Our colleagues from Dutch naval defense media marineschepen.nl had the scoop on the mine countermeasure (MCM) vessel design submitted by Damen for the Belgian-Dutch competition. Damen is a Dutch defence, shipbuilding, and engineering conglomerate company based in Gorinchem, Netherlands.
To answer the tender, Damen has partnered with Imtech Belgium, a multi-technical specialist delivering technical design, installation, management and maintenance for numerous organizations in Belgium
The Belgian and Dutch navies will start replacing their ageing fleet of MCM vessels from 2023. The Tripartite class vessels were built in the 1980s under a trilateral program between Belgium, Netherlands and France. Under the MCM program, the two navies intend to purchase 12 new vessels, 10 “tool boxes” and an initial 10 years support contract. Each tool box will be composed of an array of remotely operated and autonomous platforms, with two unmanned surface vessels (USV), one autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), one unmanned air vehicle (UAV) and, depending on the countries request, one remotely operated vehicle (ROV). Three naval defense joint ventures (called « combinations » by the Belgian military) are competing in this tender: SeaNavalSolutions (Thales, EDR, Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Socarenam); Belgium Naval & Robotics (Naval Group and ECA) and Damen Imtech Belgium.
By launching their MCM program in 2018, Belgium and the Netherlands intend to shape and adopt the next generation of mine warfare by linking a mother-ship to autonomous platforms via a system that will make them interact. A strategic program, the MCM, lead by Belgium, is called to serve as benchmark for every modern navy that would like to modernize its mine countermeasure vessels or which intend to acquire a new capability.
According to marineschepen.nl Damen Imtech Belgium is proposing two different toolboxes, one based on Atlas Elektronik solutions while the other solution relies on OIP Elbit Systems technologies.
The Damen mothership being proposed is 91.3 meters long with a displacement of 3,025 tons. It features a bow-mounted Mine Avoidance Sonar. The hull form is based on the Royal Australian Navy new training ship MV Sycamore which Damen delivered in 2017. The vessel has a steel hull but Damen was able to reduce the acoustic, magnetic and electrical signatures of its MCM vessel down to levels typically found in a Frigate type of ship.
For more information, read the full article at Marine Schepen
They also recently launched an English language website called naviesworldwide.com