Tag Archives: DCNS

BELH@RRA Frigate

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.

Flexible design for export variants
Flexible design for export variants

 

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.

Strong military capacities in all warfare areas
Strong military capacities in all warfare areas

 

Missions

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.

 

Design flexibility

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.

 

Advanced warfare

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.

 

CHARACTERISTICS

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
Accommodation 145-165
Aviation 1×10 t class helicopter and 1×mid-size UAV

 

Multi-mission frigate

On 11 April in Toulon, DCNS delivered the FREMM multi-mission frigate D654 Auvergne to the French Navy, as stipulated in the contract. This frigate is the fourth of the series ordered by OCCAR (L’Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en Matière d’Armement) on behalf of the DGA (French armament procurement agency).

Under the project management of DCNS, the heavily-armed FREMM frigates are equipped with the most effective weapon systems and equipment, such as the Herakles multifunctional radar, the naval cruise missile, the Aster and Exocet MM 40 missiles and the MU 90 torpedoes
Under the project management of DCNS, the heavily-armed FREMM frigates are equipped with the most effective weapon systems and equipment, such as the Herakles multifunctional radar, the naval cruise missile, the Aster and Exocet MM 40 missiles and the MU 90 torpedoes

Delivery of the FREMM multi-mission frigate D654 Auvergne is the result of a design and construction process managed by DCNS in close cooperation with the French Navy, DGA and OCCAR teams.

This technological and industrial success employed many DCNS sites and its partners and subcontractors to ensure compliance with the industrial milestones, in particular the launching in September 2015 and the first sea outing in September 2016.

«The delivery of the FREMM Auvergne represents an opportunity to applaud the industrial and technological prowess of DCNS and its subcontractors. The frigate Auvergne illustrates our capacity to produce and deliver on time a series of front-line combat vessels to satisfy the needs of our client navies», indicates Nicolas Gaspard, director of the FREMM programme at DCNS.

On completion, the FREMM programme will represent the construction of ten vessels on the DCNS Lorient site, of which eight for the French Navy. Six FREMM would have been delivered to the French Navy before end of 2019, in accordance with the 2014-2019 military programming law. DCNS is currently completing the FREMM D655 Bretagne, which was floated on 16 September 2016, and is pursuing the assembly of the FREMM D656 Normandie. Furthermore, work has already started on the ninth FREMM in the series, the D657 Alsace, which will be one of the two FREMMs with strengthened anti-aircraft capacities, whose deliveries are scheduled before 2022.

 

Characteristics

Total length 466 feet/142 m
Width 65.6 feet/20 m
Displacement 6,000 tonnes
Maximum speed 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h
Operation 108 persons (including helicopter detachment)
Accommodation capacity 145 men and women
Cruising range at 15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h 6,000 nautical miles/6,905 miles/11,112 km

 

Sea trials

On March 17th, 2017, DCNS is proud to announce the success of the first sea trials of the first-of-class Gowind 2500 corvette under construction in Lorient, France by DCNS. Ten Gowind 2500 corvette, aimed at supplementing DCNS surface vessel product range, has been ordered so far by international navies.

The first sea trials of the first Gowind 2500 corvette designed and built in Lorient by DCNS underline the quality of the conception and production of this new range of vessels
The first sea trials of the first Gowind 2500 corvette designed and built in Lorient by DCNS underline the quality of the conception and production of this new range of vessels

The first sea trials of the first Gowind 2500 corvette designed and built in Lorient by DCNS underline the quality of the conception and production of this new range of vessels. «It is a very important moment for DCNS: the Gowind corvette designed especially for the international market is now sea proven», explains Eric Chaplet, DCNS Marketing Vice-President. «We are very proud to announce that, with the Gowind 2500 corvette, DCNS now has the last generation vessel to strengthen its product line geared to the international naval defence market».

«The sea trials of the Gowind 2500 corvette once again illustrate DCNS’ industrial capacity to manage and realize major programs with products meeting the needs of our customers», adds Pierre Legros, DCNS Senior Vice-President Programs. The first Gowind® 2500 corvette is being built on the DCNS site in Lorient, France, one of the most modern naval shipyards in Europe. Nine other corvettes are to be built in Egypt and Malaysia, on the basis of technology transfer realized by DCNS.

«The Gowind 2500 responds to navies’ needs to have access to a complete and multi-mission combat vessel for sovereignty and maritime protection operations», details Eric Chaplet.

The Gowind 2500 is bristling with the very latest technological advances, developed and implemented by DCNS for naval defence. It incorporates the SETIS combat system, developed by DCNS for FREMM frigates and Gowind corvettes, the «Panoramic Sensors and Intelligence Module (PSIM)» – an assembly bringing together the integrated mast with its various sensors as well as the Operational Centre and its associated technical rooms – and the high degree of integration, automation and conviviality of the DCNS systems.

 

Gowind 2500 technical characteristics

Total length 334.65 feet/102 m
Width 52.49 feet/16 m
Displacement 2,600 tons
Maximum speed 25 knots/28.77 mph/46.3 km/h
Range 3,700 nautical miles/4,258 miles/6,852 km at 15 knots/17.26 mph/27.78 km/h
Crew 80 persons (helicopter detachment included)

 

Naval Aerial Drone

DCNS, a world leader in naval defence, and Airbus Helicopters, the world’s leading helicopter manufacturer, are joining forces to design the future tactical component of France’s Naval Aerial Drone (Système de Drones Aériens de la Marine – SDAM) programme. By pooling naval and aerospace skills and expertise, the teaming of DCNS and Airbus Helicopters will be equipped to address all technical challenges arising from the naval integration of the drones through the creation of a robust system architecture that can evolve and adapt to meet every need.

DCNS and Airbus Helicopters join forces to design the French Navy’s future tactical VTOL drone system
DCNS and Airbus Helicopters join forces to design the French Navy’s future tactical VTOL drone system

For DCNS, drones are the roving eyes of the battle system; their missions are overseen by each ship’s combat management system, ensuring increased effectiveness in real time in support of naval operations. Offering a genuine tactical advantage, the VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) drone is an organic component of warships and augments the operational potential of naval forces.

DCNS CEO Hervé Guillou said: «We will continue to innovate in these areas and give drones the capability to perform increasingly complex missions over greater distances and timeframes in an interoperable environment with increased digitalisation of resources. Such digitalisation hinges on the roll-out of cybersecurity solutions that offer better protection of data and communications between drones and ships».

DCNS’s role in the partnership will be to design and supply the entire warship-integrated VTOL drone system. DCNS will design and develop the solutions for the ship-based operation and integration of the drone, including the specification and validation of the payloads and mission data links. DCNS will also produce the drone’s mission system, which will enable real-time management of its operations and allow its payloads to be controlled through the combat management system.

Over the last ten years, DCNS has successfully overseen the French armaments procurement agency (DGA) and French Navy’s main aerial drone study and trial programs, operating both on its own and in partnership. In the process, the Group has acquired know-how that is unique in Europe and possesses solutions for integrating aerial drone systems in warships or enabling them to operate on ships. These solutions have been tested at sea.

A versatile and affordable platform, the VSR700 has been developed by Airbus Helicopters with a view to providing military customers with a solution that leverages a tried and tested civil aircraft and strikes the best possible balance between performance, operational flexibility, reliability and operating costs. Harnessing autonomous flight technologies that have been tested by Airbus Helicopters through a range of demonstration programs, the VSR700 is derived from a light civil helicopter, the Cabri G2 (developed by the company Hélicoptères Guimbal), which has proven its reliability and low operating costs in service.

Under the terms of the partnership, Airbus Helicopters will be responsible for designing and developing the VSR700 drone as well as the various technologies needed for drones to perform aerial missions, such as data liaison, payload and a “see and avoid” capability enabling the drone’s integration into airspace.

«Rotary-wing drones will play a crucial role in tomorrow’s air/sea theatres of operation, performing the role of a roving eye and extending the coverage of surface vessels over the horizon», said Airbus Helicopters CEO Guillaume Faury. «This partnership will see Airbus Helicopters pool its expertise in vertical flight and autonomous flight technologies with the skills DCNS possesses in naval combat systems, allowing us to respond to the emerging needs of our customers».

Thanks to the VSR700’s specifications, the system boasts superior endurance and payload performance to any comparable system used to date. The device offers big capability with a small size and logistics footprint, resulting in less maintenance and straight forward integration to a broad range of surface vessels.

Digital frigate

On the occasion of the Euronaval Exhibition in Paris-Le Bourget, DCNS unveils BELH@RRA, the new front-line digital frigate dedicated to the international market and which renews the heavily-armed 4,000-tonne frigate segment. DCNS has named its new frigate BELH@RRA in reference to Europe’s only giant wave: the Belharra. The first «a» transformed into an @ makes reference to the highly digital nature of the frigate proposed by DCNS.

DCNS unveils BELH@RRA, the new-generation digital frigate
DCNS unveils BELH@RRA, the new-generation digital frigate

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 to four navies around the world.

DCNS completes its product line by positioning a latest-generation vessel between the 6,000-tonne FREMM multi-mission frigate segment and that of the 2,500- to 3,000-tonne GOWIND corvettes.

With the BELH@RRA frigate, DCNS responds to the expectations of navies looking for a compact frigate, capable of ensuring long-range missions, operating alone or embedded in a naval force, on the high seas or as part of coastal surveillance missions in a dense and hostile environment.

The new BELH@RRA frigate offers operational intelligence that is unequalled on the market, in addition to a modular design, robustness and simplified use, which are all the fruit of the technological evolutions of the last few years. Ten years after the first design studies for the FREMM multi-mission frigate, DCNS’s latest frigate also capitalises on the experience of the French Navy with this vessel across a large number of operational theatres.

Thanks to the architecture and versatility of DCNS’s SETIS combat-management system, proven on the FREMM frigates and GOWIND corvettes, the BELH@RRA frigate will respond to the specific needs of client navies in all areas of warfare, whilst at the same time offering significant platform modularity to increase vessel payload or autonomy. The new frigate will offer cutting-edge performance for submarine warfare, an unprecedented aircraft detection capability and strengthened air-surface warfare capacities; a multi-mission foundation to which capacities responding to new threats such as asymmetric warfare or cyber-defence will also be added.

Resolutely oriented towards future operators in command of vessels beyond 2020, the BELH@RRA frigate benefits from digital technologies. These endow it with greater performance for data processing and threat detection whilst at the same time allowing the crew to concentrate on tasks with the most added value.

The development of digital technologies guarantees the upgradeability of the vessel throughout its life-cycle. For a period of almost forty years, the equipment and systems will be incrementally modernised to adapt to evolutions in the operational context, future threats and the arrival of new technologies.

DCNS already offers a French-Navy version of the new BELH@RRA frigate in the frame of the FTI (intermediate-size frigate) programme conducted by the French Procurement Agency (DGA) on behalf of the French Navy. For the French-Navy version, the BELH@RRA frigate is designed to satisfy France’s needs as defined by the French Ministry of Defence: a front-line frigate for anti-submarine warfare of a displacement of 4,000 tonnes equipped with widened self-defence and commando-projection capacities. Last but not least, it integrates the Thales Sea Fire four flat antenna radar and is equipped with ASTER 30 missiles from MBDA.

The new heavily-armed frigate made for the international market
The new heavily-armed frigate made for the international market

Gowind now a reality

On 17 September, DCNS floated the first Gowind 2500 corvette out of its assembly hall at the Lorient shipyard just 12 months after construction began. The Elfateh 971, the first of a series of four Gowind 2500s for the Egyptian Navy, is scheduled for delivery in 2017. The three sister ships will be built under a technology transfer agreement at the Alexandria Shipyard; work on the first having begun in 2016.

Elfateh, the first of four Gowind corvettes on order for the Egyptian Navy, is floated out at the Lorient, Brittany shipyard of DCNS. This is the first vessel of this new design to be built (DCNS photo)
Elfateh, the first of four Gowind corvettes on order for the Egyptian Navy, is floated out at the Lorient, Brittany shipyard of DCNS. This is the first vessel of this new design to be built (DCNS photo)

DCNS developed the Gowind family for navies seeking to acquire compact new-generation warships that are rugged, reliable and well-armed. Gowind corvettes and OPVs (Offshore Patrol Vessels) combine force projection capabilities with powerful sensor and combat systems controlled by a Setis combat management system originally developed for the FREMM frigate programme. All Gowind vessels are true surface combatants designed to Bureau Véritas’s Naval Patrol Vessel Rules. Other features include a high level of built-in equipment redundancy and a compartment architecture ensuring hull stability in the event of flooding.

With ten units sold in 2013 and 2014, the Gowind 2500, the largest of the family, has already proven a winner. The first order was placed by Malaysia; the second by Egypt. The six ships for the Malaysian Navy are being built by Boustead Naval Shipyard with DCNS technical assistance. The first of type was laid down in 2016 and is scheduled to be floated out in 2018.

In addition to its general naval capabilities, the Gowind 2500 can be outfitted to the client navy’s requirements regarding both the propulsion configuration and the combat system, including mission-specific suites for anti-submarine warfare. The ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) version’s sensors include a hull-mounted sonar and a Captas 2 towed variable-depth sonar ensuring high-performance submarine detection. The flight deck and hangar can accommodate a 10t-class helicopter such as the NH90 or Seahawk, which in turn can deploy a dipping sonar and lightweight torpedoes. With the added benefit of DCNS’s proven expertise in platform optimisation for improved sonar efficiency, the Gowind 2500 is a formidable submarine hunter.

Gowind 2500 corvettes are typically equipped with 8 × Exocet MM40 anti-ship missiles and 16 × VL Mica anti-air missiles, both by MBDA. The electronic warfare suite can include Thales’s Vigile and Altesse R-ESM (Radar Electronic Support Measures) and C-ESM (Communications Electronic Support Measures)/ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) solutions and an NGDS (Net-Centric Geospatial Intelligence Discovery Services) or Sylena decoy system. Airspace surveillance is provided by an NS 100 or Sea Giraffe 3D radar.

The Gowind 2500 is the first to feature the DCNS-designed panoramic sensors and intelligence module. In a single block that is assembled separately, the PSIM combines the integrated mast, complete with the radar under its radome and all the other sensors, plus the ops rooms and the associated equipment compartments.

The hangar and flight deck are sized for a 10 t-class helo; a 5 t-class helo (e.g. Panther) and an unmanned aerial system; or up to three UASs. For commando operations, the Gowind 2500 offers side bays for a pair of 21.3 feet/6.5 m RHIBs.

Gowind 2500 (DCNS)
Gowind 2500 (DCNS)

 

Ship characteristics

Length 102 m/334.6 feet
Beam 16 m/52.5 feet
Draft 5.4 m/17.7 feet
Displacement 2,600 t
Propulsion Combined diesel and electric: 10,000 kW
Speed 25+ knots/29+ mph/46 km/h
Range 3,700 NM/6,852 km at 15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h
Crew (+ Pax) 65 (+15)
The Panoramic sensors and intelligence module (Mer et Marine/DCNS)
The Panoramic sensors and intelligence module (Mer et Marine/DCNS)

 

  1. 3D Radar;
  2. Electronic Support Measures (ESM) suite;
  3. Hull mounted sonar;
  4. Variable depth sonar;
  5. Fire control system;
  6. Vertical launching system (16 cells);
  7. Main gun 76-mm;
  8. 8 Surface-to-surface missiles;
  9. Short range gun system;
  10. Torpedo launching system;
  11. Decoy launching system;
  12. Helicopter (10 t) and Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) facilities;
  13. Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs).

 

DCNS floated Bretagne

On 16 September 2016, DCNS floated the FREMM multi-mission frigate Bretagne in Lorient, France. The achievement of this industrial milestone marks an important step in the construction of the vessel. It once again underlines the dynamism of DCNS and its capacity to deliver six FREMM frigates to the French Navy before mid-2019, in accordance with the Military Programming Law 2014-2019.

DCNS floats a new FREMM Frigate
DCNS floats a new FREMM Frigate

DCNS has now floated the FREMM Bretagne on its Lorient site, the seventh frigate in the programme and fifth in the series ordered by OCCAR (L’Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en Matière d’Armement) on behalf of the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) for the French Navy.

This floating, six months after the delivery of the FREMM Languedoc on 16 March 2016, demonstrates DCNS’s capacity to carry out efficient series production, ensuring that it can deliver six frigates to the French Navy before mid-2019.

The FREMM programme is advancing rapidly. Five FREMM frigates were already delivered between 2012 and 2015: three for the French Navy and two for international clients, the Royal Moroccan Navy and the Egyptian Navy.

Three FREMM frigates and one Gowind corvette are currently under construction and at different completion stages at the DCNS site of Lorient:

  • FREMM Auvergne, which will start sea trials at the end of September 2016.
  • FREMM Bretagne, floated today.
  • FREMM Normandie, for which assembling is about to start.
  • The first Gowind corvette, floated on 17 September 2016.

For DCNS, the completion of the FREMM programme will represent the construction of ten frigates, eight of them for the French Navy. In addition to the six frigates to be delivered by 2019, there will be two further frigates with strengthened anti-air capacities which will be delivered before end 2022.

 

Characteristics

Total length 466 feet/142 m
Width 65.6 feet/20 m
Displacement 6,000 tonnes
Maximum speed 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h
Operation 108 persons (including helicopter detachment)
Accommodation capacity 145 men and women
Cruising range at 15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h 6,000 nautical miles/6,905 miles/11,112 km

 

Gamal Abdel Nasser

On June 2nd, 2016, DCNS delivered the first of two helicopter carriers acquired by the Arab Republic of Egypt in October 2015, the LHD (Landing Helo Dock) Gamal Abdel Nasser. The flag transfer ceremony took place in the presence of Egyptian and French Navies’ Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Rabie and Admiral Rogel, Hervé Guillou, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DCNS, Laurent Castaing, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of STX France, and senior Egyptian and French officials. By 2020, DCNS will have supplied at least seven combat vessels to Egypt, thus contributing to the modernisation of the Arab Republic of Egypt’s defence system.

The LHD: a versatile vessel that is able to conduct a wide range of civil and military missions
The LHD: a versatile vessel that is able to conduct a wide range of civil and military missions

Hervé Guillou, Chairman and CEO of DCNS announced that: «The delivery of the LHD Gamal Abdel Nasser consolidates our relationship with the Arab Republic of Egypt which can count on the total commitment of DCNS and its partners to successfully conduct all of the programmes entrusted to us. I would also like to thank the French government authorities who constantly supported us on this contract. Furthermore, this delivery once again demonstrates our ability to efficiently cooperate with our partner STX France in order to meet the expectations of our client, within strict respects of budgets and deadlines».

On October 10th 2015, DCNS signed a contract with the Ministry of Defence of the Arab Republic of Egypt for the supply of two Mistral-class LHDs. The flag transfers of the first of the two helicopter carriers, the LHD Gamal Abdel Nasser, contributes to the continuity of the strategic partnership with the Egyptian Defence Ministry, already initiated in July 2014 by the signature of a contract for the sale of four Gowind corvettes, and in August 2015 by the delivery of the FREMM multi-mission frigate Tahya Misr (FFG-1001) to the Egyptian Navy. In addition, DCNS is committed to supporting the Egyptian Navy over the longer term, thanks in particular to the multiannual maintenance contracts for the Egyptian vessels as well as through technologies transfer allowing the Alexandria Shipyards to build three of the four Gowind corvettes ordered in 2014. Other projects are currently under consideration to accelerate full operational capability of the Egyptian Navy.

The LHD Gamal Abdel Nasser will leave Saint-Nazaire in the next few days with the associated support vessels: two new-generation landing craft (CTM NG) and one EDAR fast amphibious landing craft. Before sailing to its home port of Alexandria, the helicopter carrier Gamal Abdel Nasser will participate in a joint exercise between the Egyptian and French Navies. Since February, 180 Egyptian sailors have been trained in Saint-Nazaire on the LHD Nasser. In line with the Egyptian Navy’s image of excellence, they completed a remarkable task in just a few months of work, with the support of the DCNS instructors and our partners STX France and Défense Conseil International.

The Mistral-class LHD is a vessel that responds to the needs of numerous navies thanks to its versatility. It allows a wide spectrum of civil and military missions. With a length of 653 feet/199 meters and a speed exceeding 18 knots/20.7 mph/33.3 km/h, the Mistral-class LHD vessel is characterised by its high capacity for the transportation of troops, equipment, heavy helicopters and landing craft, which the LHD is capable of projecting around the world. It is equipped with an electric propulsion system that uses pods. It also has an onboard hospital, and can carry out large-scale humanitarian missions. Its highly capable communication system makes it the ideal command vessel within a naval force.

Thanks to the close collaboration between DCNS and STX, the three first LHDs, Mistral, Tonnerre and Dixmude were delivered to the French Navy in 2006, 2007 and 2012.

Developed and built by France, and originally sold to Russia, two Mistral-class LHD amphibious warfare ships were finally sold to Egypt; the first one was officially handed over today (DCNS photo)
Developed and built by France, and originally sold to Russia, two Mistral-class LHD amphibious warfare ships were finally sold to Egypt; the first one was officially handed over today (DCNS photo)

Sea Trial of Kalvari

«Kalvari», the first of the Scorpene-class submarines, being built at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd Mumbai (MDL), went to sea for the first time on 01 May 2016. The submarine sailed out at about 1000 hrs under her own propulsion for the first sea trial, off the Mumbai coast and during the sortie. A number of preliminary tests on the propulsion system, Auxiliary Equipment and Systems, Navigation Aids, Communication Equipment and Steering gear. Various Standard Operating Procedures were also validated for this new class of submarines. The submarine then returned to harbor in the evening.

The Kalvari class is a class of submarines based on the Scorpene-class submarine being built for the Indian Navy
The Kalvari class is a class of submarines based on the Scorpene-class submarine being built for the Indian Navy

This important milestone was achieved by MDL after overcoming a number of challenges faced since launching of the submarine last year in October. During the next few months, the submarine will undergo a barrage of sea trials, including surface trials, diving trials, weapon trials, Noise trials etc., which would test the submarine to the extremes of its intended operating envelop. Thereafter she would be commissioned into the Indian Navy as INS Kalvari (S50) later this year. Commissioning of Kalvari will be a re-affirmation of India’s capability to build submarines and a major boost for the «Make in India» programme of the government.

In April last year, the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri had visited MDL and directed that all-out effort be made to complete the project in time. Accordingly, the teams from MDL, Indian Navy and DCNS have been working round the clock. On 01 May, with the first sea sortie of Kalvari, MDL has achieved a major project milestone.

Leveraging on the experience and the transfer-of-technology of the Scorpene project, and with the enhanced and upgraded infrastructure, MDL is ready for undertaking future submarine and shipbuilding projects, in order to meet the growing requirements of National Security.

 

Background

India joined the exclusive group of submarine constructing nations on 07 February 1992, with the commissioning of the first Indian built submarine, INS Shalki (S46). That was indeed a proud day for Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd, who had built this submarine. Mazagon Dock then went on to commission another submarine, INS Shankul (S47), on 28 May 1994. These submarines are still in service today, after more than 20 years; testimony to the skills and capability of Mazagon Dock.

The ongoing project for the construction of six Scorpene-class submarines, has M/s DCNS of France, as Collaborator and includes «Transfer of Technology», with M/s MDL as the «Builder».

 

Operational Features

The state-of-art features of the Scorpene include superior stealth and the ability to launch a crippling attack on the enemy using precision guided weapons. The attack can be launched with torpedoes, as well as tube launched anti-ship missiles, whilst underwater or on surface. The Stealth features give it invulnerability, unmatched by many submarines.

The Scorpene Submarine is designed to operate in all theatres including the Tropics. All means and communications are provided to ensure interoperability with other components of a Naval Task Force. It can undertake multifarious types of missions typically undertaken by any modern submarine i.e. Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Intelligence gathering, Mine Laying, Area Surveillance etc.

 

Construction Features

Submarines are built from special steel, capable of withstanding high yield stress and having high tensile strength, thereby allowing them to withstand high hydrostatic force and enabling them to dive deeper to further enhance stealth.

The Submarine is built according to the principle of Modular Construction, which involves dividing the submarine into a number of sections and building them parallelly. The equipment is mounted onto Cradles and then embarked into the sections. The complexity of the task increases exponentially as it involves laying of around 60 km of cabling and 11 km of piping in extremely congested and limited space inside the submarine. Further, the stringent tolerances laid down for the construction of the Scorpene were indeed a challenge, but have been successfully achieved.

 

Other Features

The Scorpene is equipped with Weapons Launching Tubes (WLT), and can carry weapons on board which can be easily reloaded at sea, through special handling and loading equipment. The array of weapons and complex sensors fitted on board the Scorpene are managed by a high technology Combat Management System, which integrates various diverse systems fitted onboard into One Formidable Whole.

 

Status of Submarine

The submarine was undocked on pontoon on 06 April 2015 in the presence of Hon’ble Raksha Mantri Shri Manohar Parrikar. After completing the important milestones of vacuum test and battery loading, the submarine was launched at the Naval Dockyard on 28 October 2015 and thereafter brought back to MDL for completion of the Basin trials and Harbour Acceptance trials phase.

After conquering numerous challenges faced during the «Setting to Work» phase and undergoing rigorous harbour tests & trials to the complete satisfaction of the customer, the submarine is now fully ready to undergo for sea trials.

 

«Kalvari»: The Tiger Shark

Kalvari is the dreaded Tiger Shark, a deadly deep sea predator. As is the tradition, ships and submarines of the Navy, are brought alive after decommissioning. The first Kalvari, which was also the first Indian submarine, was commissioned into the Indian Navy on 08 December 1967. She was decommissioned on 31 May 1996 after almost 30 years of yeoman service to the nation. In true nautical traditions, she will now be re-incarnated, by Mazagon Dock, once again a powerful predator of the deep, guarding the vast maritime interests and areas of our nation.

The commissioning of Yard 11875 (Kalvari), will not only mark a generational shift in technology, insofar as submarine construction in India is concerned, but also for submarine operations by the Indian Navy.

 

Contribution to National Security and Nation Building

With its history of constructing the Leander and Godavari class Frigates, Khukri class Corvettes, Delhi and Kolkata class Destroyers, Shivalik class Stealth Frigates, 1241 RE Missile Boats and the Shalki class submarines, there is now no doubt that MDL has deservedly earned the soubriquet «Warship and Submarine Builders to the Nation».

MDL’s contribution to national security and nation building will continue with the P-15B class destroyers, the first of which was launched in April 2015, and the P-17A class stealth frigates, the follow-on of the P-17 Stealth Frigates.

 

Australian Barracuda

The Prime Minister of Australia announced on April 26 in Adelaide, that the next generation of 12 submarines will be constructed in Adelaide, with DCNS of France selected as the preferred international partner for the design.

A Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A pre-concept design (90 meters in length and displaces more than 4,000 tons) released as part of the DCNS pitch
A Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A pre-concept design (90 meters in length and displaces more than 4,000 tons) released as part of the DCNS pitch

The AUD50 billion (USD38 billion) Future Submarine Project is the largest and most complex defence acquisition Australia has ever undertaken. It will deliver a regionally-superior submarine that meets Australia’s unique national security requirements, as detailed in the 2016 Defence White Paper.

Today’s announcement follows the comprehensive Competitive Evaluation Process involving DCNS, TKMS (ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems) of Germany and the Government of Japan. Each bidder submitted very high quality proposals and the Australian Government thanked both TKMS and the Government of Japan for their ongoing commitment to Australia and their participation in the process.

The rigorous and independent process was led by Head of the Future Submarine Program, Rear Admiral Greg Sammut, and General Manager Submarines, retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Stephen Johnson, who was previously in charge of the program to replace the Ohio Class ballistic missile submarines.

The process was overseen by an independent Expert Advisory Panel, chaired by former Secretary of the United States Navy, Professor Donald Winter. It was peer reviewed by retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Paul Sullivan and retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Thomas Eccles.

This decision was driven by the French bid’s ability to best meet the unique capability requirements. These included superior sensor performance and stealth characteristics, as well as range and endurance similar to the 3,400-tonne Collins class submarine. The Government’s considerations also included cost, schedule, program execution, through-life support and Australian industry involvement.

Subject to discussions on commercial matters, the design of the Future Submarine with DCNS will begin this year.