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ECA Group won €450 million through Belgian-Dutch MCM contract


As part of the Belgian-Dutch Mine Counter Measures (MCM) contract awarded to the Belgium Naval & Robotics consortium, with a worth value of €2.2 billion, ECA Group is to win €450 million for the building and the procurement of a total of 100 drones (ROVs) to supply the 12 mine-hunting vessels.


ECA Group won 450 million through Belgian Dutch MCM contract Some ROVs ECA builds, at ECA's booth at IDEX 2019, UAE (Picture source : Navy Recognition)


As a reminder, a call for tenders was launched by the Belgian and Dutch navies in the Summer of 2018, seeking for companies to build a provide them 12 brand new autonomous mine-hunting vessels, scheduled to be fitted with a state-of-the-art toolbox.

Recently, the Belgian government in charge of the final decision has awarded the contract to the Belgium Naval & Robotics consortium, which regroups Naval Group and ECA Robotics. As part of this contract, ECA Group is in charge of the building of a total amount of 100 drones to supply the 12 mine-hunting vessels (6 for each navy).

The 10-year program will start with a design phase of about 3 years before the production and delivery phase of the drone systems. The contract should generate revenue starting 2019. This contract will be, by far, the largest contract ever won by ECA Group, its amount being greater than 4 years of turnover for the group.

This success is the achievement of a strategy focused for many years on the development of drone systems composed of multiple and varied drones cooperating as autonomously as possible within the same mission. In this case, it is a mine clearance mission at sea.

The Belgian and Dutch navies are thus acquiring the latest generation of mine hunters designed by Naval Group and fully integrating ECA Group's naval drones systems capable of conducting submarine mine clearance operations autonomously in the minefield. The drone systems to provide are the latest generations of drones developed over the last 4 years. The drones, all integrated into ECA Group's C2 MCM system, are Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs),towed sonars and Mine Identification & Destruction Systems (MIDS) composed of Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) for the identification and destruction of mines, all of these drones can be implemented fully automatically from the USV (Unmanned Surface Vehicles). The naval drones system also incorporates UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and sweeps.

The Belgian navy is a reference in submarine mine clearance within NATO, this contract is a major asset for export: as 40 years ago with the tripartite mine hunters program that had generated sales of PAP robots to dozens of marines in 20 years, this success in Belgium should generate many commercial export benefits in the coming years.

Several major navies including France, India or England will renew their mine hunting fleet in the coming years. In addition, ECA Group believes that most navies will also be equipped with transportable drone systems that can be used from the coast.

A significant part of the execution of the contract will take place in Belgium within ECA Robotics Belgium, as part of a cooperation plan that already includes 39 Belgian partners. The equipped surface drones will be designed and produced in Belgium and all underwater drones will also be produced there. Finally, these naval or air drones generate a logistic support, repairs, spares activities that can be done by ECA Robotics Belgium. These activities generate additional revenues as maintenance and support contracts throughout the lifespan of drones, generally greater than 20 years for naval drones.