France: FREMM Frigate Passes First Torpedo Launch Test with Flying Colors
Teams from DCNS, the French Navy and defence procurement agency DGA recently completed a new test campaign aboard first-of-class FREMM multimission frigate Aquitaine, the last and most important being the first ever torpedo launch test from a FREMM frigate.
After demonstrating FREMM frigate Aquitaine’s compatibility with a 10-tonne Caïman helicopter (the French version of the Eurocopter/EADS NH90) in March, DCNS specialists spent several weeks putting the vessel’s combat system, which includes the torpedo launch control system, through its paces.
After validating the torpedo tube configuration and performing dry-run tests, the DCNS team conducted the torpedo launch test the 22nd of June. Using an exercise torpedo equipped with sensors and data loggers instead of a warhead, the launch was performed under otherwise operational conditions. The results validated the torpedo tube configuration’s compliance with the relevant specifications. Shipboard observation by DCNS specialists and the data gathered by the torpedo’s onboard sensors confirmed all key parameters including exit speed, angle of impact with the water, and torpedo behaviour and trajectory.
“First-of-class FREMM multimission frigate Aquitaine is designed to face all types of threats,” says Vincent Martinot-Lagarde, FREMM programme manager. “The success of the first torpedo launch test is an important milestone as it confirms the ASW capabilities of the ship and her combat system which was designed, developed and produced by DCNS,” he added. In addition to a leading role in the FREMM design programme, DCNS teams contributed, in cooperation with the DGA, to the design of the MU90 lightweight torpedo, the torpedo launch control system and the launch tubes.
FREMM frigate Aquitaine is equipped with four launch tubes and will carry up to 19 MU90 torpedoes. Each torpedo weighs close to 300 kg. The MU90 design offers a top speed of over 55 knots, sophisticated target tracking and state-of-the-art stealth.
Thanks to the ASW sensors and weapons carried by her organic Caïman Marine/NH90 helicopter, her payload of MU90 torpedoes and great stealth, FREMM frigate Aquitaine offers ASW (anti-submarine warfare) capabilities that are as innovative as they are fearsome.
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.
Thanks to their many innovations, FREMM multimission frigates can respond to all types of threats with unparalleled flexibility and availability. The first export sale, to the Royal Moroccan Navy, demonstrates that they also meet the needs and expectations of international client navies.
FREMM technical data
• Length overall: 142 m
• Beam: 20 m
• Displacement (approx.): 6,000 tonnes
• Max. speed: 27 knots
• Complement: 108 (including helicopter crew)
• Accommodation: 145 men and women
• Range: 6,000 nm (at 15 knots)
Naval Today Staff, July 2, 2012; Image: DCNS