Murray, Business Development Manager – Elbit Systems UK

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