France — On Saturday 2 July, first-of-class FREMM multi-mission frigate Aquitaine returned to DCNS’s Lorient shipyard after completing three weeks of sea trials on schedule. The trials and tests carried out by DCNS specialists demonstrated the satisfactory performance of all combat system sensors and confirmed that everything is on course for the ship’s delivery to the French Navy in 2012.

The trials were conducted off Groix island in the Bay of Biscay. The joint crew comprising French Navy personnel, customer representatives and DCNS employees tested the performance of the combat system sensors including radars, hull-mounted and towed-array sonars and the infrared search & track (IRST) system.

“Like the first trials, this second series yielded excellent results. This time the focus was on the ship’s combat system sensors. The results demonstrate the quality of DCNS’s integration of these sophisticated systems. All tests went as planned, further confirming the quality of the Aquitaine’s design and construction, said FREMM programme manager Vincent Martinot-Lagarde. “The first trials, in April, demonstrated the ship’s seakeeping and were very well received.”

Day and night, test followed test at a sustained pace. Highlights included the recording of the first radar tracks and the first IRST images as well as the first deployment of the towed-array sonar. The equipment specialists also played out the first operational scenarios. The aim here was to record sensor data and check the quality of the information and analyses displayed by shipboard systems compared with the results obtained during shore-based simulation studies.

During the three-week trials, over 200 people, including 60 Navy men and women, spent time on the Aquitaine. To save the ship returning to port, groups were ferried out and back from Lorient.

With sea trials completed, DCNS will now move on to final outfitting including the painting of over half of the vessel’s shipboard spaces and the installation of the last furnishings and fittings. FREMM frigate Aquitaine is scheduled to put to sea again in the autumn.

FREMM, a major programme for DCNS and partners

The French FREMM programme calls for 12 ships – 11 for the French Navy and one for the Royal Moroccan Navy.

FREMM frigates are among the most technologically advanced and competitively priced on the world market. These heavily armed warships are being built under DCNS prime contractorship to carry state-of-the-art weapons and systems including the Herakles multifunction radar, MdCN cruise missiles, Aster anti-air missiles, Exocet MM40 anti-ship missiles and MU90 torpedoes.

These innovative multirole frigates are designed to respond to all types of threats with unparalleled flexibility and availability. The contract to build a FREMM frigate for the Royal Moroccan Navy demonstrates that the type also meets the needs and expectations of international client navies.

FREMM technical data:

  • Length overall: 142 metres
  • Beam: 20 metres
  • Displacement: 6,000 tonnes
  • Max. speed: 27 knots
  • Complement: 108 (incl. helicopter detachment)
  • Accommodation: 145 men and women
  • Range: 6,000 nautical miles at 15 knots

DCNS is a world leader in naval defence and an innovative player in energy. DCNS designs, builds and supports submarines and surface combatants as well as associated systems and infrastructure. It also proposes services for naval shipyards and bases. The Group employs 12,500 people and generates annual revenues of around EUR 2.5 billion.