Belgian company Space Applications Services (SpaceApps) has agreed to conduct a 12-month multi-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) planning study for Naval Group.

The collaboration agreement between the companies is ‘within the framework of the industrial cooperation plan’ related to the mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs) programme for the Belgian and Dutch navies.

In line with this programme, a centre of excellence in Belgium, known as MCM Lab, was implemented for MCM innovation development.

SpaceApps will apply its aerospace expertise, technical skills to make mine-hunting missions in an underwater environment more efficient.

It will implement and enhance its artificial intelligence-based robotic software solutions pertaining to multi-agent planning solutions and advanced control centres.

The research will focus on optimal resources planning and distribution, and establish communication transmission for data management between the operator centre and each UAV.

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Naval Research architecture, people and systems department head Grégory Bartoli said: “This direct cooperation between Naval Group and our Belgian partner Space Applications Services is one of the first embodiments of our MCM Lab; it is part of our commitment to the cutting-edge innovation that we offer our customers in the field of artificial intelligence.

“This initiative will be applied to the use of multiple research and rescue UAV’s. Space Applications Services will contribute its expertise in real-time constraint multi-agent planning and replanning.”

The MCMV programme is being led by Belgium Naval and Robotics, a Naval Group and ECA Group consortium. It will lead the production phase and Kership will execute it.

Among the 12 mine countermeasures vessels to be built, six ships will be delivered to the Belgian Navy and the remaining six to the Royal Netherlands Navy.