These new assets will grant superior capabilities to the ships in terms of increased detectability with the sonars and higher reliability and safety for the navigation system.
Belgium Naval & Robotics press release
iXblue, will provide the inertial navigation solutions for the naval platforms of the MCMV program, from surface ships to surface and submerged UAVs and Towed Sonars.
By ensuring resilient navigation and positioning, as well as extreme accuracy and real-time detection and analysis of mines, obstacles and other detected objects, iXblue will offer a complete and fully integrated navigation solution that will contribute to the protection of Mine Countermeasures vessels and their crews.
The front sonar FLS 60 will ensure a precise and real-time detection of mines while iXblue’s inertial navigation system will provide resilient and reliable navigation information under all circumstances.
BELGIUM NAVAL & ROBOTICS – a Naval Group and ECA GOUP consortium – was awarded a contract in 2019 for twelve mine countermeasures vessels and their drone systems for the Belgian and Royal Netherlands Navies. After a design period of three years conducted by Naval Group, Kership will execute the detailed design and production phase for the motherships. The program will span over more than 10 years.
Six ships will be delivered to the Belgian Navy and six to the Royal Netherlands Navy with a first delivery scheduled for 2024. They will be equipped with complete drone systems supplied by ECA GROUP containing a total of more than eighty underwater, surface and aerial drones entirely dedicated to Mine Countermeasures operations.
Naval News comments:
iXblue’s FLS 60 is a 3D multi-beam Forward Looking Sonar designed for mine and obstacle avoidance. Thanks to its unique three-dimensional coverage, it provides a clear and precisely geo-referenced picture of the surrounding environment, ensuring the protection of ships and their crews.
According to our information, the INS systems that iXblue will supply are the Marins and Quadrans as well as the cyber-secure NETANS naval data distribution system. Resistant to GNSS spoofing and jamming, these systems will contribute to the mission success by providing the Belgian Navy and Royal Netherlands Navy with resilient navigation information under all circumstances.
For the record, iXblue won an initial contract to supply forward looking sonars, INS and subsea positioning and communication systems for the toolboxes (unmanned systems) of the program back in October 2020.
The Belgian Ministry of Defense officially notified the consortium Belgiun Naval & Robotics (formed by Naval Group & ECA Group) on May 22, 2019, a contract to supply 12 motherships and associated equipment to the Belgian and Dutch Navies.
According to Commander Bultot, rMCM Project Leader, the first steel cut of the first-in-class ship is set to take place at the Kership (Piriou) shipyard in Concarneau, France, on 21 June 2021. The program achieved preliminary design review in December 2020.