A joint venture of the navies of France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, the Tripartite class of minehunters were conceived in the 1970s and built in the 1980s. France built the mine-hunting equipment, Belgium provided the electronics, and the Netherlands constructed the propulsion train. France and the Netherlands originally bought 15, with Belgium buying 10.
All three countries' Tripartite ships contribute at times to NATO's Standing Maritime MCM capability groups (SNMCMG1 or SNMCMG2).
Ships of the class
A total of 45 ships have been produced in the tripartite-class, below is a breakdown of how many ships each country has acquired.
(Éridan class, Thales Group is currently upgrading France's Tripartite minehunters)
M650 Sagittaire (1989): Sold to Pakistan in 1992, where she serves as Munsif. Another Éridan-class minehunter, built in 1993 and launched in 1995, is now commissioned in the French Navy as Sagittaire, also with hull number M650.
M651 Verseau (former Belgian M920 Iris, decommissioned in February 2010)
M652 Céphée (former Belgian M919 Fuchsia)
M653 Capricorne (former Belgian M918 Dianthus)
M650 Sagittaire (1996) Replacement for the Sagittaire of 1989 sold to Pakistan.
Originally 10 ships were built for the Belgian navy. All remaining Belgian vessels have undergone an extensive upgrade during 2004-2008 involving replacement of the anti-mine warfare equipment. Also called "CMT" for Chasseur de Mines Tripartite, all are named after flowers and are thus sometimes called the "Flower" class in international literature.
The Netherlands and Belgium are doing a joint procurement for the replacements of the Tripartite-class/Alkmaar-class minehunters. Both countries want to procure six new mine countermeasure (MCM) vessels, which makes for a total of 12 MCM ships. The New MCM ships will include a range of unmanned systems including unmanned surface, aerial and underwater vehicles alongside towed sonars and mine identification and neutralization ROVs.
Belgium gave the green-light to start the procurement on 26 January 2018 and approved a budget of 1.1 billion euros for the six Belgian MCM ships. The ships will replace besides the Tripartite-class minehunters, also the Belgian logistical support ship Godetia.
The Franco-Belgium consortium made up of French shipbuilders STX France and Socarenam together with Belgium's EDR are bidding for the 12 new MCM vessels. Their plan includes the construction of MCM vessels named Sea Naval Sollution and a multi-role frigate named Deviceseas, which will serve as mothership to the MCM vessels. All ships will have a strong focus on autonomous systems operations.