France: the DGA orders two defense and intervention frigates (FDI)
The Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) has notified Naval Group and Thales the order for two defense and intervention frigates (FDI), Amiral Louzeau and Amiral Castex, which will be delivered in 2025.
Complementing the FREMMs, the FDI are able to intervene in all blue waters crisis areas. They incorporate many innovations, including the world’s first fully digital fixed panel radar.
These two new frigates will join Amiral Ronarc’h, the first FDI ordered in April 2017 by the DGA to Naval Group and Thales, the steel cut dating back to October 2019, and which will be delivered to the French Navy in 2024.
MBDA, in charge of the on-board missile system, is associated with these orders.
The one-year advancement of Amiral Castex order makes it possible to respond more quickly to the Navy’s operational need for modern, first-tier frigates. This order also contributes to supporting the know-how and skills of the Lorient shipyard at the highest level of technicality, qualities which today enable it to produce ships at the best world level for the French Navy as well as for its export customers.
Five FDI will be in service by 2030, enabling the French Navy to achieve the format of fifteen first-tier frigates, in line with the objective of the 2019-2025 military programming law.
The FDI programme is part of the renewal and strengthening of the French Navy’s surface fleet, which will thus have fifteen first-tier frigates in 2030: 8 multi-mission frigates (FREMM), 2 air defense frigates (FDA Horizon) and 5 defense and intervention frigates (FDI).
With a crew of 125 sailors, the FDI are 4,500-ton class ships, versatile and enduring. Able to last on the high seas and host a combat helicopter, they are designed to operate in an adversary contested environment, in all areas of naval warfare and in the face of high-level threats. Finally, they benefit from the ability to overcome battle damage and the interoperability required by combat vessels.
From their conception, the FDI incorporate a concentrate of innovations:
- They can intervene in all naval warfare domains on the high seas: anti-ship, anti-aircraft, anti-submarine.
- They can control vast air and sea spaces, and are capable to defend themselves against asymmetric threats and of projecting a detachment of special forces.
- To operate in an increasingly digital world, the FDI have the capacity to fight against the cyber threat and are fitted with two digital data centers which combine the computing capacities of all the sensors and weapons on board.
- Among new generation equipment installed on board we find the four fixed panels radar integrated on a single mast, allowing permanent 360-degree surveillance, and launchers capable of firing several types of anti-aircraft missiles depending on the threat.
- They are also the first frigates to have sufficient space to simultaneously carry a helicopter and a 700 kg class drone.
The FDI are innovative frigates equipped with systems integrating cutting-edge technologies and are designed according to an incremental development logic, with successive standards allowing to incorporate any new capability needs or technological developments during their period of operational service.
Image courtesy Naval Group