Friday, April 19, 2013

FREMM Frigate starts sea trials for delivery to Morocco in 2013

The Mohammed VI, the FREMM frigate destined for the Moroccan Navy has started sea trails and is on schedule to be delivered in late 2013. Morroco had ordered the French anti-submarine warfare (ASW) variant in 2008 to become the first and to date only export customer of the FREMM frigate.

Developed by France and Italy, only one FREMM frigate, the Aquitaine, has so far been commissioned in France. Like the Mohammed VI, the Aquitaine is also of the ASW variant. The next FREMM frigate, the Normandie, is set to be delivered in 2014.

In all, France intends to acquire 9 hulls of the ASW variant and another 2 hulls of the FREDA variant. The FREDA is a version of the FREMM frigate dedicated to providing air defense.

Italy intends to acquire 4 units of the ASW variant and another 6 units of the general purpose variant. The first general purpose variant, the Carlo Bergamini, is set to be commissioned into the Italian Navy in late 2013.

All the FREMM frigates share a common hull design, but the Italian and French versions differ from each other and are relatively easy to distinguish. The FREMM frigate specifications are:
  • a lenght of 142-144 m
  • a beam of about 20 m
  • a draught of 5 m
  • a displacement of 6000 tonnes
  • a maximum speed of 27-30 kn
  • a range of 6000 nautical miles at 15 kn
The FREMM powerplant is based on COmbined Diesel eLectric Or Gas (CODLOG) using electric motors for silent low speed and gas turbine power for high-speed propulsion.

There are many differences between the French and Italian versions in terms of sensors, weapons and other equipment fitted. Some notable differences are:
  • the French version uses the Herakles radar, while the Italian verison uses the EMPAR radar
  • both versions use the Otobreda Super Rapid 76 mm gun, but the Italian version is fitted with one on the hangar and the Otobreda 127 mm gun
  • both versions have 32 VLS cells, but differ in the type of SYLVER modules that are installed
  • the French version carries a single NH90 helicopter, while the Italian version can carry an additional NH90 or EH101 helicopter
Some of the equipment is subject to changes pending construction. The FREDA version, especially, has yet to have its design finalized.

The FREMM frigates will succeed the HORIZON class frigates. Only 4 units of the HORIZON class were build for the French and Italian Navies.

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