ECA Group and Naval Group have showcased their joint solution for stand-off mine countermeasures (MCM) at Pacific 2019, which has been purchased by both Belgium and the Netherlands.
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Presenting to journalists, stakeholders, and even one of the purchasers of the solution, the collaborative showcase highlighted the capabilities of the latest generation warship and “Toolboxes” (system of drones) for counter mine measures.
The two companies said that the capability “meets the needs of modern navies and allows for bespoke solutions”.
In attendance for the showcase was Vice Admiral Arie Jan de Waard, Director Defence Materiel Organisation and NL Armaments Director, from the Netherlands Ministry of Defence, who spoke eagerly about the project that will see his navy receive 6 ships for the solution.
With the first ship aiming to be delivered to the Royal Netherlands Navy by 2024, Vice Admiral de Waard said that the vessels would fill their nation’s minehunting capabilities, with each ship equipped with 80 drones and ten drone systems.
The vessels are 2800-ton and have the capability to carry up to 67 personnel, although the optimal amount suggested during the showcase was 35 or more.
The ships, designed by Naval Group, contain ECA Group's INSPECTOR 125 unmanned surface vehicles (USVs), for Launch and Recovery System (LARS) roles.
The drone systems are the latest generation developed by ECA Group over the past four years, and are integrated into the C2 MCM UMISOFT software connected to the Naval Group’s I4drones software to form the mine-warfare mission system that is integrated into the ship’s combat system.
When pressed about the potential of the vessels for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), a Naval Group spokesman said that while there are currently no plans for Australia to purchase the systems, the companies would be “very happy” to offer the vessels to the RAN, and would be able to be customised to fit Australian needs, if required.
While there are no official plans, the presentation of the solution during PACIFIC 2019 would have drawn the attention of the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG), with the collaboration clearly keen to offer the vessel’s to Australia.