Double Eagle - Now and For the Future
Saab’s Double Eagle mine disposal vehicle has provided outstanding service on the Australian Huon Class Minehunters over the last 18 years and is now ready for a refresh.
The Royal Australian Navy operates the largest fleet of Double Eagle Mine Disposal Vehicles in the world today and with available upgrades to propulsion, sonars and new digital control and interfaces the Double Eagle will be ready to face any mine threat into the future.
The Australian Huon Class specialise in mine countermeasure operations and are fitted with a Variable Depth Sonar capable of detection ranges in excess of 1,000 metres ahead of the ship. When a suspected mine is detected, the ship holds a safe distance from the sonar contact and Double Eagle mine disposal vehicle is then deployed to investigate and neutralise the mine threat.
Each ship is fitted with a pair of the electrically powered Saab Double Eagle mine disposal vehicles which are equipped with a searchlight, closed-circuit low light television camera and an on-board short range identification sonar. Real-time command and control is done from the ship via a fibre optic link inside the vehicle's tether, which also relays sensor images for display on the ship's multifunction console in the operations room.
Each Double Eagle is fitted with a mine disposal charge and can be easily adapted to fit the new SAAB mine neutralisation system.
While minehunting is the primary mission the Double Eagle has been used for a wide range of other missions including underwater search and recovery of lost aircraft, containers in the Brisbane river and high value equipment.
- Australian Minehunter finds plane wreckage 73 m below surface
- Australian minehunter finds US WWII aircraft 44 meters below surface
- Brisbane Shipping channel cleared
The strengths of the Double Eagle are what makes it so effective compared to other systems and why it makes sense to retain and upgrade this capability:
- It is a powerful vehicle able to operate in strong Australian currents;
- Power to vehicle is provided down the tether providing unlimited endurance;
- Fully recoverable with the number of mines destroyed in a mission only limited by available mine disposal charges;
- One vehicle does everything (train with the equipment you fight with);
- Zero ship structure changes required to support an upgraded Double Eagle;
- The existing stock of war shot mine disposal charges can be utilised;
- Proven and reliable vehicle already fully integrated into the Minehunters;
- Upgradable and supportable beyond 2035, the projected life of the Huon Class Minehunters
- Sovereign Capability Support in place, and
- Upgrades require minimal changes to training (operational and maintenance).
Saab has developed a number of upgrades for the Double Eagle that are already in-service with navies around the world and provide the latest generation of digital control and senosr technologies. The Royal Australian Navy has the opportunity to keep this world class capability fully capable and operational both now and for the future.