Kership, a joint venture between Piriou and Naval Group, is in charge of the construction of the 12 Mine Countermeasure Vessels for the Belgian and the Royal Netherlands Navy.
The first-in-class ship will be commissioned with the Belgian Navy in 2024. The Royal Netherlands Navy will commission its first new generation MCM vessel in 2025.
About rMCM program
The Belgian Ministry of Defense officially notified the consortium Belgian 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.
Designed by Naval Group, the MCM mothership has one port and one starboard LARS located slightly aft of midship, close to the ship’s centre of gravity. Each LARS consists of a pivoting A-Frame davit with the USV, weighing up to 18t, housed in a floating cradle. It allows the simultaneous launch of two USVs with maximal safety. For the Belgian-Dutch mine countermeasure (MCM) program, conducted by Belgium Naval Robotics – a Naval Group and ECA Group consortium -, they will be used to operate two ECA’s Inspector 125 USV.
The Inspector 125 USV has a length of about 12 meters, a beam of about 4 meters and a full load weight of 18.1 tons. According to ECA Group, the Inspector 125 is designed to receive a wide range of payload with easy and quick reconfiguration capability. It can carry, deploy and recover the A18 mid-size AUV, the T18 LARS for seafloor survey or MCM detection operation or 2x SEASCAN + 6x K-STER C for MCM identification and neutralization operations. The Inspector 125 has an endurance of 40 hours, a maximum speed of 25 knots and an operational range of 12 nautical miles (from the mother-ship).
The mothership itself is 82 meters long with a displacement of 2,500 tons and a crew complement of 30 sailors (total accommodation for 63 people). It is fitted with a Bofors 40Mk4 40m main gun system, FN Herstal’ Sea deFNder 12.7mm remote weapon stations, an NS50 radar by Thales, Sea Eagle EO/IR by Chess Dynamics, Saab TactiCall Communication System, and a platform for SKELDAR V-200 VTOL UAV.