STUTTGART, Germany – Naval Group Belgium opened two new research and development laboratories in Brussels this week, focusing on new mine action and cybersecurity, the company said on Thursday.
Officials from the entire Belgian Ministry of Defense have joined the top leaders of the naval group at the headquarters of the French subsidiary in the capital to officially launch the MCM Lab and Cyber Lab. The two joint research and development centers are designed to bring together government, industry and academic partners working on innovative solutions in both areas of capability, the Naval Group said in a press release.
The labs will be a focal point for Naval Group’s R&D and cybersecurity research and development, said Eric Papin, the company’s executive vice president and chief technical and innovation director. The MCM Laboratory, for example, can help coordinate and strengthen the mine action ecosystem in Belgium and Europe and ultimately become a “European reference center” for mine action solutions.
In particular, the MCM Lab was set up as part of an industrial cooperation plan linked to the Belgian-Dutch mine action program, which was awarded in 2019 to Belgium Naval and Robotics, a consortium of the Naval Group and the European robotics ECA Group.
The rMCM program will supply the Belgian and Royal Dutch navies with 12 minesweepers and about 100 unmanned systems, according to the Naval Group.
Meanwhile, Cyber Lab will focus on developing cybersecurity technologies for ships and unmanned naval systems, as well as onshore infrastructure, according to the Naval Group. He will also contribute to solutions, particularly in favor of the rMCM program, and the company said it expects the future Belgian Defense Cyber Command to follow its developments “to integrate technology where possible”.
The Brussels Times reported in January that Belgium plans to invest EUR 61 million (USD 64 million) in cyber capabilities following the cyber attack in December 2021 in the meantime, Cybersec Europe announced late last year that the country’s military plans to build its own cyber command by the end of 2022.
Vivien Machi is a reporter based in Stuttgart, Germany, who contributes to the European coverage of Defense News. She has previously reported for National Defense Magazine, Defense Daily, Via Satellite, Foreign Policy and Dayton Daily News. She was named the best young defense journalist at the Defense Media Awards in 2020.