Naval Group announced the creation of the MCM (Mine CounterMeasures) R&D centre within its subsidiary, Naval Group Belgium, on Thursday.
This centre will work jointly with Belgian partners in a collaborative laboratory called the MCM Lab. Coordinated by Naval Group Belgium, the MCM Lab was launched on 25 November with a first official meeting and the exchange of the signed convention, the company said in a statement.
The MCM Lab is one of the key components of the industrial cooperation plan associated to the Belgian-Dutch remote mine countermeasure replacement program (rMCM) awarded in 2019 to Belgium Naval & Robotics, the consortium made up of Naval Group and ECA Group. This consortium was chosen by the Belgian and Royal Netherlands navies to supply twelve mine countermeasures
vessels and a toolbox composed of around 100 drones.
One of the main objectives of the MCM Lab is to reinforce the Belgian Defence Industry and Technology Base (DTIB) in strategic technologies such as marine robotics, enhanced detection capabilities, artificial intelligence applications, etc, for wider Mine CounterMeasures capabilities.
The research laboratory will foster and stimulate a close collaboration between universities, industries and research institutes in order to pursue R&D activities with the aim of accelerating the development of innovations and preparing the evolution of mine warfare systems over time. The MCM Lab’s ambition is to become the European reference centre for Mine Warfare Research and Development and will be taking a key role in European initiatives in the mine countermeasures domain.
The MCM Lab is a collaboration between Naval Group, Naval Group Belgium, ECA Robotics, ECA Robotics Belgium, ABC (Anglo Belgian Corporation), BATS (Belgian Advanced Technology Systems), DotOcean, Space Applications Services, University of Ghent, Université Libre de Bruxelles and Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ).
Collaborations between MCM Lab partners are already ongoing around high-value capabilities such as robotics, artificial intelligence or acoustic discretion.
Five of the MCM Lab partners are also part of the European project MIRICLE which will be kicked off in early December and aims at defining the future of mine warfare.