Naval Group completes the modernisation of the third and last frigate of the La Fayette type

Paris, February 12, 2024 – End of 2023, Naval Group completed the modernisation of the third and last La Fayette frigate (FLF), the Aconit, after six months of work followed by a series of dockside and sea trials. With this delivery of the refurbished ship, Naval Group has concluded a major modernisation programme involving a series of three ships that now have new anti-submarine warfare capabilities and can continue to carry out their missions for five more years.

Notified to Naval Group in 2017 by the French General Armament Directorate (DGA), the contract to modernize the La Fayette frigates (FLF) covered the three frigates Courbet, La Fayette and Aconit. In particular, the worksite made it possible to deal with a number of obsolescence issue, modernize several systems and add new capabilities.

Among the modernizations carried out, that of their combat system (CMS) led to the replacement of the original system by the SENIT developed by Naval Group. They have also renewed their optronic surveillance capabilities, improved their structural strength and stability, and replaced their Crotale anti-air defense system with two Sadral systems armed with the latest-generation Mistral very short-range ground-to-air missiles. With the addition of a hull sonar, the three FLFs now have anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

The sea trials phase, carried out after the work was completed, demonstrated the ship’s manoeuvrability despite the increased displacement (several tonnes) and the addition of the sonar dome. It also confirmed that acoustic discretion levels were being maintained and that maximum speed targets were being met, as well as validating the integration of the sonar and the new combat steering system, which has improved performance.

Technical expertise at the service of Navies’ modernization

This major project illustrates the breadth of Naval Group’s range of services to support navies in France and abroad throughout the life cycle of their fleets, and demonstrates the company’s technical expertise in the field of ship modernization. More than 5,000 employees, representing 300 key skills, are responsible for the design, production and implementation of integrated logistical support, maintenance in operational condition (MCO) and modernization of ships, training, simulators and marine infrastructures. The company’s unique expertise in ship design, construction and maintenance gives Naval Group a position as an overall architect, enabling it to deploy standalone equipment upgrades, modernizations of complex integrated systems, and even complete ship overhauls.

With experience alongside more than 50 navies worldwide, Naval Group is recognised for its ability to manage complex programmes by adapting its organisation to the needs of its customers. Today, the Group manages more than twenty major in-service support programmes. Every year, some fifty surface ships and submarines are maintained in service in France and abroad, drawing on rare expertise and high-quality industrial partnerships.

Photo courtesy Naval Group