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08 Nov 2022

Naval Group Floats First New FDI Frigate For The French Navy

Naval Group Floats First New FDI Frigate For The French Navy
Naval Group picture
Originally posted on Naval News

First Amiral Ronarc'h-class frigate "launched" by Naval Group in Lorient. Delivery set for 2024.

The event was a partial launch. The covered construction dock where the first FDI frigate took shape was floaded. However, the hull of Amiral Ronarc’h was not taken out to the outfitting pier on the Scorff river due to weather condition. This step, performed with tugboats, is expected to be performed later in the week.

The ceremony took place in presence of Sébastien Lecornu, French minister of the Armed Forces, and his Greek counterpart, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos.

“We are proud to be here today to mark this new milestone in the industrial production of the first defence and intervention frigate for the French Navy. These latest generation ships bring together the best of French naval know-how. The Navies operating them with benefit from a high-performance, resilient ship, capable of dealing with threats that are constantly evolving, thanks in particular to the use of the most modern digital technologies. Naval Group remains committed to offering its customers the best of its know-how, at the service of their sovereignty.” - Pierre Eric Pommellet, CEO of Naval Group

Naval Group picture

The keel laying took place in December 2021. The first sea trials will begin in 2023 and the ship will be delivered in 2024. The remaining four ships of the series will be delivered until 2030. During this period, Naval Group will also produce three FDI frigates for the Hellenic Navy, with a fourth currently planned as an option.

Thanks to the investments made by Naval Group, the site of Lorient has a modern industrial infrastructure that enables it to meet the technical and technological challenges of designing and building naval vessels in series. Thanks to this industrial organization that optimizes construction times, Naval Group is able to deliver two ships per year at its Lorient site from 2025.

The FDI program reinforces the technological lead of the French naval industrial base. The program supports employment in the shipbuilding industry throughout France and, more particularly, in Lorient. At Naval Group, more than 1,200 people are working full time on the programme with more than 400 subcontractors. The FDI program involves a large number of French and Greek partners, including Thales and MBDA.

FDI Frigate blocks built in Greece

Naval News learned that from the FDI #4 (the second one for the French Navy), some of the blocks will be produced in a Greek shipyard: Salamis Shipyards is located in the Piraeus Basin. The block will then be sent over to France for final assembly. This was confirmed by both Naval Group and Salamis Shipyards.

About FDI Frigate:Artist impression of the future FDI

Artist impression of the future FDI. Naval Group image.

According to Naval Group, the FDI is a high sea vessel. Multipurpose and resilient, she is capable of operating, alone or within a naval force. She offers capabilities for all types of warfare: anti-surface, anti-air, anti-submarine and as well as for special forces projection. Bringing together the best of French naval technologies on a compact platform, the FDI is a powerful and innovative frigate, designed to meet the evolution of threats.

Designed and produced using the latest digital tools, FDI is the first frigate to benefit from a digital architecture that will allow her continuous adaptation to technological and operational evolutions. As a result, the FDI will be able to address current and future threats and to handle always more data.

The FDI will be the first French frigate natively protected against cyber threats, with two data centers virtually accommodating a great part of the ship applications. The FDI introduces the concept of a dedicated CIC and systems for asymmetric warfare. These will enable the coordination and conduct of the fight against small and close air and surface threats, including UAVs and USVs.

Strongly armed (Exocet MM40 B3C anti-surface missiles, Aster anti-air missiles, MU90 antisubmarine torpedoes, artillery), the FDI is able to embark simultaneously a helicopter (10 tons class such as NH90) or the future Joint Light Helicopter and an unmanned aerial vehicle (up to 700kg). She can also receive a Special Forces detachment with their two commando boats. They are equipped with the new generation Seafire radar with four fixed panels, developed by Thales, which, combined with the missile delivery system, offers unmatched area defence capabilities.

Technical specifications:

  • displacement: 4,500 tons
  • length: 122 meters
  • beam: 18 meters
  • max. speed: 27 knots
  • autonomy: 45 days
  • operational availability: 3,500 hours per year
  • accomodation: 125-persons crew + 28 passengers
  • aviation facility: 10 ton-class helicopter, VTOL unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)

The main weapon systems of the FDI are:

  • 16 Aster surface to air missiles developed by MBDA
  • 8 Exocet MM40 Block 3c anti-ship missiles developed by MBDA
  • MU 90 torpedoes developed by Naval Group
  • 76 mm gun
  • 2 Narwhal 20mm remote weapon stations
  • 4 torpedo tubes
  • CANTO counter measures developed by Naval Group
  • Non-lethal weapon systems
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