Belgian Navy recruits and strengths ties with Defense industry


For the fourth consecutive time, the Belgian Navy organized a major event at the naval base of Zeebrugge on the Belgian coast, called "NAVY TECHNO Fest 2023".
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Belgian Tripartite class minehunter Bellis at the occasion of the NAVY TECHNO Fest 2023. (Picture source: Belgian Navy)


The event began on September 28 with a tournament for 400 students, followed by a day for maritime companies on Friday before opening to the general public over the weekend. It was an opportunity to try combat swimming, pilot drones, and visit Belgian ships.

The day started with a press conference given by Admiral Botman, commander of the Navy since June 2023, and by Commander Charles Colot.

The journalists then began a guided tour of the Zeebrugge naval base. The booths of numerous companies from the naval sector, as well as the Belgian armed forces, caught the attention of Navy Recognition.


Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 K-STER C Mine Disposal Vehicle. (Picture source: Navy Recognition)


The K-STER C is an underwater mine disposal vehicle capable of remotely neutralizing sea mines. Designed to function in strong currents, it has a tiltable shape charge for accurate targeting and neutralizes a wide range of mines. It meets NATO standards and can be integrated into various drone systems for broader mine countermeasure operations.


Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 ALSEAMAR SeaExplorer Glider on the Flanders Ship Repair Group stand. (Picture source: Navy Recognition)


The SeaExplorer glider is an underwater device with specific dimensions and features. It measures 0.25 meters in diameter and 2 meters in length, with an additional foldable antenna that adds another meter. This device has a wingless design but still features a wingspan of 56.5 cm and weighs 59 kg in air.

It can reach depths of up to 1,000 meters, guided by its ballast volume of around 1,000 cc. It moves at a typical speed of 0.5 kt but can go up to 1 kt. It's powered by a rechargeable Li-ion battery and, depending on its configuration and usage, can cover distances of about 1,700 km over approximately 110 days.


Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Anti-submarine warfare version of the UMS Skeldar's V-200 UAV. (Picture source: Navy Recognition)


The company UMS Skeldar showcased the Skeldar V-200, and the Belgian public had the opportunity to see the ASW version of the UAV for the first time.

This version will equip the future mine countermeasures vessels of the Belgian and Dutch navies. Navy Recognition had the chance to observe it two weeks earlier at DSEI in London.

Four military ships were open to the public: the patrol vessel Castor and the Tripartite-class minehunters Bellis, Lobelia, and Primula. During our visit, three foreign military vessels were also on display, including the German Frankenthal-class minehunter Grömitz, the Estonian Sandown class minehunter EML Ugandi, and the Royal Navy's River class offshore patrol vessel HMS Mersey.


Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Royal Navy's River-class offshore patrol vessel HMS Mersey. (Picture source: Navy Recognition)


The press was privileged to receive a comprehensive tour of the patrol vessel Castor, guided by Lieutenant Commander Kristof Van de Vondel. He drew our attention to the vessel's various missions, which range from combating offenses such as drug or human trafficking to its primary duty of patrolling to defend Belgian territorial waters, particularly with regard to all non-NATO vessels.


Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Belgian Castor class patrol vessel Castor. (Picture source: Navy Recognition)