Tag Archives: Naval Group

12 minehunters

On May 22, 2019, the Belgium Naval & Robotics consortium, composed of Naval Group and ECA Group, was awarded the contract to supply twelve mine-hunting vessels to the Belgian and Dutch navies. Equipped with around 100 drones, constituting approximately ten drone systems (toolboxes), six ships are destined for the Belgian Navy, while the other six will be delivered to the Dutch Navy.

An artist’s impression of the future minehunters jointly ordered for the Belgian and Dutch navies from France’s Belgium Naval & Robotics consortium at a cost of €2 billion. Each navy will operate six ships with UAVs and UUVs (NG image)

The contract, worth nearly two billion euros, will last ten years. After a three-year design phase, Belgium Naval & Robotics will launch the production phase of the ships and drone systems with a first delivery expected in 2024.

The Belgium Naval & Robotics consortium as well as the Naval Group and ECA Group teams are honored by the confidence of the Belgian and Dutch navies and look forward to this upcoming collaboration.

 

An innovative solution for robotic mine warfare

Belgium Naval & Robotics, thanks to Naval Group’s recognized expertise, offers a 2800-ton militarized ship specialized in mine warfare with military characteristics (acoustic and electromagnetic discretion, shock resistance) perfectly adapted to the operational use targeted by the Belgian and Dutch navies. In particular, this vessel incorporates a launch and recovery system for ECA Group’s Inspector 125 Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USV). This innovative, robust and reliable system ensures the safety of operators and maneuvers to protect the ship, the USV and its payloads, while offering a high level of mission availability.

The drone systems on board these innovative vessels are the latest generation of drones developed by ECA Group over the past four years. They are integrated into the C2 MCM Umisoft system connected to the Naval Group’s I4drones system to form the mine-warfare mission system integrated into the ship’s combat system.

The solution includes A18-M Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV), T18-M towed sonars and Mine Identification & Destruction Systems (MIDS) composed of SEASCAN and KSTER-C Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV). All these drones can be operated autonomously from the USV Inspector 125. The drone system also includes Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and influence sweeps.

The program provides for the supply of drone systems that can also be projected. Containerized and equipped with handling and communication systems, mine-hunting drone systems can be airlifted and deployed directly from the coast without a ship.

 

A vast cooperation plan with the Belgian industry

Belgium Naval & Robotics will carry out a significant part of the contract in Belgium, in particular the production of certain equipment for the ship and all naval drones. Ship maintenance will be carried out in Zeebrugge in partnership with Flanders Ship Repair (FSR). The maintenance of naval drones will also be carried out in Zeebrugge according to the needs of the customer, who already has maintenance facilities on his naval base.

The cooperation plan already includes 39 Belgian partners and the notification of the contract will make it possible to finalize the last ones and reach some 50 agreements.

The contract should thus generate an average of 350 jobs per year in the three regions of Belgium.

 

A reference on export markets

The Belgian and Dutch navies being a reference in mine warfare within NATO, the choice of our consortium is a major asset for export.

The tripartite mine hunter program at the time had generated sales of self-propelled PAP robots in several dozen navies, as well as the export of mine-hunting vessels.

This new success in Belgium should generate many export trade benefits in the coming years. The drones for these customers will be produced by ECA Group in Belgium. Similarly, Naval Group expects a significant number of additional sales of mine-hunting vessels in the near future.

FREMM frigate

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.

Launching of the ninth FREMM frigate, the FNS Alsace (D656), the first frigate with reinforced air defense capacities
Launching of the ninth FREMM frigate, the FNS Alsace (D656), the first frigate with reinforced air defense capacities

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.

 

Characteristics

Overall length 466 feet/142 m
Bearn 65.6 feet/20 m
Displacement 6,000 tonnes
Speed 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h
Complement 119 (+ 14 for the helicopter crew)
Accommodation 165 men and women
Range at 15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h 6,000 nautical miles/6,905 miles/11,112 km

 

Mine Countermeasures

The contract for the construction and maintenance of twelve new mine countermeasures vessels has been awarded to the Naval Group/ECA Robotics consortium. These vessels, for both the Belgian and Dutch Navies, will be equipped with modular deployment drones. The two governments gave their agreement on March 15th. The European tender was managed by the Belgian Defense but both countries were part of the bid evaluation team.

Belgium and The Netherlands have selected the new minehunting system developed by Naval Group and ECA to replace their Tripartite-class minehunters; it will consist of mother ships operating unmanned surface and underwater vehicles (BN&RC image)
Belgium and The Netherlands have selected the new minehunting system developed by Naval Group and ECA to replace their Tripartite-class minehunters; it will consist of mother ships operating unmanned surface and underwater vehicles (BN&RC image)

In early 2018, the Belgian Minister of Defense and his Dutch counterpart signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly acquire a new minehunting capability so as to reduce the purchase and maintenance price per ship. The current ships are over thirty years old and will reach the end of their service life in 2023.

The future capability will use unmanned systems on the surface, above water level and under water to detect and neutralize mines. Thanks to this new method of work, the mothership and her crew will be able to stay out of the minefield because only drones will be active there.

Naval mines are relatively inexpensive and widely available weapons. They can easily prevent access to ports and waterways. An incident on the Scheldt or in the North Sea can represent a daily economic loss of fifty million euros. Ensuring the safety of waterways and ports is therefore crucial for our economy. Each week, our ships are engaged as they participate in international missions.

The Belgian Navy has been recognized for over 50 years for its expertise in the field of mine countermeasures. This modernization program will strengthen its position within NATO as an expert and pioneer in the field.

The new system will cost more than two billion euros. Our Navy is waiting for the first of its six ships in 2023. The first Dutch ship will be delivered a year later.

Future Submarine

A significant milestone has been achieved today with the signing of the Future Submarine Program Strategic Partnering Agreement (SPA) by the Commonwealth of Australia (CoA) and Naval Group.

Australia, France sign A$50 Bn contract for 12 submarines
Australia, France sign A$50 Bn contract for 12 submarines

The agreement was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, The Hon. Christopher Pyne, Minister for Defence and Florence Parly, French Minister for the Armed Forces.

The agreement sets out the principles of cooperation between the two partners for the Attack class Submarine Program which will see:

  • the delivery of 12 regionally superior submarines to Australia with leading edge capabilities;
  • the delivery of new technologies and advanced manufacturing capabilities to Australia, introducing the next phase of Australian sovereignty as a submarine nation;
  • the creation of thousands of direct and indirect Australian jobs which will positively impact many generations of Australians; and
  • opportunities and long-term planning certainty for industry, allowing Australian companies involved in the submarine program to invest in the capabilities needed to support their involvement in construction and sustainment activities.

«Naval Group is known for building world-leading, technologically advanced submarines and has built 100 of them for nine different countries», said Herve Guillou, Chairman and CEO, Naval Group. «This agreement with Australia will see Naval Group transfer the «know-how» and «know-why» to Australia to become a sovereign submarine nation. We are very excited about the opportunities that lay ahead of us and are committed to delivering the Future Submarine Program for Australia. We are grateful to the teams from the Commonwealth of Australia and Naval Group who have worked hard to achieve this agreement», said Mr. Guillou.

Since being selected as Australia’s partner for the Attack class Submarine Program in April 2016, a lot has been achieved.

 

Program milestones

Pre-sizing of the Future Submarine has been completed.

The Feasibility Study phase of the Future Submarine design contract being undertaken in France with the support of Australian engineers has been completed. This involves working closely with the Commonwealth to ensure the Future Submarine meets functionality, scheduling and cost requirements.

The first sod has been turned at the Future Submarine construction yard in Adelaide. Phase 1 of the onsite works will focus on site establishment, earth works and piling for the new facilities with the development to create at least 600 jobs.

The transfer of technology commenced with the relocation of the first group of Australian engineers to France to learn how to carry out the detailed design of the Future Submarines. The next group of engineers will depart for France in March 2019.

Officially opened the Future Submarine Program office in Cherbourg housing Naval Group personnel alongside their Defence and Lockheed Martin Australia colleagues.

Continued to work with education facilities, TAFEs and universities, having forged a collaborative engineering and research Memorandum of Understanding with the University of New South Wales.

Suppliers of the top five pieces of equipment including the main motor, diesel generators, switchboards, batteries and weapons discharge systems have been reviewed and will be announced in 2019.

 

Industry milestones

Continue to maximise the opportunities for Australian Industry involvement in the program, through all phases, without compromising the Commonwealths requirements against capability, cost and schedule.

To date Naval Group has engaged with over 1,100 Australian suppliers through expression of interests, requests for information, supplier visits and industry events to develop a in depth understanding of Australia Industry capability.

169 Australian suppliers have been pre-qualified for the program with Naval Group Australia.

Conducted numerous engagement activities in France and Australia to connect potential European and Australian suppliers.

Released Expressions of Interests and Requests for Information for major equipment and common technologies equipment for the Future Submarine.

Commenced efforts to procure capital equipment related to the Submarine Construction Yard including machining equipment, painting booths, a plate rolling machine, a plasma cutting machine, water jet cutting machine, rotating cradle and a milling machine.

Conducted nine Future Submarine industry briefings across the nation providing Australian companies information on how to become involved in the Future Submarine Program.

 

Naval Group Australia milestones

Established our headquarters in Keswick, Adelaide.

Expanded the Naval Group Australia team from 15 employees to over 100. By 2028-2029, when production is in full swing, we expect to employ 1,600 people.

Successfully became ISO 9001 certified.

Brazilian Scorpène

On December 14, 2018, the Brazilian Navy launched its first Brazilian-built Scorpène submarine, the Riachuelo. The ceremony took place at the Itaguaí Navy base in presence of the President of the Federal Republic of Brazil and of the elected President.

The first Brazilian Scorpène submarine
The first Brazilian Scorpène submarine

 

A strategic Brazilian-French partnership

In 2009, Naval Group was entrusted by the Brazilian Navy with designing and transferring the technology for four conventional Scorpène submarines, and for the design and manufacturing assistance for the non-nuclear part of Brazil’s first nuclear-powered submarine. The contract also included the support for the construction of a naval base and a shipyard in Brazil.

The Prosub program is a key extension of the strategic defence cooperation agreement signed in December 2008 in Rio de Janeiro.

The launching of the Scorpène Riachuelo in presence of the Brazilian head of state today demonstrates the success of this program, with both the successful completion of the first submarine and of the shipyard’s infrastructure. The latter is being built by a Brazilian company, Construtora Norberto Odebrecht (CNO), based on Naval Group specifications and on the French group’s experience in the design, production engineering and in-service support of submarines.

The Riachuelo will start sea trials in 2019 for delivery in 2020. Delivery of submarines 2, 3 and 4 will then follow every 12 to 18 months.

 

Strengthening the Brazilian industrial base

Since 2012, Naval Group has done considerable work to identify, select, negotiate, qualify Brazilian service providers in order to:

  • feed the supplier database for equipment or products supplied by Naval Group to the Brazilian Navy;
  • and to present and qualify local suppliers for the future needs of the Brazilian Navy.

This work enables the Brazilian Navy to rely more and more on a sovereign national industrial base.

It also enables the Brazilian industrial ecosystem to access new markets by promoting their «Naval Group» and «Brazilian Navy» accreditation (whose image of excellence and seriousness is highly regarded in Brazil) and to avail of the know-how and experience of the French group in the fields of project management.

Finally, ICN (Itaguaí Construções Navais) will be able to call on this panel of suppliers for its own development as part of the future maintenance and support services of the submarines.

 

The Scorpène, a success story on export markets

Scorpène is the conventional submarine designed by Naval Group for the export market. It demonstrates both Naval Group’s ability to deliver best in class submarines and to conduct successful transfers of technology. Today 14 Scorpène submarines are in operational service or being built, for the Chilean Navy (2 units), the Malaysian Navy (2 units), the Indian Navy (6 units) and the Brazilian Navy (4 units).

The Scorpène design is adapted to fit each navy’s specific requirements. Thus, the Brazilian Scorpène will be slightly longer to carry a larger crew, almost double the patrol range, and be able to cover greater distances.

Scorpène is ideally suited for action and operational effectiveness. Robust and enduring, it’s an ocean-going submarine also designed for shallow waters operations. Multipurpose, it fulfils the entire scope of missions such as anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, special operations, offensive minelaying and intelligence gathering. Integrating improvements from French Barracuda-Class fast-attack submarine, Scorpène has cutting-edge capabilities.

 

Brazilian Scorpène’s characteristics

Surfaced displacement 1,600-2,000 t
Length, overall 72 m/236 feet
Submerged speed 20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h
Diving depth > 300 m/984 feet
Autonomy > 45 days
Crew 35
Weapons total payload 18
Weapon tubes 6
Operational availability at sea > 240 days per year

 

Built in Egypt

The launching ceremony of the Port-Said Gowind corvette, the first warship built in Egypt, took place on September 6th, 2018 in Alexandria. This launching constitutes a success for Alexandria Shipyard team. It also reflects the effectiveness of Naval Group’s industrial cooperation schemes.

Port-Said is the first warship to be built in Egypt, and the Egyptian Navy’s fifth ship designed by France’s Naval Group, with the frigate Tahya Misr, the two Mistral-class LPDs the first Gowind corvette, Elfateh (Naval Group photo)
Port-Said is the first warship to be built in Egypt, and the Egyptian Navy’s fifth ship designed by France’s Naval Group, with the frigate Tahya Misr, the two Mistral-class LPDs the first Gowind corvette, Elfateh (Naval Group photo)

This industrial achievement demonstrates the strength of the strategic partnership between Naval Group and Egypt.

 

A joint success

The launching of the Port Said corvette shows the capabilities of the Alexandria shipyard, as it is the first warship built in Egypt. This launching ceremony celebrates the rise in competences of the Alexandria Shipyard team which is now able to build civilian boats as well as state-of-art military vessels.

Along with the first ever delivered Gowind corvette, Elfateh, already deployed by Egyptian Navy on many operational theatres, it will contribute to increase the Egyptian Navy Power. The corvette is part of a strategic and long-term partnership with Egypt. It is the fifth ship designed by Naval Group, operated by the Egyptian Navy, after the already delivered FREMM frigate Tahya Misr in 2015, the two Landing Helicopter Docks Nasser and Sadat in 2016 and the first Gowind corvette, Elfateh, in 2017.

Hervé Guillou, Naval Group’s CEO declared: «Naval Group is very proud to be part of this long-term partnership with the Egyptian authorities and industry. This ceremony is an opportunity to reiterate our strong commitment to execute all the programs and to equip the Egyptian Navy with a homogeneous fleet. In addition, Naval Group is pleased to participate in the maintenance and modernisation of this fleet. Naval Group has a long-term presence in Egypt and will remain involved for many years to come in Alexandria as partner of the Egyptian Navy to secure their operations».

Naval Group’s commitment to support customers through transfer of technology at each stage of the construction process is reaffirmed. Port Said, the first ever Egyptian made warship, is a proof that industrial cooperation works. The corvette manufactured in Alexandria has identical features and possesses the same performance level than the sea-proven Elfateh, which was built on Naval Group’s site in Lorient and delivered to the Egyptian navy last autumn.

 

Ten Gowind corvettes sold around the world

The modular design of the Gowind corvette enabled Naval Group to meet the specific requirements of the Egyptian navy in the shortest time scale possible. The Gowind corvette, ordered in ten units, meets the challenges faced by navies in changing war environments and offers a complete, multi-mission combat ship for sovereignty operations, the fight against illicit trafficking or maritime protection.

The Gowind corvette is a concentrate of the latest technological advances developed and mastered by Naval Group in naval defense. It integrates the latest generation of combat systems developed by Naval Group, SETIS, the «Panoramic Sensors and Intelligence Module (PSIM)» – a combination of the integrated mast with its various sensors and the Operational Centre and associated technical premises – and the high level of integration, automation and user-friendliness of the Naval Group systems. In addition to the Egyptian contract, Malaysia bought Gowind corvettes in 2012.

Naval Group is the European leader in naval defence. As an international high-tech Company, Naval Group uses its extraordinary know-how, unique industrial resources and capacity to arrange innovative strategic partnerships to meet its customers’ requirements. The Group designs, builds and supports submarines and surface ships. It also supplies services to shipyards and naval bases. The group reports revenues of €3.7 billion and has a workforce of 13,429 (data for 2017).

Fifth FREMM

According to Defense-aerospace.com, a new multi-mission frigate, in anti-submarine version, has joined the ranks of the Navy. Very versatile, stealthy and with a strike capability that is unique in Europe, the FREMMs are the backbone of the surface fleet in the different fields of naval combat.

France receives Bretagne, its fifth FREMM frigate
France receives Bretagne, its fifth FREMM frigate

On 18 July 2018, the Directorate-General for Armaments (DGA) received the frigate Bretagne, the 5th multi-mission frigate (FREMM) for the French Navy. The FREMM program is conducted within the Joint Organization for Cooperation on Armament Programs (OCCAR), in cooperation with Italy.

The program allows the renewal of the frigate component of the surface navy, with eight major vessels that will form the backbone of the surface fleet. The FREMMs, designed, developed and maintained by Naval Group, are the only Western European frigates to be armed with naval cruise missiles.

The 2019-2025 military program law provides for the delivery of the sixth anti-submarine frigate (Normandy) in 2019 and the last two ships of the series (Alsace and Lorraine), with enhanced air defense capabilities, in 2021 and 2022. It also provides for the strengthening of naval forces with the entry into service by 2025 of the first 2 frigates of intermediate size (FTI) and the refit and modernization of three La Fayette-class frigates.

The FREMM, crewed by 105 sailors, all highly qualified men and women, is a stealthy ship, multi-mission, enduring and flexible of use, and equipped with advanced automatisms. In its anti-submarine warfare version, its main mission is the control of an area of maritime operation, on the surface and under the sea, as well as long-range precision strike with the naval cruise missile (MdCN), and support for deployed and power projection operations.

Its weapon system includes the Caiman Marine, a multi-role combat helicopter with a particularly advanced anti-submarine capability. The FREMM-Cayman pair represents a leap in the field of submarine warfare. The FREMM is also equipped with the ECUME, the new tactical boat used by marine commandos.

Until 2022, the completion of the FREMM program will be a very significant part of the activity of Naval Group on its site in Lorient and that of many subcontractors, mainly SMEs.

The 2019-2025 Military Program Law, which was promulgated on July 13, 2018, provides for an accelerated effort to modernize the equipment of the armed forces.

 

Characteristics

Overall length 142 m/466 feet
Width 20 m/65.6 feet
Displacement 6,000 tonnes
Maximum speed 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h
Range 6,000 NM/6,905 miles/11,112 km at 15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h
Implementation 108 persons (including the helicopter detachment)
Accommodation capacity 145 persons

 

Fifth Barracuda

Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, decided at the Ministerial Investment Committee meeting on May 2nd to order the fifth Barracuda-class Nuclear Attack Submarine.

Armed Forces Ministry Orders Fifth Barracuda
Armed Forces Ministry Orders Fifth Barracuda

The Directorate-General for Armament (DGA) awarded this contract on 31 May 2018 to Naval Group and Technicatome. Naval Group is the prime contractor for the entire vessel. This submarine will be called Rubis.

The Military Programme Bill 2019-2025 maintains the format of a six-boat Barracuda nuclear attack submarine flotilla in operational service by 2030. The first four boats will be delivered over the period 2019-2025, including the first-of-class, Suffren, in 2020.

Their nuclear propulsion gives the Barracuda SSN a remarkable range of action and discretion. Armed with heavy Artemis torpedoes and Exocet anti-ship missiles, they will also carry naval cruise missiles (MdCN). This latter ability will allow them, in all discretion, to weigh on an opponent with the threat of long-range strikes, up to several hundred kilometers from the coast. Finally, they will also be able to deploy special forces while submerged, also with full discretion.

Offshore patrol vessels

According to defense-aerospace.com, Argentina has decided to finalize the acquisition of four Adroit-class OPV-90 offshore patrol vessels from France’s Naval Group, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told the Argentine newspaper La Nacion after meeting here with his Argentine counterpart, Jorge Faurie.

Originally built as a private venture by France’s Naval Group, the L’Adroit was operated by the French Navy on a cost-free lease to validate the design, and has since been sold to Malaysia, Egypt and a sale of four units to Argentina is imminent (FR navy photo)
Originally built as a private venture by France’s Naval Group, the L’Adroit was operated by the French Navy on a cost-free lease to validate the design, and has since been sold to Malaysia, Egypt and a sale of four units to Argentina is imminent (FR navy photo)

The sale had initially been agreed while Le Drian was defense minister in the previous French administration, but was subsequently suspended by Argentine President Mauricio Mori over the price, which he judged excessive.

Meeting French President Emmanuel Macron at the World Economic Forum, Macri asked for a price reduction, which resulted in a Naval Group team returning to Buenos Aires to present a new offer, which was accepted.

«The technical offer was accepted, now we are discussing the payment methods of these vessels», Faurie told La Nacion newspaper after meeting Le Drian. «The final price, which was decided after Naval Group traveled to Argentina, was much closer to the quotes that the country received from the other shipyards», Faurie said referring to two other competitors for the contract, a Chinese shipyard and Spain’s Navantia.

«With evident satisfaction, Le Drian evoked the final agreement reached between Buenos Aires and Paris for the purchase», La Nacion said, adding that Le Drian said «The principle has been accepted and the operation be concluded soon».

The deal covers four Gowind-class offshore patrol vessels, including three new-build boats and the original Gowind ship, L’Adroit, which was operated under a cost-free lease by the French Navy to validate the design.

Developed and financed by Naval Group as a private venture, Gowind-class vessels have been purchased by Egypt (four ships), and Malaysia (six ships).

Auvergne commissioned

According to Defense-aerospace.com, on February 14, 2018, the Chief of the Naval Staff admitted to active service D654 Auvergne, the 4th multi-mission frigate (FREMM). Now declared fit for combat by the Navy, she joins D650 Aquitaine, D652 Provence and D653 Languedoc, her three sister-ships in the FREMM class.

The D654 Auvergne after its commissioning. Under current plans, the French navy will have received six FREMM frigates in anti-submarine configuration by 2019. Another three will follow by 2022, two of them with enhanced anti-air capabilities (French navy photo)
The D654 Auvergne after its commissioning. Under current plans, the French navy will have received six FREMM frigates in anti-submarine configuration by 2019. Another three will follow by 2022, two of them with enhanced anti-air capabilities (French navy photo)

This admission is the culmination of a process of verification of the ship’s military capabilities. In 2017, D654 Auvergne was deployed for more than four months in diversified areas of operations: the Mediterranean Sea, the China Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf and the Pacific Ocean.

This deployment was marked by its integration into Task Force 50, formed around the US aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68), and the Combined Task Force 150, the multinational naval force fighting against illicit trafficking. D654 Auvergne also helped show France’s commitment to respect for international law and the freedom of navigation, particularly in the China Sea.

D654 Auvergne confirmed the already recognized qualities of the FREMM-class as modern, versatile, enduring and flexible vessels. They meet the needs of maritime rescue missions, the gathering of information in all three dimensions, and the requirements of high-intensity conflicts: control of a zone of air-sea operations, anti-ship, anti-submarine and anti-air missions, and support of projection operations, command of a national or combined naval air force, etc.

Two major assets are worth highlighting: the ability that France now has to strike accurately from the sea and in depth, with the MdCN naval cruise missile, and its unequaled performance in anti-submarine warfare, thanks to the alliance of the ship’s hull-mounted sonars and her embarked (NH90) Cayman helicopter.

With this fourth FREMM frigate, the French Navy reinforces its ability to ensure France’s security, both in its own waters and on the high seas.

The future LPM multi-year funding law confirms the importance of first-rank frigates that contribute to all strategic functions. Thus, to reach the target of 15 frigates of first rank, four intermediate-size frigates (FTI) will be ordered and two delivered by 2025.

The last four FREMMs will have been delivered in 2025, the final two with enhanced air defense capabilities.

 

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