The Belgian-Dutch minehunter replacement programme carried out by Belgium Naval & Robotics successfully reaches the milestone Preliminary Design Review

According to a news published by Belgium Naval & Robotics, the teams reached a new contract milestone, the programme is still on track. This programme will supply the Belgian and Dutch navies with twelve minehunters equipped with unmanned systems (toolboxes).
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 French consortium formed by Naval Group and ECA Robotics won the tender for the replacement of the mine hunters of the Belgian and Dutch navies (Picture source: Twitter)

This milestone also marks the programme’s gradual transition towards the Kership teams. Naval Group is in charge of the preliminary design of the ships and works closely together with Kership. They will start on the detailed design of the ships as of February 2021, followed by their construction.

The construction of the first ship will start in the summer of 2021 and the delivery is planned for 2024.

For the unmanned systems, the completion of this milestone was formalized by the delivery and acceptance of the documentation defining operational use concepts, functional and technical architectures as well as preliminary safety studies of each system (surface drone USV INSPECTOR 125, underwater drone AUV A18-M, towed sonar T18-M, inspection and neutralization drones SEASCAN MK2 and K-STER, aerial drone UAV, the sweep system and containers).

Belgium Naval & Robotics, offers a 2800-tonnes militarized ship specialized in mine warfare with military characteristics (acoustic and electromagnetic discretion, shock resistance) perfectly adapted to the operational use targeted by the Belgian and Dutch navies. In particular, this vessel incorporates an implementation and recovery system for ECA Group's Inspector 125 unmanned surface vehicles (USV). This innovative, robust and reliable system ensures the safety of operators and manoeuvres to protect the ship, the USV and its payloads while offering a high level of mission availability. 

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