France: Lorient Shipyard Floats Out FREMM Frigate
On 18 September 2013, FREMM frigate Provence was floated out of its building dock at the Lorient shipyard. With five FREMM multimission frigates at different stages of assembly and construction, this float-out (or pre-outfitting launch) – always a major milestone – highlights the Group’s expertise in concurrent shipbuilding.
Operations began in the morning with the flooding of the building dock. Following a number of other steps, the ship was gently floated out of the building dock. Executing a manoeuvre lasting 15 minutes, tugs then moved the frigate to a nearby outfitting berth.
Over the coming months, DCNS specialists and subcontractor teams will install the ship’s systems. The next major milestone will be the installation of the Provence’s masts and sensors, including her radars, antennas, cameras and jammers.
DCNS began building the Provence, the third Aquitaine-class FREMM frigate for the French Navy, in December 2010. These highly automated surface combatants require a complement of just 108, or less than half the number required to man earlier generation vessels with similar capabilities.
The FREMM multimission design concept can combine missions including anti-air warfare (AAW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW) and anti-submarine warfare (ASW). On 23 November 2012, following the delivery of first-of-class FREMM frigate Aquitaine for the French Navy in compliance with the relevant contractual requirements, European Joint Armament Cooperation Organisation OCCAR1 signed off her acceptance on behalf of French defence procurement agency DGA.
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, 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 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.
Programme progress report
Five FREMM frigates are currently under construction at the Group’s Lorient shipyard:
- Second-of-type FREMM frigate Mohammed VI will be delivered to the Royal Moroccan Navy in late 2013
- Third-of-type FREMM frigate Normandie was floated out of the building dock in October 2012 and will begin her sea trials in a few weeks’ time.
- As reported above, fourth-of-type FREMM frigate Provence was floated out on 18 September.
- The construction of fifth-of-type FREMM frigate Languedoc will begin shortly in the building dock just vacated by the Provence.
- The construction of the sixth-of-type FREMM frigate: the ship’s hull blocks are currently undergoing pre-outfitting.
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 people
Press Release, September 19, 2013; Image: Navy