Naval Group kicks off EU-backed mine countermeasure project

A European consortium led by Naval Group Belgium kicked off the MIne RIsk CLearance for Europe (MIRICLE) project for which it was selected in July 2021 by the European Commission and approved by the member states.

As informed, this 24-months project addresses the main components of a stand-off mine warfare solution such as a mission system, communication network, mine countermeasures (MCM) vessels and robots.

In this regard, mine countermeasures (MCM) are undergoing a major operating transition, from traditional mine-hunting to an unmanned and autonomous innovative solution.

The new innovations are expected to complement the main components of mine warfare, made up of mine counter measure (MCM) vessel, the “Toolbox” composed of unmanned vehicles and robots and the mission management system, the communication network and artificial Intelligence-powered decision making. These aspects are being watched out with a cyber approach.

More specifically, the MIRICLE project has three objectives:

  • to provide a comprehensive and forward-looking definition and assessment of the MCM technologies ;
  • to elaborate a technological development roadmap for next generation countermeasure solutions, that corresponds to Member States’ procurement plans and paves the way for future European Defence Funds (EDF) developments ;
  • to coordinate the development of interoperable new type of assets (vessels) and MCM Toolbox.

The MIRICLE consortium consists of 19 partners representing 10 countries: Belgium, Estonia, France, Greece, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and the Netherlands. Belgium is the lead nation and Naval Group Belgium is the coordinator of the consortium.

According to Naval Group, the company will facilitate the gathering and works conducted by the partners through its MCM Laboratory, recently launched in its premises in Brussels to support R&D collaborative projects. All the Belgian members of MIRICLE are part of the MCM Lab.

This project will cover study, design, prototyping and test activities, all dedicated to strengthening R&D cooperation and technical excellence in mine countermeasures of the European countries. European navies will thus reinforce their MCM capabilities to keep pace with an ever evolving, complex and pervasive mine threat.

The vessels will also benefit from innovations through the development of (semi)-autonomous mine countermeasures vessel (MCMV) platforms, the improvement of interoperability & standardization, as well as through the development of a scalable intelligent multi-UxV mission management system and of an evolutive UxV Launch and Recovery System (LARS) onboard platform and docking.

By selecting MIRICLE consortium, the European Union will contribute to strengthening the capability development in this field as well as better integration of the EU’s Defence Technological and Industrial Base, according to the company.

Géraldine Dupin, MIRICLE project coordinator for Naval Group Belgium said: “We are proud to lead this unique consortium of European partners to develop an innovative counter naval mine warfare solution and pave the way of the next generation of countermeasure solutions “made in Europe”, and benefit from such a strong support from European Navies. Together, we are committed to help the European naval community to pursue the development of a breakthrough mine action capability”.

Together, MIRICLE partners will enhance MCM toolboxes to bring them to a higher degree of maturity by developing minefield instrumentation to optimize navigation and communication, thus optimising mine detection, identification and neutralization.

MIRICLE will enable significant improvements to carry out all MCM missions and will enable European navies to benefit from the highest and most interoperable military mine countermeasures capabilities, in accordance with NATO recommendations, the partners concluded.

Recently, the defense company has teamed up with Italian company Fincantieri and Spanish firm Navantia to submit an industrial proposal related to the Modular Multirole Patrol Corvette (MMPC) call of the European Defence Fund (EDF). Under the project, the partners plan to develop the European patrol corvette (EPC) to boost European naval capabilities.

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