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Naval Group launches first new Belgian MCMV, lays down third

Naval Group launched the Belgian Navy's first new mine countermeasures vessel, named Oostende (M 940), at Piriou shipyard in Concarneau, France, on 29 March. (Naval Group)

French shipbuilder Naval Group launched the first of 12 mine-countermeasures vessels (MCMVs) on order for the Belgian and Netherlands (BE/NL) navies and laid the keel for the third ship during a ceremony at Piriou shipyard in Concarneau, France, on 29 March.

First-of-class Oostende (M 940) and third ship Tournai (M 941) are the first two ships of the new City class that are destined for the Belgian Navy under the joint BE/NL next-generation offboard MCM replacement (rMCM) programme.

The Belgian-led rMCM programme is being delivered by Belgium Naval & Robotics – a consortium of Naval Group and Exail (formerly ECA Group) – under a contract awarded in May 2019. The contract includes the supply of 12 2,800-tonne displacement mother ships (six for each navy) and an MCM ‘toolbox' totalling around 100 unmanned or autonomous systems that will equip the vessels.

The 12 ships are being designed and built in Concarneau by Kership, a joint venture between Naval Group and Piriou Group. Under the partnership, prime contractor Naval Group is responsible for the design, overall integration, testing, and commissioning of the combat management and MCM systems, while Piriou is producing the 12 vessels, which are being assembled in Concarneau, Brittany, and Lanester, near Lorient. The MCM toolboxes are being supplied by Exail.

Following its launch , Oostende is now being outfitted with a view to starting trials at the end of 2023 and testing of the first toolbox is also set to start shortly. Oostende

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