On 30 November 2021, Naval Group has laid the keel for the primary of the twelve mine countermeasure vessels of the Belgian-Dutch rMCM program, meant for Belgium. The keel laying ceremony occurred in Concarneau, within the presence of the Belgian Chief of Defence, Admiral Michel Hofman, and the Dutch Chief of Defence, Normal Onno Eichelsheim. This program was awarded in 2019 to Belgium Naval & Robotics, the consortium fashioned by Naval Group and ECA Group, following a world competitors. It gives for the availability to the Belgian Navy and the Royal Dutch Navy of twelve mine countermeasures vessels and round 100 drones built-in inside a toolbox that may equip the vessels.

Pierre Eric Pommellet, CEO of Naval Group mentioned:” We’re very glad to be right here in Concarneau to take this subsequent step in this system with the keel laying of the primary mine countermeasure vessel. This program is the results of European cooperation between Belgium and the Netherlands, by which Naval Group is proud to take part. It is usually the results of a stable industrial partnership and of a dedication to competitiveness between Naval Group and ECA Group. Our groups will proceed their laborious work to ship these newest technology ships, specialised in mine warfare and completely tailored to the operational use focused by the Belgian and Dutch navies.”


Dominique Giannoni, CEO of ECA Group mentioned: “ECA Group is happy to be current at this ceremony alongside its associate Naval Group. All ECA Group groups are mobilised for the success of this extremely revolutionary program: it goals at an unprecedented degree of automation of mine warfare operations, with the coordinated implementation of underwater, floor and aerial drones. In shut collaboration with Naval Group groups, we’re growing an built-in and optimised system to fulfill the necessities of our Belgian and Dutch clients.”

“Within the context of mine warfare, the concept of accelerating the gap between the menace and the crews just isn’t new” introduced Admiral Hofman, Belgian Chief of Defence. “Within the 2015 NATO Maritime Operations examine, the primary shortcomings of shipborne methods have been gradual operation, poor mine discrimination, incapability to detect buried and drifting mines, self-defence and the flexibility of platforms to simply challenge globally. It was already clear that the prevailing typical platforms couldn’t meet all these challenges. Due to this fact, we have been in search of a dependable associate to hold out this small revolution in mine warfare.”

Keel laying of BNS Oostende, first new Belgian mine countermeasure vessel

Kership, a three way partnership between Naval Group and Piriou, is answerable for the manufacturing of the twelve vessels that are assembled in Concarneau. They are going to be armed afloat by Piriou. Naval Group, as total architect and prime contractor, is accountable for the design of the ships, the general integration, and the testing and commissioning of the mission system (fight system and mine countermeasures system). ECA Group, as co-contractor, is answerable for the unmanned drones’ system. Thedrones can be produced in ECA Group workshop (Ostend, Belgium). The upkeep of the ships can be carried out in Belgium in shut collaboration between the Belgian Navy and Naval Group Belgium, with the help of its associate Flanders Ship Restore. The primary supply is scheduled for the top of 2024 in Zeebrugge, Belgium. Deliveries will then be staggered till 2030.

These specialised mine warfare vessels are the primary to have the potential to embark and launch or fly a mixture of floor drones (themselves 12-metre, 20-tonne vessels), underwater drones and aerial drones. The mine countermeasures vessels will use a completely robotic system for detection, classification and neutralisation of mines. They will face up to underwater explosions and have very low acoustic, electrical and magnetic signatures, consistent with the missions to be carried out. These mine countermeasure vessels have the next traits: Size: 82,6m Width: 17m Displacement: 2800t Most pace: 15,3 knots Vary: >3500 nautical miles and Crew: 63 individuals.