On 2 July 2024, the Tournai, the third mine countermeasure vessel in the Belgian-Dutch rMCM programme, was launched in Concarneau.

Kership, the industrial prime contractor for the programme, conducted the launch on behalf of Naval Group, the overall prime contractor.

The Tournai is the third ship in the series and the second designated for the Belgian Navy. It is expected to be delivered to Belgium in 2026. The programme’s first ship, Oostende, also for the Belgian Navy, was launched on 29 March 2023, while the second, Vlissingen, intended for the Royal Netherlands Navy, was launched on 19 October 2023. The fourth ship, Scheveningen, set for the Dutch Navy, was laid down on 19 July 2023 and is scheduled to be launched in December 2024. Deliveries will continue until mid-2030, with two ships delivered annually.

These advanced mine warfare vessels are the first to deploy a combination of surface, underwater, and aerial drones. The fully robotised system onboard is designed to detect, classify, and neutralise mines. The vessels are built to endure underwater explosions and have low acoustic, electrical, and magnetic signatures, essential for their missions.

The Tournai has a length of 82.6 metres (m),  width  17m, and a displacement of 2800 tonnes, with a maximum speed of 15.3 knots and a range exceeding 3500 nautical miles. It can accommodate 63 people and is equipped with the UMISOFT Exail system, featuring various drones and sonar systems. The ship’s boarding capabilities include two RHIB SOLAS 7m boats, and it is outfitted with side gantries, a stern crane, and an overhead crane for handling equipment and boats.

The rMCM programme, awarded in 2019 to the consortium Belgium Naval & Robotics (comprising Naval Group and Exail), will supply 12 mine countermeasure vessels to the Belgian and Dutch navies, along with around 100 drones. Additionally, a memorandum of understanding signed in September 2023 will allow France to use the rMCM design for six ships for the French Navy, with Thales managing the onboard UAV system.

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Naval Group, the project’s architect and prime contractor, is responsible for ship design, integration, testing, and commissioning of the mission system, including combat and mine countermeasures systems.

Kership, a joint venture between Naval Group and Piriou, is the industrial prime contractor for constructing the 12 ships in Concarneau and Lanester. Exail, another co-contractor, is tasked with the UAV mission system production, predominantly based in Ostend, Belgium. The ships’ maintenance will occur in Belgium through a collaboration between the Belgian Navy, Naval Group Belgium, and Flanders Ship Repair in Zeebrugge.