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Keel laid for first Belgian-Dutch rMCM minehunter

1st December 2021 - 14:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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A rendering of the future rMCM programme ships and associated drones. (Image: Naval Group)

The first ship of six for Belgium will be named BNS Ostende.

On 30 November, Naval Group laid the keel for the first of 12 mine countermeasure vessels (MCMVs) under the Belgian-Dutch rMCM programme. A Naval Group-Piriou joint venture, Kership, will produce the ships in Concarneau, France.

Delivery of the first example is scheduled for the end of 2024, with the remainder staggered until 2030. Piriou will arm the ships when afloat, with Naval Group responsible for design, integration, testing and commissioning the mission system.

The contract for the programme, awarded to Naval Group/ECA Group consortium Belgium Naval & Robotics in 2019, covers supply of the ships and around 100 drones to equip a toolbox on the vessels. ECA Group will produce the drones in Ostend, Belgium.

The MCMVs will utilise a fully robotic system for the detection, classification and neutralisation of undersea mines.

Shephard Defence Insight estimates the programme cost for rMCM to be €966 million for the Netherlands and €887 million for Belgium. Both nations will receive six vessels.

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