Keel laid for first of 12 new minehunters under joint Belgian-Dutch program

Photo: Naval Group

The Naval Group of France laid the keel for a new 82-metre mine countermeasures (MCM) vessel at its Concarneau shipyard on Tuesday, November 30.

The vessel is the first of a planned 12 MCM ships ordered for the Belgian and Royal Netherlands Navies. Kership, a joint venture between the Naval Group and Piriou, is in charge of the production of all 12 vessels.

The vessels will each have space for two 12-metre unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) optimised for MCM duties. Armament will include 40-millimetre naval gun and two 12.7-millimetre machine guns mounted on remote weapon stations.

Delivery of the first vessel is scheduled for the end of 2024. All 11 remaining ships will be handed over by 2030.

Construction of the vessels began in July of this year with a steel-cutting ceremony at Crist Shipyard in Poland.

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