The First Steel Cutting ceremony for the twelfth FREMM (the tenth Italian frigate) took place on 12 October at Fincantieri integrated shipyard in Riva Trigoso (Genoa).
On the one hand, the event officially represents the beginning of production phase for a new ship, on the other, as the tenth frigate complete the batch for the Italian Navy, the conclusion of a path started in the 2008 with the first steel cutting of ITS Bergamini (F590).
Today, at the ceremony were present the FREMM Programme Manager – Mr. Luigi Durante, the Naval Armament Directorate (NAVARM) Representative – Captain Gianni Labori and the Industrial representatives.
The delivery of the twelfth FREMM is planned in late 2025, only six months after the eleventh Frigate.
The last two Italian units will be realized in the General Purpose (GP) version, with an updated release of several systems giving the Italian Navy the opportunity to have frigates at the state of the art in order to fulfil a wide range of missions.
According to information published by the Egyptian Ministry of Defense on April 14, 2021, ENS Bernees (FFG-1003), FREMM Carlo Bergamini-class, constructed by Italian company Fincantieri arrived at the Alexandria Naval Base to join the Egyptian Navy’s fleet.
According to Navy Recognition, ENS Bernees (FFG-1003) was originally constructed as the Carlo Bergamini-class Emilio Bianchi before being acquired by Egyptian Navy and being renamed.
The «Emilio Bianchi» vessel, like the other units, features a high degree of flexibility, capable of operating in all tactical situations. 144 meters/472.4 feet long with a beam of 19.7 meters/64.6 feet, the ship has a displacement at a full load of approximately 6,700 tones. The vessel has a maximum speed of over 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h and has a maximum accommodation capacity for a 200-person crew.
The FREMM is a class of multi-purpose frigates designed by French company Naval Group and Fincantieri from Italy for the navies of France and Italy. The FREMM program consists of the construction of 18 ships: 8 for France, 10 for Italy. The first FREMM was delivered in 2012 and the objective of contractual delivery is 2022 for the whole 18 frigates.
The Italian FREMM is also being developed in two designs: Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and General Purpose (armed with DCNS Sylver A-50 Vertical Launching System/VLS), with the possibility to perform a wide range of operational missions. The Italian versions also operate with a reduced crew thanks to Human Factors optimizations and a high level of automation with 2 helicopters (with two crews), a federated Combat Management System, and a higher level of maintainers embarked to ensure greater flexibility.
MBDA will provide the Italian Navy with the new Teseo Evolved Weapon System, namely Teseo Mk2/E. This new generation system builds on the legacy Teseo family, known worldwide as OTOMAT, and will bring a substantial improvement in anti-ship capabilities. Teseo Mk2/E will efficiently engage both sea and land targets at very long range, with full mission control throughout the missile flight. The system will have an innovative integrated mission planning and a new RF seeker, with options for additional features and capabilities in the future.
Teseo Mk2/E is the answer to evolving threats that generate the need to evolve operational requirements. This solution is the result of joint MBDA and Italian Navy technical and programme activities over the past three years that matured the concept of this advanced system.
The Teseo Mk2/E missile system will equip the next generation destroyer (DDX) and could replace the previous Mk2/A version onboard FREMM and Horizon class frigates. The new multi-purpose Offshore Patrol Vessels (PPA – Pattugliatori Polivalenti d’Altura), currently in production, are already fit for Teseo Mk2/E installation in future. In the anti-ship weapon market Teseo Mk2/E will represent a new standard with its very high performance, and will be ready to be tailored for international requirements.
Eric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, declared: «I want here to give a special thanks to Italian Navy, governmental and all MBDA teams who worked hard, also against all disruptions created by the pandemic, to bring this important contract to life. MBDA Group considers Teseo Mk2/E as a major programme and will be fully committed to the successful outcome of this new development. The new Teseo Mk2/E builds on a product line that is well recognised around the world and will support long into the future, the attractiveness of our naval products on export markets».
Lorenzo Mariani, Executive Group Director Sales and Business Development and Managing Director MBDA Italia, declared: «The Teseo Mk2/E has been defined and designed thanks to an intense collaboration between the Italian Navy and MBDA. This new anti-ship missile will mark a step change in the OTOMAT/Teseo family, keep up with ever evolving threats and feature advanced functions to support the Italian Navy operations that will significantly increase the flexibility and operational value of the Italian Navy surface ships that will be equipped with it. This contract will also help sustain high level skills in a domain of excellence of the Italian defence industry and will contribute to guarantee the sustainability of our company and its suppliers, as well as its Italian employment levels in the years to come».
FS Normandie (D651), the sixth European multi-mission frigate (FREMM) of the eight ordered by the French Navy, was admitted to active service by the Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Christophe Prazuck, on June 3, 2020.
Built in Lorient, the FS Normandie (D651) started her sea trials in February 2019. She was handed over to the French Navy on July 16, 2019, a few weeks after sailing to her home port of Brest.
In mid-December, FS Normandie (D651) left Brest to begin her long-term deployment (DLD). During this deployment, she participated in numerous exercises with the Allied navies: cross exercises and C2X operational preparation by integrating the Carrier Strike Group 10 (CSG 10) of the US 2nd Fleet and participating in Exercise TG20 in Norway involving the NATO forces of the Standing NATO maritime group one (SNMG1).
She also tested the Link 22, the new secure and ruggedized standard for exchanging tactical information between military units. Concluding her long-term cruise in March 2020, FS Normandie joined the carrier strike group for the «Foch 2020 mission».
Admitted today to active service, FS Normandie (D651) has become part of the naval action force. Her name honors the memory of all those who died in June 1944 on the Normandy beaches, sacrificing their lives for the benefit of freedom. Her pennant brings to life the Viking spirit, that of the people who came by drakkar to conquer the Normandy region, and which encourages sailors to go forward together, as a crew.
The launching ceremony of the ITS Emilio Bianchi (F-589) frigate, the tenth and last FREMM vessel – Multi Mission European Frigates, took place on January 25, 2020 at the integrated shipyard of Riva Trigoso (Genoa) in the presence of the Italian Minister of Defence, Lorenzo Guerini. The 10 vessels have been commissioned to Fincantieri by the Italian Navy within the framework of an Italo-French cooperation program under the coordination of OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Cooperation sur l’Armement, the international organization for cooperation on arms).
Godmother of the ceremony was Mrs. Maria Elisabetta Bianchi, first daughter of Emilio Bianchi, Golden Medal for Military Value.
For Fincantieri the President Giampiero Massolo welcome, on behalf of the Chief of Defence, General Enzo Vecciarelli, the Chief of Staff of the Italian Navy, Admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone, the Governor of the Liguria Region Giovanni Toti, in addition to a number of authorities.
After the launching, fitting activities will continue in the integrated naval shipyard of Muggiano (La Spezia), with delivery scheduled in 2021. The ITS Emilio Bianchi (F-589) vessel, like the other units, will feature a high degree of flexibility, capable of operating in all tactical situations. 472.4 feet/144 metres long with a beam of 64.6 feet/19.7 metres, the ship will have a displacement at full load of approximately 6,700 tonnes. The vessel will have a maximum speed of over 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h and will have a maximum accommodation capacity for a 200-person crew.
The FREMM program, representing the European and Italian defence state of the art, stems from the renewal need of the Italian Navy line «Lupo» (already removed) and «Maestrale» (some of them already decommissioned, the remaining close to the attainment of operational limit) class frigates, both built by Fincantieri in the 1970s.
The vessels ITS Carlo Bergamini (F-590) and ITS Virginio Fasan (F-591) have been delivered in 2013, the ITS Carlo Margottini (F-592) in 2014, the ITS Carabiniere (F-593) in 2015, the ITS Alpino (F-594) in 2016, the ITS Luigi Rizzo (F-595) in 2017, the ITS Federico Martinengo (F-596) in 2018, and the ITS Antonio Marceglia (F-597) in 2019. The Italian program has been fully implemented with the option exercised in April 2015, regarding the construction of the ninth and tenth vessel, whose delivery is scheduled after 2020. Orizzonte Sistemi Navali (51% Fincantieri, 49% Leonardo) acts as prime contractor for Italy in the initiative, while Armaris (Naval Group + Thales) is prime contractor for France.
This cooperation has applied the positive experience gained in the previous Italo-French program «Orizzonte» that has led to the construction for the Italian Navy of the two frigates «Andrea Doria» and «Caio Duilio».
Head of the 3rd Palombaro Class Emilio Bianchi – Golden Medal for Military Value
He was born in Sondalo (Sondrio) on the 22nd October 1912. Volunteer for the Royal Navy since March 1932 and designated to the Palombari category, he attended the specialization course at the Varignano (La Spezia) C.R.E.M. school and at the end he boarded the hydrographic ship Admiral Magnaghi, on which he made two hydrographic cruises in the Aegean and the Red Sea.
In 1934, he embarked on the Fiume cruiser, where he was promoted to petty officer, and in 1936 he was assigned to the 1st Submarine Group of La Spezia. After the promotion to sergeant in 1937, he moved on the 1st MAS fleet, starting the training to become an underwater assault ships operator.
During the war he participated, as 2nd Chief, in the two attempts to force the English base in Gibraltar (October and November 1940), then in the audacious forcing of the base in Alexandria as 2nd operator of the SLC («maiale») n. 221 led by vessel commander Luigi Durand de La Penne. He departed from the Sciré submarine in the night of December 18, and after overcoming the barriers, he entered the port with the chief operator taking his explosive craft under the keel of the English battleship Valiant. It sank after the explosion at dawn on December 19. Due to the hard effort he made during the 5-hour diving, he was struck by oxygen intoxication during the journey, and forced to come back to the surface. He was spotted by the watchmen and, together with his commander, confined in separate cabins below the waterline. Saved by chance after the burst of the mine, which caused the sinking of the ship, he was taken to a prison camp and repatriated at the end of the war. He was promoted to Head of 3rd and 2nd Class in 1954 for war credits, and to Head of 1st Palombaro Class.
As officer of the C.E.M.M., he then served at the Varignano Diving Center, at the Nucleo Sminamento of Genoa and in the end at the Naval Academy of Livorno, ending his career as lieutenant commander.
The Directorate-General of Armaments (DGA) on July 16, 2019 took delivery of «Normandie» (D651), the sixth multi-mission frigate (FREMM) for the French Navy. Versatile warships with exceptional performances in anti-submarine warfare and strike capability that is unique in Europe, the FREMMs are the backbone of the French Navy’s surface fleet.
The FREMM program is managed by the Joint Organization for Cooperation on Armament Programs (OCCAR), in cooperation with Italy. It is involved in the modernization of the Navy and the renewal of its frigate component with eight vessels that will form the backbone of the surface fleet.
As project owner for France, the DGA has completed the tests to verify the smooth operation of Normandie (D651) and its compliance with expected performance, in partnership with the Navy and industry. OCCAR authorized the delivery, allowing DGA to hand the ship over to the French Navy.
FREMM, designed and developed by Naval Group, is a stealthy, versatile, enduring and versatile ship with an advanced degree of automation. Her main missions are the control of a zone of maritime operation, on the surface and under the sea, in-depth precision strike with the naval cruise missile (MdCN) that it is the only navy in Europe to operate, and support for projection operations.
She is also capable of operating the Caiman Marine (NFH90), a multi-role shipborne helicopter, with a particularly developed anti-submarine capability. The FREMM-Caiman combination represents a capability jump in the field of anti-submarine warfare. The FREMM is also equipped with the Ecume, the new tactical boat for marine commandos.
The first six frigates are predominantly equipped for anti-submarine warfare missions, while the next two – Alsace (D656) and Aquitaine (D657) – will have air-defense as their primary mission.
The military program law 2019-2025 provides for the delivery to the French navy of these last two frigates in 2021 and 2022.
142 metres/466 feet
20 metres/65.6 feet
27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h
123 persons (among whom 14 dedicated to the helicopter detachment)
Naval Group is extremely honored to host the French Minister for the Armed Forces, Florence Parly. This celebration marks not only the end of work on the six multi-mission frigates, but also the beginning of the manufacturing of the FREMM frigates with reinforced air defence capabilities and of the Defence and Intervention Frigate (FDI), the first fully digital warships.
Hervé Guillou, CEO of Naval Group, and Admiral Christophe Prazuck, Chief of Staff of the French Navy, hosted the Minister for the Armed Forces on board the Normandie (D651) frigate for a visit. This warship was delivered in a record time of 40 months, the shortest completion time of the whole multi-mission frigates program.
Florence Parly and Hervé Guillou had the opportunity to discuss the ongoing and future surface ships programs built in Lorient: FREMM, FDI and aircraft carriers.
Hervé Guillou claimed: «We are proud to meet the expectations set by the Military Programming Law. Today, with the completion of the FREMM Normandie, Naval Group has fulfilled its commitment. This industrial and technical success, which represents more than 2.5 million working hours, encourages us to keep on completing our mission in service of our national and international clients. This project shows once again the firm’s capacity to respect its engagements in terms of costs, deadlines and performance».
The Normandie (D651) is the sixth French multi-mission FREMM frigate. It will soon be delivered in Brest. This program is managed by the OCCAR (Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation) on behalf of – in France – the French Navy and of the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA).
At the same time the construction of two multi-mission frigates with renewed anti-air defence capacities – the Alsace (D656) and the Lorraine (D657) – will begin in Lorient. They will be respectively delivered in 2021 and 2022.
Furthermore, Naval Group teams are already launching the program for defence and intervention frigates (FDI) that will be delivered from 2023 onward. This first «fully digital» warship will benefit from the latest digital technologies. The first cut of steel-sheets is expected in October 2019.
FREMM frigates technical characteristics
Heavily armed, the Normandie FREMM deploys the most effective equipment and weapon systems, integrating the SETIS software as well as the Herakles multi-function radar, the Naval Cruise Missile (NCM), the Aster and Exocet MM40 missiles and MU 90 torpedoes.
142 metres/466 feet
20 metres/65.6 feet
27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h
123 persons (among whom 14 dedicated to the helicopter detachment)
On the 18th April 2019, Naval Group launched the multi-missions FREMM frigate FNS Alsace (D656). First one of the two air defense frigates of the FREMM program (FREMM DA) destined to the French Navy and benefitting from the same antisubmarine warfare performances than the preceding units, the FNS Alsace (D656) benefits from increased capacities in terms of air defense.
Thirteen months after the keel laying of the first block, the FREMM DA Alsace is released from the construction form of the Naval Group site of Lorient. Ninth multi-missions FREMM frigate, it is also the seventh one for the French Navy, ordered by the OCCAR on behalf of the Direction générale de l’armement (DGA).
In order to answer the operational requirements, the Alsace FREMM integrates the last evolutions ordered by the Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’Armement (OCCAR), according to an unchanged delivery planning. «The essential of the architecture of the first FREMM designed by Naval Group is conserved but its polyvalence will be increased by enhanced capacities in terms of anti-aerial warfare. These modifications particularly concern the combat system», says Pierre-Jean Cuisinier, director of the FREMM DA program.
The technical adaptations brought by Naval Group are notably translated into a more powerful multifunction radar, reinforced communication tools, three additional consoles for the Combat Management System SETIS in the Combat Information Center (CIC), with enhanced air defense capacities using the Aster 15 and 30 missiles. In a few days, the FREMM Alsace will also receive its new mast, opitmised in order to increase the detection performances.
«This ninth launching is scoring the collaboration between Naval Group, the DGA, the OCCAR and the French Navy in order to produce ships benefitting from the continuous enhancement of the already produced FREMM. Thanks to the good master of the technological risks but also to the determination and the know-how of the group’s teams, it is a new successful challenge», explains Nicolas Gaspard, director of the FREMM programs.
In addition to the ensuring the same anti-submarine warfare missions than the previous FREMM, the FREMM DA Alsace will have the role of ensuring the air defense of major units: the Charles de Gaulle aircraft-carrier or an amphibious helicopter-carrier, within an aero-naval or amphibious group.
The Naval Group teams and its numerous partners are mobilized in order to deliver the two anti-air defense frigates Alsace and Lorraine, respectively on the first semester 2021 and on the second semester 2022.
Seven FREMM have been delivered between 2012 and 2018. The FNS Aquitaine (D650) in 2012, the FNS Provence (D652) in 2015, the FNS Languedoc (D653) in 2016, the FNS Auvergne (D654) in April 2017 and the FNS Bretagne (D655) in July 2018.
On the international side, Morocco received the Mohammed VI (701) in 2014 and Egypt the Tahya Misr (FFG-1001) in 2015. The FNS Normandie (D651) will be delivered in summer 2019 in conformity with the contractual planning.
Technical caracteristics of the air defense FREMM
Strongly armed, the FREMM DA Alsace use the most performant weapon systems and equipment so as: the multifunction Herakles radar, the Aster 15 and 30 and Excocet MM 40 missiles or even the MU 90 torpedo. The performances of its combat system are reinforced with increased radar and communication capacities, a new radar and electro-optical fire-lead, and a Combat Management System SETIS equipped with specific anti-air defense functions.
The frigate «Antonio Marceglia» (F-597) was delivered on April 16, 2019 to the Italian Navy at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Muggiano (La Spezia). It is the eighth of a series of 10 vessels of the FREMM program – Multi Mission European Frigates – commissioned to Fincantieri as part of the international Italian-French program, coordinated by OCCAR (the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation). Orizzonte Sistemi Navali (51% Fincantieri and 49% Leonardo) is the prime contractor for Italy in the FREMM program, which envisions the construction of 10 units, all already ordered.
«Antonio Marceglia» (F-597) is the eighth unit built by Fincantieri that includes the combat system, the fourth in multipurpose configuration after the «Carlo Bergamini» (F-590), the «Luigi Rizzo» (F-595) and the «Federico Martinengo» (F-596), delivered to the Italian Navy respectively in 2013, 2017 and 2018. Measuring 472.4 feet/144 meters of length and with a displacement at full load of approximately 6,700 tons, the FREMM frigates represent technological excellence: designed to reach a maximum speed of 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h and to provide accommodation for 200 people (crew and staff), these vessels are able to always guarantee a high degree of flexibility and to operate in a wide range of scenarios and tactical situations.
The FREMM program, representing the Italian and European defence state of the art, stems from the renewal need of the Italian Navy «Lupo» class (already decommissioned) and «Maestrale» class (some of them already decommissioned, the remaining close to the attainment of operational limit) frigates, both built by Fincantieri starting from the 1970s.
These units – which will become the backbone of the naval fleet over the next decades –significantly contribute to the development of the tasks assigned to the Italian Navy, being able to operate in various sectors, from specific military purposes to those in favor of the community.
Fifth in a class of eight ships, the multi-mission frigate (FREMM) FNS Bretagne (D655) has just been admitted to active service by the Chief of the Naval Staff (CEMM), Admiral Christophe Prazuck, the French Navy Chief of Staff. This decision marks the integration of this ultra-modern ship into the operational cycle.
Built in Lorient, FNS Bretagne (D655) carried out her first sea trials before sailing to Brest, her home port, on May 14, 2018. She was officially handed over on July 18.
On August 30, FNS Bretagne (D655) left Brest to begin its Long-Term Deployment (LTP). This is the first mission of a new warship which, deployed for several months, is tested in extreme conditions in order to face its future missions. During this deployment, FNS Bretagne (D655) took part in many exercises with Allied navies: anti-submarine exercises off the United States coast and participation in the NATO exercise Trident Juncture off the coast of Norway are just two examples.
After three months of navigation in the North Atlantic, FNS Bretagne (D655) returned to her home-port in Brest at the end of 2018. Today admitted to active service, she joins the Navy’s surface fleet and is preparing to begin full-scale operations. FNS Bretagne (D655) is the second FREMM of the Western fleet, after her sister-ship FNS Aquitaine (D650).
In 2030, the Navy will have fifteen first-rate frigates including 8 FREMM, 2 FDA and 5 FDI. FREMM Bretagne is the fifth in a series of eight, after FNS Aquitaine (D650), FNS Provence (D652), FNS Languedoc (D653) and FNS Auvergne (D654). She will be followed, between 2019 and 2023, by FNS Normandy (D651), FNS Alsace (D656) and FNS Lorraine (D657).
The last two FREMMs will have enhanced air defense capabilities and will be known as FREMM DA, for Défense-Aérienne.
New generation stealth ships, versatile, enduring and flexible, equipped with advanced automatisms and a crew with optimized manpower, the FREMM are intended for missions including the security of the oceanic strategic force; in-depth precision land strike with naval cruise missile (MdCN); anti-ship, anti-submarine and anti-aircraft combat; the projection of commandos; the protection and escort of a naval air force, or general naval missions.