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Naval Group, ECA to Present Stand-Off Minehunting at Pacific 2019

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Naval Group and ECA Group to Present Stand-Off Mines Counter Measures Solution at Pacific 2019

(Source: Naval Group; issued Oct. 04, 2019)

During PACIFIC 2019, Naval Group and ECA Group will showcase their joint solution for stand-off Mines Counter Measures (MCM) selected by Belgium and the Netherlands.

The solution developed by Naval Group and ECA Group is a combination of the latest generation warship and a system of drones (toolboxes) to counter mine risks at sea while keeping humans out of danger, ultimately increasing the efficiency of MCM operations. It meets the needs of modern navies and allows for bespoke solutions.

PACIFIC 2019 will be the opportunity to present this solution for the first time in Australasia, but also to exchange with the Royal Australian Navy’s who has been looking into renewing its capability in the domain.

The Belgian and Dutch navies, who are world and NATO leaders in mine warfare, have already selected this solution to equip their forces for the next 20 years. Equipped with 80 drones and approximately ten drone systems (toolboxes), each navy will receive 6 ships.

The 2,800-ton Naval Group militarised ship dedicated to mine warfare features military characteristics including acoustic and electromagnetic discretion and shock resistance. In particular, this vessel incorporates a Launch and Recovery System (LARS) for ECA Group's INSPECTOR 125 unmanned surface vehicles (USVs). This innovative, robust and reliable system ensures the safety of operators and manoeuvres, protecting the crew, the ship, the USV and its payloads, while offering a high level of mission availability.

The drone systems on board these (r)evolutionary vessels are the latest generation of drones developed by ECA Group over the past four years, benefitting from over 50 years of developments in robotics. They are integrated into the C2 MCM UMISOFT software connected to the Naval Group's I4drones software to form the mine-warfare mission system that is integrated into the ship's combat system.

The solution includes A18-M autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), T18-M towed sonars and Mine Identification & Destruction Systems (MIDS) composed of SEASCAN and KSTER-C remotely operated vehicles (ROV). All these drones can be operated autonomously from the USV NSPECTOR 125. The drone system also includes unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and mine sweeping equipment.

Drone systems can also be projected. Containerised and equipped with handling and communication systems, they can be airlifted and deployed directly from ashore without a ship.

Belgium Naval & Robotics, a consortium composed of Naval Group and ECA Group, was awarded the contract to supply twelve mine-hunting vessels to the Belgian and Dutch navies in May 2019.

Naval Group is the European leader in naval defense. The Group designs, produces and maintains submarines and surface vessels. It also provides services for naval shipyards and bases. In 2017, the Group generated revenue of €3.7 billion and had 13,429 employees.

ECA Group is an expert in naval drones and unmanned systems and one of the global leaders in this sector for the last 50 years. Moreover, the beginnings of ECA Group in naval robotics took place alongside Naval Group: ECA Group had been tasked with creating a free submarine model at the end of the 60s, which was implemented by Naval Group in St-Tropez. Still used by the French Navy, this robot has been sold in several hundred copies across more than 30 countries.