France’s Naval Group clinches Belgian-Dutch minehunter replacement contract

Belgium has chosen a consortium led by France’s Naval Group for the construction of 12 new minehunters for the navies of Belgium and the Netherlands.

Belgium Naval & Robotics, as the consortium made up of Naval Group and ECA Robotics is named, will build the minehunters and their drone systems under a ten-year contract worth an estimated two billion euros.

The joint program to replace the two countries’ ageing Tripartite-class minehunters was led by Belgium and includes a range of unmanned systems including unmanned surface, aerial and underwater vehicles alongside towed sonars and mine identification and neutralization ROVs.

Other contenders in the program included Dutch shipbuilder Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding, and a consortium made up of STX France, Socarenam and Belgium’s EDR.

The Netherlands and Belgium are also jointly procuring new multi-purpose frigates. In February this year, Thales announced it was selected to develop a new anti-air warfare system for the frigates.