ECA Group announced it has selected the SKELDAR V-200 Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial system (UAS) for integration with the Belgian and Dutch cooperative naval Mine Countermeasure (MCM) program.
ECA Group awarded UMS SKELDAR a procurement contract to supply the UAV SKELDAR V-200 as part of the naval mine countermeasures capability replacement. Under the program led by Belgium Naval & Robotics – a consortium including Naval Group and ECA Group – the company will supply 12 minehunters equipped with drone systems (Toolbox) to both navies.
Working across 12 new generation ships (six for each navy), this contract is the first to materialize the stand-off concept by using a Toolbox – a system composed of a variety of drones to be deployed by operators to fulfill autonomous mine clearance missions at sea.
“The SKELDAR V-200 is undoubtedly an essential asset in the stand-off concept. This UAV with wits integrated sensors and endurance will improve the situational awareness and enhance the detection process in the mine threat area. Ultimately, this will result in a more efficient and safer mission for our valuable crewmembers,” concludes Cdr SG Claude Bultot, Programme Director for the Belgian and Royal Netherlands Navies.
The rotary drone is an integrated part of the Toolbox, which will also consist of INSPECTOR125 unmanned surface vessels (USV), A18-M autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), and T-18 towed sonars for mine detection, alongside the Mine Identification and Disposal System (MIDS) system, SEASCAN and K-STER for mine identification and neutralization.
For the contract with ECA Group, serial deliveries of the UAV SKELDAR V-200 are expected to start in 2023. The drone has also been selected by the German and Canadian Navies. It provides navies with an “eye in the sky,” an embedded, enhanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability.
“This is a significant contract win for us and confirms our market-leading capabilities within the maritime sector.” Said Axel Cavalli-Björkman, CEO of UMS SKELDAR. “The SKELDAR V-200 was conceived as a maritime platform, and we have continued a program of enhancements including technical, sensor, and flight endurance along with improvements of our superior heavy fuel engine.”