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Launching of the Tournai, Third Belgian-Dutch rMCM Vessel

Our Bureau - : Jul 3, 2024 - : 1:24 am

The Tournai, the third vessel in the Belgian-Dutch robotic Mine Counter Measure (rMCM) programme, was launched on 2nd July 2024 in Concarneau, France.

Scheduled for delivery to the Belgian Navy in 2026, the Tournai follows the Oostende, launched on 29th March 2023, and the Vlissingen, launched on 19th October 2023 for the Royal Netherlands Navy. The Scheveningen, the second vessel for the Dutch Navy, is slated for launch in December 2024.

Delivery of the Oostende is expected in summer 2025 in Zeebrugge, Belgium, with subsequent deliveries planned until mid-2030, at a rate of two vessels per year.

The rMCM programme, awarded to Belgium Naval & Robotics in 2019, involves supplying twelve mine countermeasure vessels to the Belgian and Dutch navies, alongside approximately one hundred integrated drones. A Memorandum of Understanding signed in September 2023 extends the programme’s scope to include six ships for the French Navy, with Thales managing the onboard UAV system.

Central to European defence cooperation, the programme exemplifies collaboration among European nations, offering a benchmark solution for mine countermeasures globally.

Naval Group oversees ship design, integration, testing, and commissioning of mission systems, while Kership, a joint venture between the French shipbuilder and Piriou, serves as the industrial prime contractor for vessel construction in Concarneau and Lanester.

Exail, responsible for the UAV mission system, will produce most components in Ostend, Belgium. Ship maintenance will be a collaborative effort between the Belgian Navy, Naval Group Belgium, and Flanders Ship Repair in Zeebrugge.

These specialised vessels, equipped with advanced drone capabilities, feature robust mine detection and neutralisation systems. Designed for resilience against underwater threats, they maintain low acoustic, electrical, and magnetic signatures, aligning with mission requirements.

The vessel measures 82.6 metres in length, 17 metres in width, and has a displacement of 2800 tonnes. With a maximum speed of 15.3 knots and a range exceeding 3500 nautical miles, it accommodates a crew of 63 personnel.

Equipped with advanced UAV capabilities including the UMISOFT Exail system, surface drones, autonomous underwater vehicles, towed sonars, mine identification and destruction systems, as well as aerial drones, it also features boarding capacity for 2 RHIB SOLAS 7m boats and is facilitated by side gantries, a stern crane, and an overhead crane for efficient drone and boat operations.


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