The Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) has authorized the formal hand-over of the frigate Aquitaine, lead ship of the FREMM multi-mission frigate program, which is managed by the Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en Matière de Programmes d'Armement (OCCAR) and carried out jointly with Italy.
The FREMM program is intended to renew the French navy’s frigate component with 11 new ships which will form the backbone of the surface fleet. The FREMM frigates will be the first European to be armed with the MCN naval cruise missile.
Displacing 6,000 metric tons and with a length of 142 m, capable of reaching a top speed of 27 knots, and with a small crew of 108 officers and ratings, the FREMM frigate is heavily armed, with Exocet 40 anti-ship missiles, Aster anti-air missiles, and MU90 torpedoes.
The first nine frigates will be designed primarily for anti-submarine warfare, while the final two, equipped for air-defence, are designed to protect a carrier battle group or an amphibious group against hostile aircraft and missiles. All FREMM ships will carry an NH90 Caiman helicopter, as well as special forces and their equipment. The multi-mission frigates will carry the names of French regions.
The FREMM frigate program represents about fifty million man-hours of work for thousands of French workers. Until 2022, building the FREMM-class ships will provide a significant part of the activity of DCNS (mainly at its Lorient site) as well as its many subcontractors, mainly SMEs.
Regarding export, a frigate sold to Morocco is currently under construction at Lorient and other countries have expressed interest in the innovative FREMM concept.