French unmanned systems specialist ECA Group announced it would be constructing a new plant in the port of Ostend from where it would supply its systems for the 12 minesweepers that will be built for the navies of Belgium and the Netherlands.
The company has signed an agreement with Port of Ostend for the construction of a factory on the former site of Beliard shipyard in the port area.
The plant will have a surface of 5,000 square meters and will be operational in 2022.
All the naval drones (underwater and surface) of ECA Group to be delivered for the mine countermeasures (MCM) fleet will be produced in this factory: the A18-M underwater drone, towed sonars, the Inspector 125 surface vessel and mine inspection and neutralization drones Seascan and K-STER.
“In parallel with the construction of our plant, ECA Group is looking for various profiles (including engineers) for the two Belgian sites of its subsidiary ECA Robotics Belgium: Hainaut in Wallonia where the design office and the headquarters wi/1 be established, and Ostend in Flanders to support plant operations. We are main/y /ooking fortechnica/ staffand workers for our site in Ostend,” Steven Luys, general manager of ECA Robotics Belgium, added.
The 12 MCM ships will be delivered by Belgium Naval Robotics – a Naval Group and ECA Group consortium. The joint program to replace the two countries’ ageing Tripartite-class minehunters is scheduled to deliver the first ship in 2024.