The steel cutting of the first of four forward sections for as many logistic support units LSS (Logistic Support Ship) ordered by Chantiers de l’Atlantique to Fincantieri under the FLOTLOG program («Flotte logistique») took place at the Castellammare di Stabia shipyard.
The sections will be built at the Castellammare di Stabia shipyard with deliveries scheduled between 2021 and 2027.
The FLOTLOG program consists in the construction of four Logistic Support Ships (LSS), destined to the French Navy, by the temporary consortium between Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Naval Group under the Franco-Italian LSS Program led by OCCAR (Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation) on behalf of DGA, the French Armament General Directorate, and its Italian counterpart, NAVARM (Italian Ministry of Defense).
This cooperation between Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Fincantieri is part of the broader Franco-Italian alliance in the naval surface ship domain.
The highly innovative LSS program, similarly to the units of the multi-year program for the renewal of the Italian Navy’s fleet, provides a considerable degree of efficiency and flexibility in serving different mission profiles.
Furthermore, the LSS unit combines features of transportation and transfer to other vessels of both liquid (diesel fuel, jet fuel, fresh water) and solid loads (emergency spare parts, food and ammunitions).
The first steel plate of the hull of the first of the four new Bâtiments Ravitailleurs de Force (BRF) – replenishment vessels – of the French Navy has been cut on May 18, 2020 during a ceremony held in the machining workshop of Chantiers de l’Atlantique, in presence of Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, and Admiral Prazuck, Chief of French Navy. This ceremony marked symbolically the start of the construction of the first vessel of the Flotte logistique (FLOTLOG) program.
The order for the construction of the four ships was notified in January 2019 to the temporary association of companies formed by Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Naval Group. Deliveries are scheduled from end 2022 to 2029. This order for the French Navy is part of a Franco-Italian program led by Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’ARmement (OCCAR), on behalf of Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), the French Defence Procurement Agency, and its Italian counterpart Naval Armaments Directorate (NAVARM).
The BRF with a capacity of 13,000 m3 have a mission of logistical support of the combat vessels of the French Navy. They carry fuel, ammunition, spare parts, as well as food for the vessels.
Compliant with international standards, their characteristics are adapted to their specific missions of support to the aviation group constituted around the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, flagship of the naval air force group.
Chantiers de l’Atlantique carries out the global design and the construction of the four ships, and ensures the integration and the implementation of the embedded systems.
«We are at the very start of a new industrial story, which will feature once again our know how in design, building and integration of cutting edge technologies», states Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l’Atlantique. «This is also an excellent opportunity to demonstrate our complementarity of our businesses with those of our partner Naval Group».
Naval Group is responsible for the design, development and integration of the military systems of the platform. The combat system of the four ships, whose architecture is based on the Polaris Combat Management System of Naval Group, ensures the protection against close threats and the fight against asymmetric threats.
«Naval Group is proud to stand once again by Chantiers de l’Atlantique in the frame of this European program. This cooperation brings together the best civilian and naval expertise and will benefit our customers both on economic and operational aspects», highlights Pierre-Eric Pommelet, Naval Group CEO.
Main Characteristics of the vessels
Full loaded displacement
194 m/636.5 feet
27.60 m/90.5 feet
190 people, including 130 crew members and 60 passengers
According to Defense-aerospace.com, Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, welcomes the first dive in the Suffren at sea, carried out on Tuesday April 28, 2020, after her departure from the naval base of Cherbourg. The Suffren is the first of six Barracuda nuclear attack submarines.
Led by the French Armaments Directorate (DGA), these sea trials, which will last several months, will confirm the robustness and efficiency of the submarine before her hand-over to the French Navy.
At dockside as at sea, the test campaign will follow the specific health prevention and precautionary measures linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SSNs are real instruments of power, enduring and discreet. Their missions are varied, and range from support to the deterrent force, protection of the carrier strike group, intelligence gathering, and anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare. Suffren-type SSNs will add a land-attack cruise missile capability and will be optimized for the deployment of special forces.
With the Suffren, France is starting to renew its fleet of SSNs, which entered service in the 1980s, and will thus have modern submarines among the most efficient in the world.
With this first outing at sea, the Barracuda program crosses a major milestone after the launch of Suffren, on July 12, 2019, by the President of the Republic.
Over the past eight months, the program’s industrial and state teams have successfully conducted all of the Suffren’s dockside tests aimed at verifying the proper functioning of its various systems and equipment. Three prerequisites have been validated: the combat system has reached the end of its tests on land and is ready for the continuation of assessments at sea; the nuclear reactor was started at the end of 2019 after loading its fuel and, finally, in January 2020 the submarine was floated to validate the first waterproofness tests.
Started in the English Channel, these sea trials will later take the Suffren to the Atlantic and finally to the Mediterranean. Under the supervision of engineers and technicians from the DGA, the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA), Naval Group and TechnicAtome, they will be carried out by submariners of the French Navy who will gradually check all of the boat’s technical and operational capabilities.
They are due to last several months until her delivery scheduled for later this year. During the entire phase of sea trials, the boat remains the property of Naval Group. She is placed under the responsibility of the French Navy for operational command and as a delegated nuclear operator. As the contracting authority for the Barracuda program, the DGA is responsible for testing up to the acceptance of the boat and her delivery to the French Navy.
The DGA worked with the CEA, the French Navy and industrial prime contractors to allow the program to continue under specific health conditions. Since March 16, the business continuity plan for the Cherbourg site and the Barracuda program takes into account all measures to ensure the health and safety of personnel.
In particular, all personnel on board for sea trials have been placed in preventive quarantine, and have been tested negative for COVID-19. On board, wearing a mask will be mandatory at all times and the rules of hygiene and disinfection will be strictly applied.
Airbus Helicopters and the French Armament General Directorate (DGA) are pursuing a new set of studies to further the militarisation of the H160 and to define its associated support ecosystem in the frame of the Joint Light Helicopter program (Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger: HIL) This contract launches pre-development activities for the military version of the H160, also called the Guépard by the French armed forces, in order to meet the delivery schedule that was brought forward in May 2019 by the French Minister of Armed Forces, Florence Parly.
The new set of studies will also focus on defining the optimal set-up for supporting the tri-service H160M fleet. Airbus Helicopters, Safran Helicopter Engines, and the DGA will work closely together in order to maximize the availability rate of the helicopters, as well as optimizing the cost of supporting the fleet.
«Launching this collaborative work between Industry and the Ministry of the Armed Forces in order to define the support framework for the Guépard and the associated processes, as early as the pre-development phase, is essential. The output will provide us with all the levers necessary to ensure a high level of availability at the H160M’s entry into service in the French armed forces», said Alexandra Cros, Vice President and Head of Governmental Affairs France at Airbus Helicopters. «The studies build upon the work and commitments taken recently in the global support contracts for the Cougar, Caracal, and Tiger fleets of the French armed forces».
The H160 was designed to be a modular helicopter, enabling its military version, with a single platform, to perform missions ranging from commando infiltration to air intercept, fire support, and anti-ship warfare in order to meet the needs of the army, the navy and the air force through the HIL programme. Bringing the launch of the HIL programme forward to 2021 will enable first deliveries to the French armed forces in 2026.
On 30 December 2019 the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) ordered the Archange airborne strategic intelligence program, comprising three Dassault Aviation Falcon 8X aircraft equipped with the Thales new-generation payload CUGE (universal electronic warfare capability). A contract has been awarded for the first two aircraft.
Dassault Aviation and the dozens of French companies associated with the Falcon programs wish to thank the Ministry of the Armed Forces, the DGA and the French Air Force for their confidence.
The required level of performance of the Archange Falcons necessitates highly complex integration work, something that is at the core of Dassault Aviation and Thales know-how.
«I am very proud and happy with the decision of the Ministry of the Armed Forces. The Archange Falcon will serve the French forces in the same way as the Falcons 10, 200, 50, 2000, 900 and 7X are already doing it», declared Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation. «The special mission Falcons provide the perfect illustration of the dual competences of Dassault Aviation: our civil aircraft benefit from the cutting-edge technologies developed for our combat aircraft, which in return benefit from the industrial processes deployed for the highly competitive production of the Falcon aircraft».
The tri-jet Falcon 8X is the latest addition to the Falcon range. The business jet version can carry 8 passengers and 3 crew members over a distance of 6,450 NM/7,456 miles/12,000 km. It has digital flight controls which stem directly from Dassault Aviation’s experience acquired with the Mirage 2000 and Rafale. It is equipped with enhanced avionics system (EASY) digital flight deck and the totally unrivalled FalconEye combined vision system (CVS).
Exported to more than 90 countries, the Falcon aircraft are flexible and economic to fly. Their handling qualities, aerodynamics and versatility render them capable of fulfilling missions that go beyond civil aviation standards. They are designed by the design office that also develops the Rafale and nEUROn combat aircraft. Over the last 50 years, Dassault Aviation has customized many Falcons for purposes such as medical evacuation, cargo transport, maritime surveillance, electronic warfare, etc. These multirole aircraft represent about 10% of the Falcon fleet in service across the world.
December 03, 2019, at the Maritime Economy Symposium in Montpellier, the President of the French Republic announced the order of six new patrol boats for France’s overseas dependencies.
In accordance with the strategic goals of the 2019-2025 military program law, this order reinforces the protection of our maritime territories, and advances the renewal of this capability by two years.
In a context of increasing threats to fishing resources, biodiversity and international rules of the law of the sea, France intends to fully exercise its sovereignty and responsibilities in France and in its overseas dependencies.
This announcement follows the Ministerial Investment Committee of November 19, 2019, when Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly decided to launch the Patrouilleur d’Outre Mer (Overseas Patrol Vessel) program, managed by the Direction générale de l’armement (DGA – Directorate-General of Armaments).
That is why the renewal of naval assets for the surveillance of our overseas maritime territories, which began with the delivery of the three patrol vessels for the Antilles and Guiana between 2017 and 2019, continues today with this latest order, which will allow the replacement of the obsolete patrol vessels deployed in New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Reunion Island between 2022 and 2025.
Designed with extensive capabilities – and equipped in particular with an aerial drone – these overseas patrol boats will carry out missions of sovereignty and protection in the France’s Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), intervention against marine pollution and in favor of the environment, as well as rescue and assistance.
Thus, between 2017 and 2025, all the patrol vessels stationed overseas will have been renewed.
CERBERE (Capacité Expérimentale ROEM pour Ballons et Aérostats Légers – Experimental SIGINT Capability for Balloons and Light Aerostats), an airborne demonstrator measuring the electromagnetic environment, has been tested by the Direction générale de l’armement (Directorate General of Armament, DGA) near Lorient (Morbihan).
The collection of electromagnetic intelligence is essential to control the information and the knowledge of the adversary. On foreign theaters of operations, the armed forces are confronted with an increased density of electromagnetic emissions, due in particular to the development of telecommunications. They must therefore have optimized and innovative means of detection and localization.
In this perspective, fitting a SIGINT (SIGnals INTelligence) system on a light balloon offers two advantages. Placed at altitude, electromagnetic sensors are less constrained by the effects of terrain- masking (trees, buildings and the roundness of the Earth). They thus gain in detection capabilities. A balloon also offers a very long endurance at altitude, at a lower cost than a fleet of aircraft or drones.
Proving the feasibility of such a system is the challenge of the CERBERE experimental study. After a development phase, an essential step was taken in the summer of 2019 with the flight of the CERBERE demonstrator in the skies of Brittany. These tests were made possible thanks to the help of the Navy.
The test campaign was conducted by engineers and technicians from DGA’s Center of Expertise and Testing, with the industrial support of Ineo Défense and ONERA. The flights took place over two weeks over a training site near the ocean, and were conducted by naval and army personnel.
The objective of the tests was to evaluate the demonstrator’s performance by playing scenarios representative of the operational reality, whether the environment is maritime or terrestrial. Different simulated targets specifically implemented for the experiment were detected, located and identified.
The results of the CERBERE study will be taken into account to guide the future intelligence and electronic warfare programs run by the DGA for the benefit of the armed forces.
CERBERE (Capacité Expérimentale ROEM pour Ballons et Aérostats Légers – Experimental SIGINT Capability for Balloons and Light Aerostats)
The steel-cutting ceremony of the first Defence and Intervention Frigate (FDI) took place on the Naval Group site of Lorient. The ceremony was led in the presence of the Minister for Armed Forces, Florence Parly, the Head of the French Armament Directorate (DGA) Délégué général pour l’Armement, Joël Barre, the Chief of Staff of the French Navy Christophe Prazuck, the Chief of the Hellenic Navy Nikolaos Tsounis, many French officials and foreign delegations as well as Naval Group CEO, Hervé Guillou. The First of class will be delivered in 2023 and is part of a series of five vessels.
Sylvain Perrier, Naval Group Director of the FDI program declared during this event: «Today, after the successful completion of the initial studies and development phases, we are proud, to reach this first industrial milestone. This ceremony is the first for this major program for which, the DGA will be in charge of prime contract management to the benefit of the French Navy. Thanks to this program, Naval Group will also keep on developing its international exposure. This program will increase to fifteen the number of first-rank frigates of the French Navy, as planned in the French Military Spending Plan (LPM). We were able to uphold our commitment thanks to the collaborative work model we adopted with our client and to the mobilisation of state and industrial actors».
A digital multi-mission 4,500 tons-class frigate
The FDI is a high sea vessel with a 4,500 tons class displacement. Multipurpose and resilient, she is capable of operating, alone or within a naval force, through all of types of warfare: anti-surface, anti-air, anti-submarine and allows for special forces projection.
Strongly armed (Exocet MM40 B3C anti-surface missiles, Aster 15/30 anti-air missiles, MU90 antisubmarine torpedoes, artillery), the FDI is able to embark simultaneously a helicopter and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). She can also receive a Special Forces detachment with their two commando boats.
The FDI will be the first French frigate natively protected against cyber threats, with a Data Centre accommodating a great part of the ship applications. The FDI introduces the concept of a dedicated system for asymmetric threats warfare, distinct from the operation room. Located behind the bridge, it will lead asymmetrical warfare against air and surface threats such as mini-UAVs or tricked boats. The FDIwhich gathers the best of French technology in a compact platform. She is a powerful and innovative frigate, designed for facing evolving threats.
The design and production of the FDI build on the experience of the FREMM program: Naval Group benefits from the operational feedback given by the French Navy.
Displacement: 4,500 tons class;
Length: 122 meters/400 feet;
Beam: 18 meters/59 feet;
Maximum speed: 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h;
Autonomy: 45 days;
Accomodation: 125 + 28 passengers.
A large-scale industrial collaboration that particularly mobilises the Naval Group site of Lorient
Five defence and intervention frigates (FDI) have been ordered in April 2017 by the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) to the benefit of the French Navy.
The build of the first of class represents around one million hours of work for the teams of the Naval Group’ site of Lorient. Furthermore, it contributes to the economic development of its suppliers and subcontractors, to local employment around Lorient but also to the other Naval Group sites that brought their specific know-how to the program. The conception and development studies also represent around one million hours of work for the entire series.
Industrial key figures:
A 100% digital conception – zero paper plans;
1 million hours of production work for each unit of the series on the Naval Group’ site of Lorient;
1 million hours of conception and development for the program;
20 km/12.4 miles of tubes and 300 km/186.4 miles of cables for each FDI.
Many export opportunities
The future frigate targets the intermediary tonnage ships segment for which there is an international demand. Thanks to its modularity, the ship can be configured to fulfil diverse missions depending on the expressed needs. Thus, with on the one hand the Gowind 2,500-tonnes corvette, on the other hand the 6,000-tonnes FREMM and now the FDI, Naval Group proposes a complete offer for strongly armed military ships.
A Letter of Intention was signed on the 10th of October 2019 by the Greek Minister of Defence, Nicolaos Panagiotopoulos and the French Minister for Armed Forces, Florence Parly. This announcement is in line with the strategic cooperation between the two countries and will allow a close dialogue in order to bring the best answer to the needs of the Hellenic Navy.
On July 12 2019, during a ceremony presided over by the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron, Naval Group launched the Suffren, the first of six nuclear submarines of the latest generation in Cherbourg. This event is a key step for the Barracuda program for the benefit of the French Navy.
Hervé Guillou, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Naval Group, said: «We are proud to have presented to the President of the French Republic the first submarine of the Barracuda-class, a symbol of our exceptional know-how and our ability to master the most advanced technologies and the most complex products. The construction of the Suffren is a collective success, the result of a strong cooperation with our long-standing partners: the French Navy and the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA), but also the Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA), TechnicAtome and all the manufacturers of the sector. Now, we are all focused on finalising the Suffren tests at the shipyard, with the start-up of the nuclear boiler room in the coming weeks, but also on producing the complete series. Maintaining our knowledge and adapting to new technologies are among our main priorities».
Vincent Martinot-Lagarde, Director of the Barracuda program at Naval Group, also commented: «To successfully complete this extraordinary project, several thousand women and men worked together, driven by the same values of team spirit and technical excellence. Today, on the occasion of this exceptional ceremony, we are very proud to present our work, which is the result of the extraordinary diversity of our skills».
Naval Group’s know-how and technological expertise
The Suffren is the first of the Barracuda-class series, designed to replace the Rubis-class generation. Naval Group is in charge of the construction of this submarines series, including the design and construction of the ship and information systems as well as the manufacturing of the main components of nuclear boiler rooms.
Naval Group is the overall prime contractor of the ship’s architecture (2 500 people) and TechnicAtome is the prime contractor for the nuclear reactor. The French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) is in charge of the overall program, with the Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA) for the nuclear reactor.
With this program, Naval Group irrigates the French industry with more than 10,000 people and 800 companies involved
All the skills within the group are called upon to design and produce the Suffren and the following of the Barracuda series. All Naval Group sites are simultaneously mobilised. Nantes-Indret, Angoulême-Ruelle, Brest and Lorient design and produce different systems and modules. The Ollioules site is responsible for the design and production of the combat system. The entire program is managed from Cherbourg, where the submarines are assembled and tested.
The Toulon site will be in charge of the maintenance of the Suffren and gradually that of the entire series. The in-service support was taken into account from the submarine’s design stage to limit the number and duration of interventions, thus optimising the availability of the Barracuda-class at sea.
The Suffren: a technology and capacity leap
The Suffren is one of the stealthiest submarines over the world. This discretion, combined with its advanced detection capabilities, guarantees its acoustic superiority.
For the first time thanks to the Suffren-class submarines, the French Navy will have a deep strike capability with MBDA’s naval cruise missiles (MdCN). The latest generation of SSN also allows the discreet deployment of special forces underwater, in particular thanks to its «divers hatch» and the optional carrying of a dry deck shelter allowing for the deployment of underwater vehicles.
More discreet, manoeuvrable and mobile, the Suffren has the latest generation of systems, including a centralised and more automated driving.
The technical characteristics of the Suffren-class submarines
On July 04, 2019, the Directorate-General for Armaments (DGA) took delivery of the «Garonne» (A605), the fourth and final vessel in the Metropolitan Support and Assistance Vessels (BSAM) program, ordered from the Kership group of companies (Chantiers Piriou and Naval Group). This new Navy vessel will be based in Brest.
This new ship reinforces and modernizes the capabilities of the French Navy. An extremely versatile ship design, the BSAM is designed to carry out three types of missions: the support of naval forces (towing of large-tonnage ships; accompaniment and support of submarines; and training of the forces), maritime security (rescue at sea, assistance to ships in distress, fight against maritime pollution, etc.) and regional support activities (towing machinery, anchoring and maintenance of mooring boxes, lifting of wrecks …).
The first BSAM, the «Loire» (A602), operates from Toulon and the second one in the series, «Rhone» (A603), operates from Brest. The third ship, the «Seine» (A604), which will be admitted to active service in July, after its long-term shakedown cruise that ran from March 25 to June 25, will be based in Toulon.