The Netherlands Ministry of Defence placed an order for a drone system within the Mine Countermeasures capability replacement of the Royal Netherlands Navy

Belgium Naval & Robotics – Naval Group and ECA GROUP consortium – announces today a contract award from the Defence Material Organization (DMO) of the Ministry of Defence of the Netherlands worth over 20 million euros. Complementary to and anticipating the deliveries of 6 mine hunters and associated drone systems within the Belgian-Dutch Mine Countermeasures (MCM) capability replacement programme, the Netherlands Ministry of Defence awards a new contract to the consortium to provide the Royal Netherlands Navy with unmanned and autonomous systems for their Operational Tests and Evaluation (OT&E) programme.

The OT&E programme of the Royal Netherlands Navy has been created to prepare and test new operational doctrines associated with the rMCM means. The scope of this contract will allow the performance assessment of the rMCM tools, operating the L&R systems, the use of the planning and evaluation software for the deployment of naval drones as well as some of the manning, maintenance and training concepts.

Belgium Naval & Robotics (BNR) will provide a comprehensive MCM toolbox including:

  • The subsea drone A18-M AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) for mine detection, which has already been successfully tested within the Sandy Coast exercise in September 2020;
  • The Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) for mine identification and neutralisation SEASCAN MK2 and K-STER;
  • A surface naval drone INSPECTOR 90 USV;
  • A Command and Control (C2) container equipped with mine warfare data center and operating consoles;
  • An advanced software suite (UMISOFT and SMMD);
  • A floating dock for Launching and Recovery of the USV;
  • Launch and Recovery (L&R) systems;
  • Support equipment including maintenance and storage containers, spares and special tools.

The delivery of the MCM toolbox will start over the next few months and will be completed within 24 months. Throughout the duration of the contract, Belgium Naval & Robotics will support the Royal Netherlands Navy with training, documentation, maintenance and technical support.

“In line with our commitment within the rMCM programme of the Belgian and Netherlands navies, we are proud to continue and reinforce our support to the Royal Netherlands Navy. The (r)evolutionary stand-off Mine Countermeasures concept of the two navies is taking shape and we are proud to contribute to it with our technological solutions together with our partner Naval Group”, states Guénaël GUILLERME, CEO of ECA GROUP.

“Naval Group is fully committed to support the operational objectives of the Royal Netherlands Navy within the frame of the Belgian-Dutch Mine Countermeasures (MCM) capability replacement programme. This innovative solution will fulfil the operational needs of the Navy. The OT&E contract opens new opportunities to further strengthen our existing cooperation”, declared Eric Perrot, Naval Group Programme Director.

“DMO and the Royal Netherlands Navy are ready to start exploring all new possibilities that the stand-off concept for counter mine operations will offer. With the first delivery this spring, we can start learning well ahead of the introduction of the new MCM capability. We are committed to the OT&E programme benefitting our cooperation with both our Belgian partners and BNR, in order to improve operational outcome in the future”, said Captain (E) Sander van Luik, Netherlands programme lead for rMCM and OT&E at DMO.