French FREMM frigate Auvergne visits Western Australia on maiden deployment

French Navy frigate FS Auvergne docked in the Western Australian port of Freemantle on November 15, four months into her maiden operational deployment.

Departing her homeport of Toulon with an embarked NH90 helicopter in August, the FREMM frigate spent most of the time in the Indian Ocean, as part of the international Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) which operates in the region.

In a number of firsts for the 2016-commissioned frigate, the crew put their ship to the test in a number of drills with regional navies culminating with an integration into Task Force 50 and becoming part of the carrier strike group in charge of protecting the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. During her time underway with the aircraft carrier, FS Auvergne teamed with Cassard-class anti-air frigate FS Jean Bart to form what their US counterparts referred to as the “French Squadron” of Task Force 50.

Auvergne was built by DCNS (now Naval Group), launched in September 2015 and started sea trials in September 2016.

The frigate is the fourth anti-submarine warfare (ASW) variant of the FREMM multi-mission frigates. The French Navy has a total of eight frigates in the class on order, six ASW and two anti-air warfare variants.

The 142-meter long ships are equipped with the Aster and Exocet MM 40 missiles and the MU 90 torpedoes. They can reach maximum speeds of 27 knots and have a range of 6,000 miles at a speed of 15 knots. The ships can be operated by a crew of 108, with the helicopter detachment included.