The French Defence Ministry today announced the attribution to DCNS of a contract for the development and construction of five intermediate-size frigates (FTIs) intended for the French Navy. DCNS will propose a French version of its new BELH@RRA® frigate. The first of the five frigates from this French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA)-managed programme should be delivered in 2023 with an entry into active service in 2025.
A latest-generation digital frigate for the French Navy
The new BELH@RRA frigate will be designed and developed by DCNS, in joint project management with THALES for the development of the new-generation radar, with which it will be equipped.
The initiation of the FTI programme will benefit the DCNS Group’s employment basins, the foremost of which being the DCNS Lorient site and its subcontracting partners: the design of the BELH@RRA frigates represents about two million hours of work for the DCNS design offices. For the entire DCNS Group, the construction of a BELH@RRA frigate represents on average two million hours of work, of which three hundred thousand hours for the design offices.
Hervé Guillou, Chairman and CEO of DCNS states that: “DCNS is proud to contribute, alongside THALES, to the renewal of the French naval forces thanks to a new vessel responding to the needs of a world-class navy. It is a key component of our range of military vessels and the attribution of this contract also allows us to develop a frigate that addresses the expectations of a dynamic international market.”
A world-class frigate of a displacement of 4,000 tonnes intended for anti-submarine warfare, the French version of the BELH@RRA is designed to respond to the various French national needs. It will be endowed with extended self-defence and special forces projection capacities. Last but not least, it will integrate the new THALES SEA FIRE four flat antenna radar and will be equipped with Aster 30 missiles from MBDA.
The first frigate for “digital natives”
Developed for crews that will take the commands around 2020, the BELH@RRA frigates will benefit from the very latest digital technologies. They will, in particular, be equipped with a latest-generation combat system. This will bring greater rapidity for tactical analysis, decision-taking and weapons deployment.
The integration of the latest digital technologies will ensure that the vessel will be able to evolve over a period of almost forty years. The information-processing systems will be modernised incrementally to be adapted to changes in the operational context, the emergence of future threats and the short renewal cycles for new technologies.
With the BELH@RRA frigate, DCNS intends to continue the success enjoyed by La Fayette-class frigates, a reference on the naval defence market with over twenty units sold around the world. DCNS completes its product line by positioning this new frigate between the 6,000-tonne FREMM multi-mission frigate segment and that of the 2,500- to 3,000-tonne Gowind® corvettes.