French builder lays keel of second minehunter under joint Dutch-Belgian program

Photo: Naval Group

French shipbuilder the Naval Group has laid the keel for the second unit in a series of 12 mine countermeasures (MCM) vessels being built as part of a joint program between the Netherlands and Belgium.

Once completed, the 82-metre, 2,800-tonne vessel will operate as HNLMS Vlissingen in service with the Royal Netherlands Navy.

The 12 MCM vessels are being built by Belgium Naval and Robotics, the consortium formed by the Naval Group and the ECA Group.

Kership, a joint venture between the Naval Group and Piriou, is in charge of the production of the twelve platforms are assembled in Concarneau and Lanester. They will be then all armed afloat by Piriou in Concarneau.

The Naval Group, as overall architect and prime contractor, is responsible for the design of the ships, the overall integration, and the testing and commissioning of the mission system (combat system and mine countermeasures system).

The ECA Group, as co-contractor, is in charge of the unmanned drones that will be deployed aboard the ships for MCM missions. These unmanned craft include a 12-metre unmanned surface vehicle (USV) designed by ECA subsidiary Mauric.

The future Vlissingen will be capable of a maximum speed of 15.3 knots and a range of over 3,500 nautical miles.

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