According to the EUR 10-mln contract, the French company undertook to supply Russian Navy with four unmanned boats and four submersibles to be based onboard Alexandrite-class minesweepers. Later on, however, the parties agreed delivery of only three of unmanned boats. According to the source, all three boats have already been delivered to Russia.
He stated that the Russian party had decided to produce such boats by itself. Unmanned boats Inspector Mk2 are operated by the Project 12700 Alexandrite-class mine countermeasures ships. However, the ECA Group products were not subject to the anti-Russian sanctions. The representative of the French company confirmed that to Mil.Press Today.
"Russian analog to Inspector, the unmanned boat Typhoon-680 designed by the same-named consortium and based on the BL-680 fast-speed boat, surpasses the French counterpart in the claimed performance. However, it has not been tested in practice yet", an insider in the Russian defense industry told Mil.Press Today.The French boat has more powerful engine (250 hp comparing to 200 hp of the Russian one), its speed is higher by 10 knots (35 against 25). The Russian analog is more navigable though (force 5 against 3) and more endurant. Moreover, the Russian drone boat is made of composite, while the French one is of aluminum. Finally, it is more capable and by 40-50% cheaper than Inspector.
MIl.Press Today reported in July 2017 that the crewmen of the minesweeper Aleksandr Obukhov were criticizing the unmanned boat considering it immature.
Since 1936, ECA Group has been focused on innovative projects in robotics, automated systems, modeling and industrial processes. The company’s drone boat is used on the Project 12700 lead minesweeper Aleksandr Obukhov.
Project 12700 (codenamed Alexandrite) harbor minesweepers were developed by the Almaz Central Marine Design Bureau for the Russian Navy. Mine countermeasures ships of this type are designed for searching and destruction of mines in littoral waters around naval stations. Ships of this project are expected to become the core of the renewed Russian Navy’s minesweeping force.