Royal Belgian Flower-class
In 1973 study by the Belgian, French and Dutch navies, the need for a new mine hunter. In February 1974 created the idea to jointly develop the new ships. The project takes shape and on December 9, 1974 signing of the heads of the staffs of the three navies involved a cooperation agreement. This agreement would lead to the delivery of 35 vessels: 10 from France, 10 from Belgium, 15 from the Netherlands. The ten Belgian mine hunters were built in the eighties by the Poly Ship consortium. This class of ship is called the "flower class. All ships to bear the name of a flower.
The main mission of a mine hunter, as its name suggests, is detecting and neutralizing mines of all kinds (ground or anchored mines) - located in the commercial waters, the access roads to the ports, anchoring zones, etc.. To so as to ensure the safety of navigable waters and the access to our ports and to keep the supply of the country. Within the framework of NATO this task can be extended naturally beyond our borders to defend the interests of our allies. In addition to this mission, our mine hunters also used for the training of the students from the different schools or even for representation.
In 2005 launched a modernization project in Belgium and in the Netherlands (BENECUP: Belgian Netherlands Capability Upgrade Project). M915 Aster was the second mine hunter was equipped with a fully modernized mine hunting system.
Characteristics of the Tripartite Mine Hunter (CMT) were improved after CUP modification. Several studies have shown that it is possible to provide to build a complete hull in "GRP" (Glass Reinforced Polyester) to the mine hunter as a as small as possible magnetic signature as well as a high impact resistance. In terms of connections, the RF are, MF, UHF, VHF, and SATCOM IFF (Furuno Fleet 77) broadcasting in line with NATO regulations. Finally, protection of the 'airconditioning'-system and the pressure system to make the ship against CBRN continuous attacks by use of a plurality of filter stations.
The Belgian-Netherlands Capability Upgrade Program (CUP) is a modernization project that will be carried out on all Belgian and Dutch CMTs. Mine hunters will be equipped with new MCM technology. The sonar and radar will be replaced and the PAP (vehicle identification and destruction) disappears in favor of the Seafox.
The Seafox is a small identification vehicle with 6 engines weighing just 40kg, so it is much lighter than its predecessor 'the PAP' (650kg). The driving of the Seafox takes place in a totally different way than that of the PAP. Not only the complete renewal of the control panel but also the launching procedure are totally different. The PAP flowed automatically to the bottom after moving away from the boat. Then, after identification, an explosive charge was placed next to the mine and the PAP reached the surface. The driving was on 2 dimensions. The Seafox on the other hand is usable with each depth and the destruction is realized following the impact of the Seafox. The operator must now touch the mine with great precision. This is not a sinecure. Fortunately for this he has at his disposal many technological tools that make his job easier. The first tests were conducted with an exercise version of the Seafox as they focused on training the crew and the system.following the impact of Seafox. The operator must now touch the mine with great precision. This is not a sinecure. Fortunately for this he has at his disposal many technological tools that make his job easier. The first tests were conducted with an exercise version of the Seafox as they focused on training the crew and the system.
The Daffodil left 13 February 2017 to be part of the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) along with a ship from the Netherlands, Estonia, Norway and Britain. The next two weeks they will mine to the coast of France in the First and Second World detect, identify and disarm as part of the operation Historical Ordnance Disposal (HOD). A mine neutralization does not just happen. There's a lot of preparation and thinking in advance. "With a sonar we search the seabed for explosives," says Commander Vangaever. "If we found one and have identified, we send our divers there. That place an explosive charge on the mine. But we can also dive gear ( Seafox ) blasting out...."
The Belgian mine hunter M923 Narcis has cleaned up during a NATO operation in the Channel three tons of explosives from the two world wars. The Narcissus and four other NATO minesweepers searched from 14 to 23 February 2017 at the French coast, near Courseulles-sur-Mer, for explosives from the two world wars. That mission took place within the NATO squadron Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) and was named Historical Ordnance Disposal (HOD). The Belgian mine hunter helped neutralize three German bombs and mines, accounting for the equivalent of three tons of TNT. In this part of the English Channel and the North Sea are still many explosives that have landed there during the world wars. The bombs, shells and mines can pose a danger to ships using these routes.
From 10 to 28 September 2018 the international Mine Defense Practice Sandy Coast 2018 will take place on the Belgian coast . Various NATO units take part in this exercise under the leadership of the Admiralty Benelux (ABNL), the umbrella staff of the Belgian Navy and the Dutch Royal Navy. The exercise has various objectives such as strengthening international cooperation, increasing the deployability of the units and training the management of the ships by the staff. The main goal is to maintain operational readiness and, where possible, to improve it. This allows the units to respond quickly and adequately to an actual threat from an underwater jump.
The units operate in two so-called task groups during Sandy Coast . One of these task groups consists only of Belgian and Dutch units and is headed by the Dutch superior Jan Wijchers. The other task force consists of the minefielding fleet Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 1 (SNMCMG 1) under the command of the Belgian frigate captain Peter Ramboer. SNMCMG 1 is a permanent international fleet of mines and minesweepers that can intervene immediately when necessary. The command and support ship A960 Godetia is the flagship of that NATO fleet.
Aster was sold in Pakistan, and so he will go to Pakistan. Aster embarked on a freighter to go to Pakistan in March 2018 in Zeebrugge. The Belgian Navy put everything in readiness to sell the Belgian mine hunter 'Aster' to Pakistan. However, sales are sensitive for a number of reasons, and fears of public opinion led to potential sale being kept under the radar. The ship was in Zeebrugge and required thorough restoration work to get ready for sale. The Ministry of Defence confirmed that the mine hunter is for sale, but says no further information can be given as long as the ship is not sold.
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