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ECA Group (France) establishes new factory in Ostend

France’s ECA Group is channeling EUR 10 million into the construction of a 5,000 m² drone factory at the Port of Ostend (Flanders). Scheduled to be operational in the first half of 2020, the new plant will build maritime drone systems for the Belgian and Dutch navies.

Drone expert ECA Group will set up a plant at the Port of Ostend to produce naval drones for mine clearance.

Underwater and surface drones

In cooperation with another French concern, Naval Group, ECA Group obtained a contract in 2019 to supply the Belgian and Dutch navies with 12 next-generation unmanned minesweepers (six for each country). Many companies from Belgium – and Flanders as a region – are involved in this contract as partners and suppliers. The local subsidiary of ECA Group – ECA Robotics Belgium – was established to facilitate these exchanges.

ECA Robotics Belgium will manufacture the next generation of naval drones, with the first expected in 2022. They will be used to detect mines that can then be neutralized by unmanned vessels. The drones will initially serve the Dutch and Belgian navies, but the idea is to ultimately export them worldwide from the Port of Ostend.

Technical jobs

In addition to the construction of the plant, ECA Group is currently staffing the two Belgian sites of its subsidiary ECA Robotics Belgium: in Hainaut in Wallonia, where the design office and headquarters will be implemented, and in Ostend to support the plant’s activities. “In Ostend, we will mainly recruit technical staff and workers. In two to three years, the plant is expected to employ more than 70 people,” says Steven Luys, CEO of ECA Robotics Belgium.

World leader in mine neutralization

Since its establishment in 1936, ECA Group has developed innovative technological solutions for the detection and clearance of mines. To date, over 30 navies worldwide use ECA’s solutions to make waterways safer. “We are pleased to build our factory in the Port of Ostend, near the navy’s headquarters and with direct access to the North Sea,” Steven Luys concludes.

More info

ECA Group
Reported by
20 January 2020

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