ECA Group Selects SKELDAR V-200 UAV for Belgian-Dutch Minehunter Program

ECA Group awarded UMS SKELDAR a procurement contract to supply the SKELDAR V-200 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) as part of the Belgian-Dutch naval mine countermeasures capability replacement program.

The Belgian-Dutch minehunter programme led by Belgium Naval & Robotics – a consortium including France’s Naval Group and ECA Group – which will supply twelve minehunters equipped with drone systems (Toolbox) to the Belgian Navy and the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN).

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 surface, underwater and aerial drones to be deployed by operators in order to fulfil autonomous mine clearance missions at sea.

The SKELDAR V-200 Vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAV is an integrated part of the Toolbox, which will also consist of ECA Group’s INSPECTOR 125 unmanned surface vehicle (USV), AUV A18-M autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), T18 mine detection towed sonars, alongside the MIDS system (Mine Identification and Disposal System) for mine identification and neutralization, SEASCAN and K-STER.

Belgian-Dutch minehunter concept
Belgian-Dutch minehunter concept. Belgian Navy Photo.

The serial deliveries of the UAV SKELDAR V-200 unmanned helicopter for this programme 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,” said Jean-Louis Sambarino, Program Director of ECA Group.

Speaking of this latest NATO Navy contract win, Axel Cavalli-Björkman, CEO of UMS SKELDAR, said: “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 crew members,” said Cdr SG Claude Bultot, Programme Director for the Belgian and Royal Netherlands Navies.

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.

UMS Skeldar V-200

UMS Skeldar V-200 is a medium-range VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) developed by UMS SKELDAR. UMS SKELDAR is a joint venture between UMS AERO and Swedish aerospace company Saab.

UMS SKELDAR V-200 Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). UMS SKELDAR Photo.

Missions for the Skeldar Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) involves surveillance, intelligence gathering (ISR), light cargo transportation and electronic warfare (EW). The drone can be equipped with a number of Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) High resolution Electro Optical/Infrared (EO/IR), Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Electronic Warfare (EW) sensors.

With its pioneering heavy fuel engine that operates on Jet A-1, JP5 and JP8, the VTOL UAV has the ability to fly for over five hours with multiple payloads and extended time between overhauls (TBO).

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