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Locate – Vacate – Detonate: The advantages of remote autonomous mine countermeasures

Locate – Vacate – Detonate: The advantages of remote autonomous mine countermeasures

Explosive ordnance, such as mines, pose a significant threat to naval operations, offshore energy projects, and other maritime activities. Traditional methods of disposing of these hazards often put personnel and equipment at risk as they require divers or remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to approach the ordnance closely and manually initiate the detonation process.

The Initiation Transponder 6 (IT 6) from our technology partner Sonardyne, when integrated with mine neutralisation devices mounted on a VideoRay Mission Specialist Defender underwater robot, provides a remote, autonomous, safe and effective solution for mine clearance operations. This technical collaboration allows for acoustic initiation and detonation from a remote location, eliminating the need for and risks associated with physical proximity to the ordnance.

The integration of the Defender and mine neutralisation devices with the IT 6 represents a significant advancement in the field of explosive ordnance disposal (EOD).

How it works:

  • The IT 6 is connected to a non-electric mine neutralisation device, which is deployed near the contact by the Defender.
  • Once the neutralisation device is in place, the Defender can be manoeuvred to a safe distance, typically around 1 kilometre away.
  • Using Sonardyne’s Wideband 2 digital signal technology, the IT 6 receives an acoustic command to arm the charge from a surface vessel or command centre. A subsequent command then initiates the shock tube and detonates the neutralisation device.
  • The entire process can be carried out in most weather conditions and during day or night, enhancing operational flexibility and safety.


  • Enhanced safety: By eliminating the need for physical proximity to the contact during detonation, the combination of the IT 6 and Defender significantly reduces the risk to personnel and assets.
  • Increased operational efficiency: The autonomous delivery and wireless initiation capability streamlines the process, allowing for faster and more efficient mine clearance operations.
  • Versatility: The IT 6 and Defender can be used in various underwater environments, including deep-water operations, making it suitable for a wide range of clearance missions. The underwater robot is designed for more precise control of the vehicle position and orientation, heavier payloads and demanding interventions. With seven thrusters, it can move in any direction and maintain active pitch to face its target in an upward or downward orientation.
  • Proven technology: Sonardyne’s Wideband 2 digital signal technology draws on a fifty-year heritage; it is field-proven, ensuring reliable and long-range underwater wireless communication. The Defender draws on VideoRay’s twenty-five years of ROV design experience and is built with power, reliability and flexibility in mind.
  • Multi-shot: the IT 6 can be fired multiple times, making deck tests and practice runs affordable. In addition, if a mission is aborted the kit can be safely recovered and reused. The explosive charge and the IT 6 are only sacrificed on confirmed contacts.
  • Cost: Once the initial investment has been made for the technology, the cost per deployment is significantly lower than sending personnel on each mission. If multiple ROVs are deployed, they can be controlled from one vessel or control room, thus further reducing costs.


In 2022, the IT 6 and the Defender were demonstrated together for the first time to the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and the UAE Navy at a quarry in Wales.

The demonstration included successful detonations of a mine neutralisation device, delivered by the Defender and initiated by the IT 6, from a range of approximately 1 kilometre.

As armed forces around the world move towards more autonomous operations on land, in the air and under the sea, there will be increased demand for the utilisation of existing and the development of new technology.

The benefits in terms of safety, efficiency, adaptability and cost are obvious, not just in mine countermeasures; and the collaboration between market leaders, such as Forcys, Sonardyne and VideoRay, will be at the forefront of driving advances in the technology. Contact us to see how we can help you be there too.


Did you know that another of our technology partners, Voyis, manufacture the market’s technically leading ROV piloting camera? The Discovery camera from Voyis enhances your identification by delivering crisp 4K images of your targets in real-time. The ideal complement to the IT 6 and Defender. Find out more in a blog coming soon…