In accordance with the decision taken at the end of March by the Ministerial Investment Committee, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian today launched the construction of five "Belharra"-class intermediate frigates (Frégate de Taille Intermédiaire). The contract was awarded to DCNS by the Directorate General of Armaments.
Unveiled at last year’s Euronaval show in Paris, DCNS’ Belharra digital ship design will form the basis of the French navy’s future FTI intermediate frigates, which will displace 4,000 tonnes.
This contract will enable the French forces to operate 15 first-line frigates by 2030, in accordance with the military multiyear planning law. This format will also be provided by eight multi-mission frigates (FREMM) and two Horizon air-defense frigates.
The future frigate is positioned in the mid-tonnage segment for which there is a strong demand for exports. Due to its modular appearance, the ship can be configured to fulfill various missions depending on the needs expressed by our partners. Thus, with the Gowind corvettes on the one hand, and the FREMMs on the other, and soon the FTIs, France will be able to offer a complete range of heavily armed warships.
Finally, this program will enable DCNS to develop its technical and industrial capabilities in the field of heavily armed surface combatants, notably at its Lorient site.
Defense Minister Le Drian emphasized that "The construction of five Belharra-class intermediate frigates, the first of which must enter active service in 2025, is essential to guarantee safe operations in France’s maritime approaches in the face of threats, particularly underwater threats, which are rapidly worsening.
“It will enable France to have a warship to complement the FREMM frigates, and to embarked on numerous innovative technologies, notably in the field of underwater detection."