The choice of minesweeping subsystems for the Belgian and Dutch Navies Mine Counter Measures replacement (rMCM) programme has been finalised.
ECA Group has contracted CTM and Patria to supply two minesweeping subsystems that will be towed with its INSPECTOR 125-S Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV). The fully integrated solution will provide enhanced multi-influence minesweeping capabilities within the rMCM programme awarded by Belgium and the Netherlands to the Belgium Naval & Robotics consortium, which is comprised of Naval Group and ECA GROUP.
The electromagnetic signature generation system (MLM-3100) from CTM, and the Sonac ACS Acoustic Minesweeping Systems (ACS-66) from Patria were selected. Patria's Sonac ACS fully supports Mine Setting, Target Simulation, as well as Mine Jamming modes of operation.
The sweep is capable of accurately reproducing true pre-recorded or synthesized underwater or surface target acoustic signatures, which is critical against modern intelligent sea mines. Patria Sonac ACS supports standalone operation, but can also be integrated as part of any multi-influence minesweeping system.
ECA GROUP will develop a fully-integrated hardware and software system composed of its INSPECTOR 125-S USV, the minesweeping modules from CTM and Patria, an electrical power generator and a release connector creating a complete turnkey influence minesweeping solution.
It is also developing the launch and recovery procedures from the shore and the mothership, taking charge of the development of associated equipment, namely the slipway and winch.
The INSPECTOR 125-S USV has a maximum speed of 13 knots and a low magnetic and acoustic signature to prevent mine triggering. It allows the sweep to be towed at up to 8 knots by a 160m cable to ensure that the USV remains far enough away from any mine explosions.
CTM’s system allows the generation of electromagnetic signatures while PATRIA’s system enables acoustic signature generation. They allow the mine fuses to be jammed or activated, depending on the desired effect for three different modes.
For the Target Simulation Mode, the multi-influence minesweeping system will simulate, or ‘mimic’, the electromagnetic and acoustic signatures of multiple types of ships, as required by the customer navy, and materialised by the characteristics entered into the mission management system.
Two other mine sweeping modes are available:
ECA GROUP will take delivery of the subsystems from Patria and CTM in the first semester of 2023. The final, complete solution will be presented to the Belgian and Royal Netherlands Navies by the BNR consortium during the first semester of 2024 following a comprehensive phase of tests and sea trials.