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Naval Group laid the keel for the first of the 12 Mine Countermeasure Vessels (MCMV) of the Belgian-Dutch rMCM programme this week, the company announced in a press release. The ceremony took place in Concarneau, in the presence of the Belgian and Dutch Chiefs of Defence, respectively Admiral Michel Hofman and General Onno Eichelsheim. In 2019, the programme was awarded to Belgium Naval & Robotics, the consortium formed by Naval Group and ECA Group, following an international competition. The contract covers the delivery of 12 MCMVs (six for each Navy) and around a hundred drones integrated inside a toolbox that will equip the vessels. Kership, a joint venture between Naval Group and Piriou, is in charge of the production of the vessels which are assembled in Concarneau.

As the prime contractor, Naval Group, is responsible for the design of the ships, system integration, the testing and commissioning of the mission system (combat system and mine countermeasure system). ECA Group, as co-contractor, is in charge of the unmanned system. These will be produced by the ECA Group workshop in Ostend, Belgium. The first delivery is scheduled for the end of 2024 in Zeebrugge, Belgium and are scheduled to complete by 2030.