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Difference Between Corvette and Frigate

This is a discussion on Difference Between Corvette and Frigate within the Navy & Maritime forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; This article got me curious about the Sigma class but as I looked at its Sigma class corvette - Wikipedia, ...


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Old June 11th, 2012   #1
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Difference Between Corvette and Frigate

This article got me curious about the Sigma class but as I looked at its
, I noticed that it is a modular design that can be either a corvette or a frigate.

I had thought that the difference between the two was that a corvette was a smaller, coastal vessel whilst a frigate was a larger ocean-going vessel. I can see that in terms of displacement, the frigate variants are heavier but beyond that, I don't see the difference.

I was wondering if anyone could clarify this for me, specifically to the Sigma class (does anything besides displacement make it frigate/corvette) as well as the current distinction between a corvette and a frigate.

Thanks.
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Old June 12th, 2012   #2
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Generally I say, although with all these things it’s a matter of perception and many have differing views including between navies themselves, that to be a Corvette and not an OPV it has to have missiles of some kind. Size wise I would probably say around 100m long with a displacement greater than 2,000 tonnes for a Frigate although really it is probably better to do things on a ship-to-ship basis at this level to look properly at things such as weapon systems, actual design (whether or not it is a military designed ship, although this applies more to OPV/K). It is key to consider that at best ships on this borderline region would be counted as FFLs, they will never have the two hangars or missile capability to be a FFH/FFG and the general FF category is pretty much out of it these days.

Really though I would say that within the next few years we will see any current classifications begin to change, obviously we are seeing more and more frigate classes push on the six-thousand mark in terms of displacement with Destroyers now routinely well above the seven-thousand if designated as such (ignoring the European style of classification or any of the weird ones i.e. Japan and Iran) and thus I think that when we see a class in mass production at this size (my guess is the Type 26 if other nations pick it up) that there will be a rewriting of the code.
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Old June 12th, 2012   #3
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Originally Posted by CheeZe View Post
This article got me curious about the Sigma class but as I looked at its Sigma class corvette - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, I noticed that it is a modular design that can be either a corvette or a frigate.

I had thought that the difference between the two was that a corvette was a smaller, coastal vessel whilst a frigate was a larger ocean-going vessel. I can see that in terms of displacement, the frigate variants are heavier but beyond that, I don't see the difference.

I was wondering if anyone could clarify this for me, specifically to the Sigma class (does anything besides displacement make it frigate/corvette) as well as the current distinction between a corvette and a frigate.

Thanks.
Corvettes are small, lightly armed warships often used for escort purposes, part of a larger fleet. Corvettes in WW2 were small ocean going anti submarine escorts to merchant convoys, with light gun armament. Simple vessels but effective for their single role purpose.

Frigates can operate effectively on their own as well as with other vessels, and have a range of effective weapons giving them multiple capabilities.

Hope this helps.
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Old June 12th, 2012   #4
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A frigate in the terms as I understand it and to quote something I once read is;

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The smallest warship capable of undertaking independent operations
A corvette on the other hand is more likely to have a primary focus in one area (i.e. ASW, ASuW or AA) with a limited limited or no capabilities in the other two. Hence in high intensity operations it is dependent upon the support of larger vessels for protection in areas its lacks. Typically they also lack the range and endurance of other large surface combatants I think the German K130, Malaysian A100 are typical examples of corvettes, where the focus is on surface warfare with limited AA and virtually nil ASW.
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