Reconnaissance at a depth of 305 m: new unmanned underwater vehicles for minesweeper squadron

Reconnaissance at a depth of 305 m: new unmanned underwater vehicles for minesweeper squadron

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Weighing only 26 kilograms each, equipped with a high definition camera and ready for action within a few minutes: Six remotely operated unmanned underwater vehicles have been newly procured for 3 Minesweeper Squadron in Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein. The Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBwBundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr) procured these vehicles in a fast-track process.

A black device at the water’s edge with a yellow tether on a reel to its right.

The “Deep Trekker Revolution”-type tethered unmanned underwater vehicle


The unmanned underwater vehicles for maritime reconnaissance were procured within the scope of what is called a fast-track initiative for operations by the Sea Directorate at BAAINBwBundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr, Koblenz, within a period of only nine months. This fast-track process serves to react to urgent operational requirements that arise unexpectedly.

Less risk for divers

The vehicles of the “Deep Trekker Revolution” type feature a high definition 4K camera and a 260-degree revolving head and can operate in a depth of up to 305 m. For instance, they can be used to search the hull of a ship or of port facilities under water for potentially dangerous objects such as mines. In addition, the device is equipped with a grabber, which can be used to retrieve objects. The tether is designed for a tensile load of up to 100 kg.

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Slow motion video: A tire is being retrieved from the bottom of the sea by means of the grabber mounted on the vehicle

The unmanned underwater vehicles are remotely operated by means of a tether. The benefit is: the operation can be carried out on site without any divers. Therefore, the risk for the deployed divers is reduced.

Underwater shot of the ship propeller and a blue grabber.

The unmanned underwater vehicle in operation: inspecting the ship propeller


The unmanned underwater vehicles have been handed over to 3 Minesweeper Squadron in Kiel, which has ten Frankenthal-class minehunters at its disposal. This vessel type covers the Navy's whole spectrum of combined naval mine countermeasures: targeted minehunting and clearance diving as well as large-scale minesweeping.

The vessels of the squadron are available for national and international maneuvers, operations as well as task forces.