First sea trials for the FREMM DA Alsace air-defense frigate for French Navy

According to a press release published on October 7, 2020, French company Naval Group has announced the first sea trials for the ninth ship FREMM DA Alsace designed for the French Navy. On October 5, 2020, the multi-mission frigate FREMM Alsace went out for her first sea trial. She is the first of two air defense frigates designed for the French Navy as part of the FREMM program. Alsace benefits from the same anti-submarine warfare performances as the previous units but with enhanced air defense capabilities.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Naval Group FREMM DA Alsace multi-mission air defense frigate during first sea trails. (Picture source Naval Group)

Nineteen months after her launch, the FREMM Alsace went out for her first sea trial on October 5, 2020. She is the seventh FREMM European Multi-Mission Frigate ordered by the French Procurement Agency (DGA) on behalf of the French Navy. The management of the FREMM program is entrusted to the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR).

In order to meet the operational needs of the French Navy and to incorporate the operational feedback acquired since the program was launched, Alsace incorporates the latest developments ordered by OCCAR.

This frigate is the first FREMM frigate with enhanced air defense capabilities and benefits from feedback collected on previous units of the FREMM series as well as from upgrades intended to increase versatility. These technical adaptations include a more powerful multi-function radar, enhanced communications resources, additional SETIS® Combat Management System consoles in the "command information centre", and enhanced air defense capabilities using Aster 15 and 30 missiles.

The FREMM Alsace also benefits from an optimized mast to increase long-range air surveillance performances.

"This first sea trial marks the start of a series of trials for the ship. About one hundred Naval Group employees from Lorient, Nantes-Indret, Ollioules and Paris-Bagneux embarked alongside the French Navy crew and representatives of other French authorities. Very strict health procedures were defined jointly by Naval Group and the French authorities to ensure the safety of all people on board. Day and night, Naval Group employees, in close cooperation with the crew, will be required to carry out various tests, monitor and operate the installations. The aim of this first sea trial is twofold: to test the performance of the propulsion and navigation systems, but also to start checking and testing the integration of the combat system," explains Didier Trehin, Naval Group manager onboard.

In addition to carrying out the same anti-submarine warfare missions as the previous units of the FREMM series, Alsace will be responsible for the air defense of major units: the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier or Landing Helicopter Docks (LHD), as part of a naval or amphibious aviation group.

First sea trials for the FREMM DA Alsace air defense frigate for the French Navy 925 002
Naval Group FREMM DA Alsace multi-mission air defense frigate during first sea trails. (Picture source Naval Group)

Naval Group teams and its many partners are mobilized to deliver Alsace and Lorraine, the two air defense frigates in 2021 and 2022, in line with the program schedule. "Despite the health crisis, the FREMM program is on time and on schedule.” says Nicolas Gaspard, FREMM Program Director.

Six FREMM frigates for the French Navy have already been delivered between 2012 and 2019. Aquitaine in 2012, Provence in 2015, Languedoc in 2016, Auvergne in April 2017, Bretagne in July 2018 and Normandie in July 2019. As for export markets, Morocco received Mohammed VI in 2014 and Egypt Tahya Misr in 2015.

Technical characteristics of air defense FREMMs

Strongly armed, the FREMM DA Alsace uses the most performant weapon systems and equipment including the multifunction Herakles radar, the Aster 15 and 30 and Exocet MM 40 missiles or even the MU 90 torpedo. The performances of her combat system are reinforced with increased radar and communication capacities, new radar and electro-optical fire lead, and a Combat Management System SETIS® equipped with specific anti-air defense functions.

• Overall length: 142 meters
• Width: 20 meters
• Displacement: 6,000 tons
• Speed: 27 knots
• Complement: 119 people (+ 14 people for the helicopter crew)
• Accommodation: 165 people
• Range: 6,000 at 15 knots

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