German-based technology company Atlas is offering a set of mine countermeasures (MCM) systems for a new class of minehunters that are to be built for the Belgian and Dutch Navy.
The current minehunters operated by Belgium and the Netherlands were integrated by Atlas Elektronik and are equipped with an Atlas-delivered MCM command and control system.
In a release on February 1, Atlas outlined its offering for the future minehunters.
The MCM toolbox, as the company refers to the solution, contains the Integrated Mine Countermeasures System (IMCMS), the ARCIMS unmanned surface vessel (USV), a SeaCat autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), a towed sonar, influenced mine sweeping equipment capability, a vertical take-off and landing drone, a mine avoidance sonar and related system integration.
“The offered system is not just a collection of bits and pieces build up out of proposals of different suppliers, it is a proven, integrated state of the art system and really at the 1.0 level,” the company said.
Atlas is also offering Belgium local outfitting and integration of the ARCIMS autonomous surface vessels, the related launch and recovery systems, building and integration of combat management consoles and the transfer of technology for the through life support.
The company’s offer is leveraging the local Belgian industry to build the MCM Toolbox 1.0 and in the future the following generations of MCM toolboxes.
A proposed Center for Maritime Autonomy (CMA) lays out the vision of Atlas Elektronik on how the Belgian Navy could succeed in the upcoming new area of naval force development.
CMAs activities will support the MCM community as early adopters of unmanned technology and will expand to other warfare areas such as ASW, harbor and critical infrastructure protection an. The CMA is conceptualized as a public private partnership (PPP) between Belgium, Belgian industry, Belgian academia and research institutions and Atlas Elektronik. “Consequently the CMA will be a Belgian institution in Belgium for Belgium,” Atlas says.
“The CMA will support the Belgian Navy’s position as lead nation in autonomous naval MCM. The CMA also encompasses Atlas’ ambition to be part of the next generation of naval warfare systems for the decades to come. As neighbors within the European Union ATLAS will be a reliable partner even in times of changing global security environments,” the company said.
Dutch-Belgian maritime cooperation
The navies of Belgium and the Netherlands are jointly procuring MCM ships and next-generation frigates. Belgium is in charge of MCM acquisition while the Netherlands will be responsible for frigate acquisition.
The Belgian Navy will spend 1.1 billion euros on the entire MCM project which envisions a range of unmanned systems including unmanned surface, aerial and underwater vehicles alongside towed sonars and mine identification and neutralization ROVs.
The new vessels will replace current Tripartite-class minehunters and the command and support ship BNS Godetia.
In addition to joint procurement of mine countermeasure vessels and frigates, the two countries will lead a Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defence (PESCO) project on maritime semi-autonomous systems for mine countermeasures.
The EU project will aim to deliver a mix of (semi-) autonomous underwater, surface and aerial technologies for the protection of maritime vessels, harbors and offshore installations.