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J C Menon

ECA Group, which equips over 30 navies worldwide with its robotic solutions, has awarded UMS SKELDAR a contract to supply 12 SKELDAR V-200 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for mine detection activities with the Belgian and Royal Netherlands Navies. Working across 12 new generation ships, six each for the two Navies, this contract is the first to materialise the stand-off concept by using a Toolbox, a variety of drones to be deployed by operators in order to fulfil autonomous mine clearance missions at sea. Serial deliveries of the SKELDAR V-200 are expected to start in 2023, although the company didn’t reveal any financial details.

The Toolbox will also consist of Unmanned Surface Vehicles including the INSPECTOR125, Unmanned Underwater Vehicles such as the AUV A18M and towed T18 sonars for mine detection, alongside the SEASCAN and K-STER Mine Identification and Disposal systems. Also selected by the German and Canadian Navies, the SKELDAR V-200 provides navies with an embedded, “eye in the sky” for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) to enhance their capacity to perform primary and secondary missions.

With a double payload capability and uniquely incorporating Heavy Fuel, the SKELDAR V-200 is flexible and highly versatile as it can deal with a wide range of applications such as Reconnaissance, Identification, Target Acquisition and Electronic Warfare. It is equipped with a number of Commercial Off-The-Shelf components including High resolution Electro Optical/Infrared, Synthetic Aperture Radar and Electronic Warfare sensors.