On Monday 16 February, DCNS signed a contract with the Ministry of Defence of the Arab Republic of Egypt for the supply of a FREMM multi-mission frigate. This agreement strengthens the strategic relations initiated by DCNS last July with the signing of a contract to supply four Gowind 2500 corvettes.
Hervé Guillou, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DCNS, declared: «I would like to thank the Egyptian authorities for the trust they have once again placed in us, for the participation in the modernization of their defence system. DCNS will be keen to demonstrate that this trust is justified. The Group will do its utmost to ensure that this program is completed successfully».
The frigate, the current D651 «Normandie», will be delivered mid-2015 after some outfitting work, and the first phase of the training programme. The logistics and support services provided to the Egyptian Navy will then continue over several years.
For Hervé Guillou, «With this historical agreement, DCNS is pursuing a policy of long-term partnership with the Egyptian Navy and its shipyards, with whom we plan to invest in the long-term to develop their skills and industrial facilities. In addition, strengthening our relations opens new perspectives for the sale of vessels».
The FREMM delivered to the Egyptian Navy will be taken from the series currently under construction for the French Navy. To ensure that the operational capacities of the French Navy will not be affected, DCNS will speed up the rate of production of subsequent ships.
«I would like to stress that this success would not have been possible without a close-knit team in France and the tireless support of the French state services, in particular the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) and the French Navy, who accepted the postponement of delivery of its second frigate».
FREMM – multi-mission frigate
Multi-mission frigates are versatile vessels able to respond to all types of air, marine, submarine or land threats. FREMM frigates are at the cutting edge of technology and are perfectly suited to ensuring that client navies are able to respond to current threats and the growing needs of maritime security.
A frigate is a ship capable of carrying out several types of mission: protection of a so-called high-value vessel (e.g.: an aircraft carrier), anti-ship warfare, anti-submarine or anti-aircraft warfare, surveillance of a maritime area. A modern frigate is a warship whose dimensions, weapons and equipment allow it to:
- Navigate on the high seas regardless of the weather conditions;
- Attack and defend itself, regardless of the level and origin (land, air, sea) of the threat;
- Attack land-based targets thanks to long-range missiles;
- Operate alone or in cooperation.
These ships respond to the needs of client navies, including one international client, the Royal Moroccan Navy (701 «Mohammed VI»). These vessels also comply with the most recent MARPOL (MARine POLlution) standards for environmental protection.
With 12 frigates, DCNS is thus the prime contractor of the largest European naval defence program. The FREMM multi-mission frigates are equipped with the most recent technologies developed by DCNS and the best systems available on the market.
FREMM frigates are equipped with hybrid propulsion. In silent mode, the shafts and propellers are driven by electric motors ensuring the acoustic discretion required for anti-submarine warfare operations. In high-speed propulsion mode, the shaft lines are driven by a gas turbine. A retractable thruster ensures manoeuvring safety at quay and in the port. This thruster also acts as an auxiliary propulsion system in the event of a breakdown of the main propulsion system.
According to Defense-aerospace.com, the sale of the ship to Egypt will have a strong impact on the French navy, and will require a complete reshuffling of the crews of the FREMM frigates D651 «Normandie» and D652 «Provence», which both are nearing the end of their user trials.
Specifically, once the contract is signed, the current crew of D651 «Normandie» will transfer to D652 «Provence», which will be home-ported in Brest. There, it will work up its anti-submarine warfare capabilities on the Atlantic coast, as originally planned. The current crew of D652 «Provence» will be reallocated to another FREMM frigate, D653 «Languedoc», which is currently being completed by DCNS, for fitting out.
Mechanically, this sale will delay by several months the arrival of the FREMM frigates into the fleet, and will induce a one-year extension of the anti-submarine frigates D642 «Montcalm» and D643 «Jean de Vienne», whose decommissioning has now been pushed back to 2017 and 2018 respectively. These service life extensions will enable the Navy to ensure its mission of maintaining an operational presence on all oceans, 24/24 and 365 days a year.
Overall length: 466 feet/142 m
Width: 65.6 feet/20 m
Displacement: 6,000 tonnes
Maximum speed: 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h
Crew: 108 persons (helicopter detachment included)
Accommodation capacity: 145 men and women
Range: 6,000 NM/11,112 km at 15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h
The only solution allowing on-time delivery is to hand over to Egypt one of the FREMM originally intended for the French navy, which is currently fitting out at DCNS’s Lorient shipyard: the frigate «Normandie».