ECA Group has awarded UMS SKELDAR a procurement contract to supply the Skeldar V-200 UAV as part of the naval mine countermeasures capability replacement, a programme led by Belgium Naval & Robotics – a consortium including Naval Group and ECA Group - which will supply twelve mine hunters equipped with drone systems (Toolbox) to the Belgian and Royal Netherlands navies.
Working across 12 new-generation ships (six each for the Belgian and Royal Netherlands Navies), 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 in order to fulfil autonomous mine clearance missions at sea.
The UAV SKELDAR V-200 is an integrated part of the Toolbox, which will also consist of surface drones USV INSPECTOR125, underwater drones AUV A18-M, towed sonars T18 for mine detection, alongside the MIDS system (Mine Identification and Disposal System) for mine identification and neutralization, SEASCAN and K-STER.
Selected also by the German and Canadian Navies, the SKELDAR V-200 provides navies with an embedded, "eye in the sky" intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability to enhance its capacity to perform primary and secondary missions. For the contract with ECA Group, serial deliveries of the UAV SKELDAR V-200 are expected to start in 2023.
"We are very pleased to announce our choice of UMS SKELDAR as a partner to join this first world's navies program based on autonomous technologies. Together with Naval Group, we believe that strong partnerships and close cooperation are key to the success of this project," states Jean-Louis Sambarino, Program Director of ECA Group.
Speaking of this latest NATO Navy contract win, Axel Cavalli-Björkman, CEO of UMS SKELDAR, explains: "This is a significant contract win for us and confirms our market-leading capabilities within the maritime sector. 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."
"The SKELDAR V-200 is undoubtedly an essential asset in the stand-off concept. This UAV with its 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.
Belgium Naval & Robotics is the name of the Naval Group – ECA Group consortium set up to meet the Belgian-Dutch tender for the replacement and initial support of the mine warfare capability.
Naval Group is the European leader in naval defense. The Group designs, produces and maintains submarines and surface vessels. It also provides services for naval shipyards and bases. In 2019, the Group generated revenue of €3.6 billion and had 13,429 employees.
ECA Group equips with its robotic solutions over 30 navies worldwide. ECA Group combines its expertise in designing drones operating on water - USVs, under water – AUVs/ ROVs, on land - UGVs and in the air - UAVs, and in developing integrated systems, in order to develop a comprehensive range of solutions adapted to the needs of its customers.
UMS SKELDAR, a joint venture between Saab and UMS AERO Group, is Europe's leading provider of Rotary Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platforms including the unmatched NATO-compliant rotary SKELDAR V-200 and the ITAR-free high-performance V-150 UAS. The company is headquartered near Basel in Switzerland, with twin manufacturing facilities in Switzerland (Möhlin) and Sweden (Linköping) and offers a comprehensive unmanned aerial systems (UAS) solutions portfolio.