The Belgian Navy is to get two new inshore patrol vessels in early 2015. The so-called Duty Ready Ships (RDS) will be used for coastal surveillance, law enforcement and search and rescue operations inside Belgium’s exclusive economic zone in the North Sea.
After an international tender, a contract worth almost €27 million was won by the French SOCARENAM shipyard in Boulogne with an improved and enlarged design based on two vessels, Jacques Oudart Fourmentin and Kermorvan, previously delivered to the French Customs service. The 52m by 9.3m RDS will be equipped with a command and control SEWACO supplied by Thales, which will manage the sensors and weapons systems, including a remotely-operated 12.7mm gun. Two RHIBs with a speed of 37 knots will be carried for boarding operations.
To be home-ported at Zeebrugge Naval Base, the vessels will have a permanent navy crew of 18. They can be supplemented by up to 12 specialist personnel from other government agencies as required.