Admission to active duty is an essential step in the life of any ship. ‘Chevalier Paul’ will now be able to conduct operational missions and, in the coming days, she will take part in ‘Operation Harmattan,’ France’s share of the U.N. mission in Libya.
The frigate Chevalier Paul is the result of the Franco-Italian naval HORIZON program, which included the construction of two new-generation frigates for each country, and thus initiated the renewal of the two navies’ air defense components.
In French service, ‘Le Forbin’ and ‘Chevalier Paul’ replaced the missile frigates ‘Suffren,’ decommissioned in 2001, and Duquesne, decommissioned in 2007.
Chevalier Paul's mission is fleet air defense. Her principal anti-air weapons system allows her to cope with threats ranging from the latest missiles and to respond, notably thanks to its vertically-launched ASTER missiles, to large-scale air strikes. The ship’s electromagnetic discretion, and her ability to detect and decoy missiles, make her especially suitable for high-intensity operations as well as interventions in crisis areas.
The two Horizon-class ships can provide air cover for task forces (aircraft carrier, amphibious or civilian) against all aerial threats, including supersonic anti-ship missiles. They can exercise command and coordination of air operations from the sea, including those involving foreign aircraft. Their capabilities in other areas of naval combat also enable them to perform various other tasks, including securing a maritime area, control of maritime traffic, evacuation of nationals..., etc.