UK donating undersea minehunter drones to help Ukraine clear coastline
That’s according to a report issued by the British Government press service, seen by Ukrinform.
Dozens of Ukrainian personnel will be taught to use the autonomous minehunting vehicles by the Royal Navy and its U.S. partners over the coming months.
Six autonomous minehunting vehicles will be sent to the country to help detect Russian mines in the waters off its coast. Three of these will be provided from UK stocks, with a further three to be purchased from industry.
The lightweight autonomous vehicle is designed for use in shallow coastal environments, operating effectively at depths of up to 100m to detect, locate, and identify mines using an array of sensors so the Ukrainian Navy can destroy them.
Dozens of Ukrainian Navy personnel will be taught to use the drones over the coming months, with the first tranche having already begun their training.
It is recalled that Russia has been weaponizing food by destroying Ukrainian agriculture and blockading the country’s Black Sea ports to prevent exports, with devastating consequences for the world’s poorest people as food prices rise. A small number of ships carrying grain have left Ukraine since the UN brokered a deal in July to allow food exports, but efforts to get food out of the country continue to be hampered by sea mines left by Russian forces along Ukraine’s coast.
UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said “Russia’s cynical attempts to hold the world’s food supply to ransom must not be allowed to succeed.”
“This vital equipment and training will help Ukraine make their waters safe, helping to smooth the flow of grain to the rest of the world and supporting the Armed Forces of Ukraine as they look to defend their coastline and ports,” the minister said.
The Royal Navy’s Diving & Threat Exploitation Group will conduct the three-week training courses, alongside the US Navy 6th Fleet. Having considerable experience using the equipment already they will conduct training at sea to operate the vessels and interpret the data they send back to identify mock mines.
The Royal Navy is also training Ukrainian sailors to operate Sandown Class Minehunter vessels.
As reported earlier, the UK is leading a major international program to train up to 10,000 Ukrainian recruits in basic military skills, which Canada, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Latvia and the Netherlands have all announced they will support.
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