The last three class 332A minehunters will be modernized and upgraded to new technical standards. A simulator will be used for the first time in minehunting and mine clearance training.

“This modernization will establish a uniform and modern standard of important capabilities for the German Navy”, explained Armin Schmidt-Franke, Deputy Director General of BAAINBw, the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support, on the occasion of signing the contract on 21 December 2016 in Koblenz. “The training and test facility helps to further improve training and to test changes to the command and control system without reducing the operational readiness of the minehunters.”

The contract on the conversion project now signed with Atlas Elektronik GmbH, Bremen, en-compasses the replacement of the command and weapons control system with the “Integrated Mine Countermeasure System” (IMCMS), which was already introduced on other units of this class, the replacement of the PINGUIN minehunting weapon system with SEEFUCHS, and the transfer of the capability to control the SEEHUND surface drones to simulate mine clearance.

The SEEFUCHS-I mine identification drone is used for detection and identification, while the SEEFUCHS-C minehunting drone has a shaped charge warhead and is used for the destruction of mines. The remotely controlled SEEHUND surface drones simulate ship noises and the magnetic signature of larger vessels, thus causing bottom mines to detonate. Up to four of them can be con-trolled simultaneously from a control platform.

The delivery of a training and test facility for the above-mentioned systems is also part of the con-tract. It will be installed at the Naval Operational Training Center in Kiel. This system provides, for the first time, for the simulation of the weapon system training in a 1:1 environment, and for the testing of new components before installing them aboard. So far, nine nations employ the SEEFUCHS weapon system.

The signing of the contract to convert three class 332 minehunters initiated the final phase to establish the target structure for the mine countermeasures units of the German Navy. The German Navy will thus have ten class 332 minehunters available, with the capabilities for minehunting, mine clearance and clearance diving for naval mine countermeasures.