On April 21, the French Defence Ministry announced the attribution to DCNS of a contract for the development and construction of five Intermediate-Size Frigates (FTIs) intended for the French Navy. DCNS will propose a French version of its newBELH@RRA frigate. The first of the five frigates from this DGA-managed programme should be delivered in 2023 with an entry into active service in 2025.
A latest-generation digital frigate for the French Navy
The new BELH@RRA frigate will be designed and developed by DCNS, in joint project management with THALES for the development of the new-generation radar it will be equipped with.
The initiation of the FTI programme will benefit the DCNS Group’s employment basins, the foremost of which being the DCNS Lorient site and its subcontracting partners: the design of the BELH@RRA frigates represents about two million hours of work for the DCNS design offices. For the entire DCNS Group, the construction of a BELH@RRA frigate represents on average two million hours of work, of which three hundred thousand hours for the design offices.
Hervé Guillou, Chairman and CEO of DCNS states that: «DCNS is proud to contribute, alongside THALES, to the renewal of the French naval forces thanks to a new vessel responding to the needs of a world-class navy. It is key component of our range of military vessels and the attribution of this contract also allows us to develop a frigate that addresses the expectations of a dynamic international market».
A world-class frigate of a displacement of 4,000 tonnes intended for anti-submarine warfare, the French version of the BELH@RRA is designed to respond to the various French national needs. It will be endowed with extended self-defence and special forces projection capacities. Last but not least, it will integrate the new THALES SEA FIRE four flat antenna radar and will be equipped with Aster 30 missiles from MBDA.
The first frigate for «digital natives»
Developed for crews that will take the commands around 2020, the BELH@RRA frigates will benefit from the very latest digital technologies. They will, in particular, be equipped with a latest-generation combat system. This will bring greater rapidity for tactical analysis, decision taking and weapons deployment.
The integration of the latest digital technologies will ensure that the vessel will be able to evolve over a period of almost forty years. The information-processing systems will be modernised incrementally to be adapted to changes in the operational context, the emergence of future threats and the short renewal cycles for new technologies.
With the BELH@RRA frigate, DCNS intends to continue the success enjoyed by La Fayette-class frigates, a reference on the naval-defence market with over twenty units sold around the world. DCNS completes its product line by positioning this new frigate between the 6,000-tonne FREMM multi-mission frigate segment and that of the 2,500- to 3,000-tonne Gowind corvettes.
Successor of the stealth La Fayette-class frigate, BELH@RRA is the new combat ship for naval supremacy.
BELH@RRA is the answer from DCNS to navies looking for a compact frigate able to perform a large range of missions stand-alone or within a task force either for high sea duration missions as for shallow water operation in congested and contested operational environment.
This new frigate features high level capabilities in anti-air, anti-surface, anti-submarine and asymmetric warfare domains. BELH@RRA is fitted with latest generation fixed-panels Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar integrated in a Panoramic Surveillance Intelligence Module (PSIM), a complete sonar suite, long and medium range anti-air missiles and a comprehensive electronic warfare suite.
Thanks to its flexible design, BELH@RRA can be proposed in different versions with adapted combat payload and platform arrangement.
BELH@RRA is either equipped with:
- fixed-panels AESA radar or rotating 3D multifunction radar;
- 76-mm or 127-mm gun;
- up to 32 vertical launched missiles cells;
- Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) and/or short range weapon system;
- full sonar suite – Hull-Mounted Sonar (HMS) and Variable Depth Sonar (VDS);
- passive detection in all frequencies bands (radar, radio, laser…);
- up to 40 MW/53,641 hp Combined Diesel and Diesel (CODAD) propulsion,
- fixed and rotary-wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs);
- stretched hull to receive a flexible zone for UXVs, RHIBS, containers storage, and increased autonomy and accommodation.
This compact and stealth platform provides maximised capacities for active/passive self-defence and attack in all warfare areas.
BELH@RRA baseline version is equipped with SETIS, DCNS latest-generation combat system fitted for national or coalition forces interoperability with tactical data links presets.
SETIS features shipborne and third-parties UAV operations directly from the Combat Information Centre (CIC).
BELH@RRA is equipped with an innovative short range protection center which gives full 360° vision coverage and action against close targets.
Advanced digital infrastructure design through ACCESS (Afloat Common Computing Evolutive and Secured System Project).
BELH@RRA cybersecurity is addressed by DCNS through the whole warship design and on-board/ashore systems monitoring.
|Displacement||4,000 t class|
|Length||121 m/397 feet|
|Width||17 m/55.8 feet|
|Speed||27-29 knots/31-33.4 mph/50-53.7 km/h|
|Range||5,000 NM/5,754 miles/9,260 km at 15 knots/17.3 mph/27.8 km/h|
|Aviation||1×10 t class helicopter and 1×mid-size UAV|