France DGA has awarded Naval Group a contract to build two new FDI frigates

FDI Class Frigate (Image: Naval Group)
FDI Class Frigate (Image: Naval Group)

The France Directorate General of Armaments (Direction générale de l’armement) has awarded Naval Group a contract to build the FDI frigates Amiral Louzeau and Amiral Castex for the French Navy. The second and third FDI ships respectively will be commissioned in 2025. The first FDI, Admiral Ronarc’h, was ordered in April 2017.

The Frégate de défense et d’intervention FDI; English: Frigates for defence and intervention) (previously named Frégates de taille intermédiaire FTI; English: Frigates of intermediate size)) is a French military program to design and create a planned class of frigates to be used by the French Navy. At the moment, the program consists of five ships, with commissioning planned from 2023 onwards. The frigate-type has subsequently been identified as a “Frégate de Défense et d’Intervention” (FDI) with the lead ship being named “Admiral Ronarc’h”. The first steel was cut in October 2019 beginning construction on the lead unit.

The FDI program was officially announced in May 2015, at the aeronautics base in Lann-Bihoué. Five new frigates (FDI) will take their place alongside the six Aquitaine-class multi-mission frigates (FREMM) and two new Air defense frigates (FREMM DA).

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Fdi Frigates (Image: Naval Group)

FDI Frigates

Specifications:

Displacement:4.460 t (4.390 long tons; 4.916 short tons)
Length:122 m (400 ft)
Beam:17.7 m (58 ft)
Propulsion:Combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) arrangement
Speed:Maximum: 27 knots (50.0 km/h; 31.1 mph)
Range:5,000 nmi (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at 15 knots (27.8 km/h; 17.3 mph)

The new frigates will be equipped with electronic systems and sensors developed by Thales and will be equipped with Aster 15/30 missiles from MBDA.

  • The SEA FIRE all-digital multi-function radar with four fixed antennas, which will meet the requirements of a broad range of missions, from ship self-defence to extended air defence, and can deploy MBDA Aster 15/30
  • The compact version of the CAPTAS-4 towed-array sonar, delivers the same ultra-long-range detection performance as the original version of CAPTAS-4 with 20% lower weight and a footprint almost 50% smaller, claimed to be the best in its class by Thales.
  • The Aquilon integrated digital communications system, and an IFF (Identification Friend of Foe) associated with the SEA FIRE radar
  • The SENTINEL system, an advanced digital electronic warfare system built around a modular architecture.

Digitised frigate

The frigates will have a high level of digitised systems on board. The FDI is a real innovation in many aspects, from its very specific design (inverted stern bow) to its ultra-modern equipment, but most importantly thanks to the numerous technical and technological breakthroughs in the digital field. “Two data centres host the ship’s software applications, such as those of the combat system management (CMS), platform system management (PMS) and anti-asymmetric threat warfare, as well as cybersecurity management (CyMS).

These ships will replace the La Fayette class frigates.


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