Naval Group completes La Fayette frigate modernization program

French defence company Naval Group has completed the modernization of the third and last La Fayette frigate (FLF), Aconit. With this delivery of the refurbished ship, Naval Group has concluded a major modernization program for the French Navy.

Naval Group

According to Naval Group, the upgrade was finished after six months of work followed by a series of dockside and sea trials of the ship. The program involved 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 issues, modernize several systems and add new capabilities.

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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 maneuverability 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, according to Naval Group.