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Two strategic Belgian companies, ABC and FN Herstal, have been selected to provide equipment for the twelve Mine Countermeasures Vessels (MCMV), equipped with drone systems (Toolbox), led by Belgium Naval & Robotics, Naval Group and ECA Group consortium for the Belgian and Dutch navies. FN Herstal and ABC will deliver critical capabilities of the vessels, respectively in the domain of combat systems and propulsion.

Key Systems

FN Herstal is a Belgian company based in the Walloon Region, and is a world leader in designing, developing and manufacturing small arms, integrated weapon systems and associated ammunition for the Defense and Security markets. FN Herstal will equip the 12 MCMVs with Sea deFNder® Remote Weapon Stations (RWS) featuring 12.7mm FN® M2HB-QCB machine guns. These RWSs provide optimised remote firing capability in day and night conditions, offering a high firing rate while keeping the operator completely safe.

Specifically dedicated to naval forces, this state-of-the-art equipment is perfectly suited to fulfil a large range of missions at sea, such as anti-piracy, anti-terrorism, maritime traffic interception, and surveillance of territorial waters. It constitutes a highly valuable asset for any armed fleet seeking high performance, striking power and efficiency.

Based in Ghent (East Flanders), the Anglo Belgian Corporation (ABC) is one of the leading manufacturers of medium speed engines. ABC has over 100 years of expertise in developing medium speed diesel engines and generating sets for propulsion of different kinds of vessels such as:

  • Offshore Patrol Vessels
  • Research Ships
  • Frigates
  • Submarine Towing-and Rescue Ships
  • Diving Support Vessels
  • Various civilian applications.

They will equip each of the 12 MCMVs with 3 power generators per ship which represents 36 generator sets in total. As key partners, ABC and FN Herstal teams will contribute to the development, production and delivery of the MCMVs. They will be involved throughout the whole industrial process and will participate to the sea trials and to the crew’s training.

Long-term strategic presence in Belgium

Partnerships with the Belgian DITB (Defence Industrial and Technology Base) is part of Belgium Naval and Robotics’ industrial cooperation plan, which aims at setting up a long-term presence in Belgium in key strategic domains through a series of measures satisfying Belgium’s Essential Security Interests. As part of this commitment, a significant part of the MCM programme is to be carried out in Belgium. The contract for twelve MCMV for the Belgian and Royal Dutch navies has been notified in May 2019 and will span more than ten years. After a design period of two years, Belgium Naval & Robotics (Naval Group / ECA Group consortium) will lead the production phase, which will be executed by Kership.

Six ships will be delivered to the Belgian navy and six to the Royal Dutch navy with a first delivery scheduled for September 2024. They will be equipped with a complete drone module containing a total of more than eighty underwater, surface and aerial drones entirely dedicated to mine hunting.

Jack Richardson