ECA Group, expert in robotics, automated systems, simulation and industrial processes, will establish its new factory in the port of Oostende. From there, drone systems will be built for the Belgian and Dutch navies. This is part of the contract for 12 minehunters. In 2016, the Belgian-Dutch Navy decided to buy 16 vessels: 4 frigates (2 for each country) and 12 minehunters (6 for each country). Belgium negotiated the contract for the minehunters. The Belgian Navy is known worldwide as the expert in removing mines to make waterways safer. The Belgian Navy chose the consortium Belgium Naval & Robotics as the winner. That consortium consists of Naval Group and ECA Group. They will work with many Belgian partners and suppliers. Technology company ECA Robotics Belgium, a subsidiary of the French ECA Group, is responsible for the assembly of the new generation of maritime drones. These drones are the core of the innovative minehunter concept as conceived by the Belgian and Dutch navies and will be assembled in the new factory to be built in Oostende. Port Oostende grants ECA Robotics Belgium a concession on the ex-Beliard site in the port area. On this site, a 5000 m² drone factory will be built which should be operational in early 2022. Initially, ECA Robotics Belgium is looking for engineers for all its Belgian branches. Moreover, technical and worker profiles are recruited specifically for the factory in Oostende; up to 70 persons are being sought over a period of 2 to 3 years. "Since its creation in 1936, the ECA Group has been at the forefront of innovation," says Steven Luys, Chief Executive Officer of ECA Robotics Belgium. "ECA Group develops complete, innovative technological solutions to detect and remove mines. We already supply 30 navies worldwide and thus we help to make waterways safer. We are delighted to be able to build our factory in the Port of Oostende, close to the Navy and with direct access to the North Sea". "The entire team has worked hard on this dossier since the beginning of last year. This contract proves that we can fulfil our mission: the port as a driving force for sustainable employment. ECA Robotics Belgium is looking for up to 70 interesting profiles, which makes our region even more attractive for the active population" explains Dirk Declerck, CEO Port Oostende.