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First new generation minehunter takes to the seas (VIDEO)

The M940 Oostende, the first of twelve brand new minehunters ordered jointly by Belgium and the Netherlands was launched in France today.  The minehunters are being manufactured at a shipyard in Concarneau and will replace existing ships.

Six vessels will be operated by each nation’s navy. “Technology allows us to work in an ever safer way” Belgian defence minister Ludivine Dedonder (Francophone socialist) said at the launch. The new minehunters won’t enter the mined area, but will dispatch drones to track down and destroy mines. The Oostende measures 82.6m by 17m and is being constructed at Piriou shipbuilders in Concarneau, in Finistère in western France.

The Belgian and Dutch navies will take possession of the new vessels between 2024 and 2030.  The ships will replace over thirty French, Dutch and Belgian ships that first entered service in the Eighties. The programme for the construction of the new vessels has been entrusted to the BNR consortium and will cost between 2.2 and 2.6 billion euros.

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