Participating Countries



This project “Modular Lightweight Minesweeping” (MLM)is a part of the EDA’s Defence Research and Technology Programme “European Unmanned Maritime Systems for Mine-Counter-Measures and other Naval Applications (UMS). Most operative mine sweeping systems of today are dedicated vessels which tend to have large maintenance costs and large manning levels. One of the dominant theories on the future of mine sweeping is to have smaller lightweight unmanned surface vehicles (USV’s) equipped with lightweight sweep sources. The objective of the MLM project is to demonstrate a lightweight minesweeping system through theoretical studies, numerical modeling, development and integration of sources and platforms and verifications by sea trials.


  • Prove that signatures generated by modular lightweight sources can be accurately predicted using numerical models
  • Modular lightweight sources can be towed by or installed on unmanned vessels
  • Modular lightweight sources are capable of actuating realistic mines
  • Multiple unmanned vehicles can sail together and maintain a predefined formation
  • Multiple modular lightweight sources can generate a complex ship like signature
  • Modular lightweight sources can quickly and easily be reconfigured
  • Unmanned vehicles have sufficient endurance to carry out mine sweeping operations


This project is a key element in the European Defence Agency’s “European Unmanned Maritime Systems for Mine Counter Measures and other Naval applications” programme. With the introduction of a European Union Maritime Security Strategy (EUMSS) a renewed emphasis has been placed on Europe’s Maritime affairs. Crucial to this is the preservation of Sea Lines of Communication, ensuring the free and safe movement of trade and people. The MLM project is developing the future technological solutions to meet that will help meet some of the challenges of the EUMSS.

The main purpose of this project is to demonstrate an unmanned lightweight modular minesweeping system. The project does not provide for a fully operational system, but instead is based upon modifications to currently available assets.

The project is managed by the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment and consists of seven additional companies. Calzoni from Italy, CTM – Poland, DCNS – France, DGA- France, SIEL – Italy, Thales Underwater Systems in France and finally WTD71 in Germany.