The Franco-Belgian consortium Belgian Naval & Robotics (BNR) will design and build a dozen of new mine countermeasure (MCM) vessels for the Belgian and Dutch navies. Deliveries should commence in 2024.
The Belgian Ministry of Defence (MoD), which has contracted the BNR consortium, expects that the design phase for new MCMs will take three years. Following this period, the manufacturer will commence construction of new vessels, with the first in the class being delivered by 2024.
According to the agreement reached by the Belgian and Dutch authorities, new MCM vessels will be divided equally between both navies. The contract also calls for delivery of approx. 100 drones, mostly unmanned, underwater vehicles, which will be operated from the new MCMs.
The new vessels will supplement and eventually replace currently operated MCMs of the Tripartite-class, which entered service back in the 1980’. Due to the legacy of their onboard equipment and overall platform’s age, they no longer present the desired operational capability and require intensive and costly maintenance and overhaul.
Simultaneously, both countries are jointly working on the acquisition of a series of new, multimission frigates. Each partner will procure two of these vessels, starting from 2024 onwards, which will replace the M-class frigates remaining in service since the early 1990’.