Report: On board FREMM Normandie next generation multi-mission frigate
Navy Recognition recently had the unique opportunity to get onboard
the French Navy's next state of the art frigate, the Normandie,
while the ship was conducting sea trials off Toulon naval base in the
Mediterranean. We already got the chance to get aboard Normandie
the vessel had just been floated out of dry-dock in Lorient,
but this time it is a fully completed and functional frigate we got
the chance to tour.
Pierrick Etiemble, FREMM Combat System Program Manager
at DCNS, gave us a complete walk around the Normandie Frigate.
In November 2012, DCNS delivered the FREMM Aquitaine, the first unit
in the series of FREMM multi-mission frigates. The second unit in the
program, the Mohammed VI, was delivered to the Royal Moroccan
Navy on 30 January 2014. Normandie is the third unit in the
program (and second ship of the French Navy's Aquitaine class).
Normandie's mediterranean sea trials goals revolve mainly around
the combat management system of the frigate. Thanks to the "shore
integration facility" (SIF) of the French Procurement Agency (DGA)
based in Saint Mandrier near Toulon, many systems on board the vessel
are put to the test. For example, the engineers verify that the frigate's
electronic warfare support measure (ESM) suite detects all shore based
radars at the SIF.
The other role of the SIF is to check, test and validate most of the
hardware and software (even upgrades) ashore before installing them
on a surface vessel. DCNS in its key role of "whole warship integrator"
has to make sure that all systems on board the frigate are compatible
and do not interfere with each other (between the jammers, ESM, and
The DGA, French Air Force and Navy also take part in the sea trials:
While we were on board Normandie, a Rafale fighter flew past
the frigate at low altitude. The goal is to "stress" the combat
management system and simulate the launch of an Aster 15 surface-to-air
Capitaine de Vaisseau Ferragu answers a few of our questions
on Aquitaine class FREMM Frigates
we were aboard Normandie, we also had the chance to witness the
first landing of a French Navy NH90 Caïman helicopter on the frigate.
In addition, as explained by Captain Charles-Henri Ferragu, Normandie's
commanding officer, on the same day the same NH90 detected a training
target with the FLASH dipping sonar and hit the target with a MU90 torpedo.
Two firsts on the same day!
According to Capitaine de Vaisseau Ferragu, the main strength of the Aquitaine
class frigate is the MdCN (Missile de Croisiere Naval, Naval Cruise Missile)
which provides the ship with a pre-strategic capability. Compared to the
class, the FREMM has much more powerful sonars and therefore will
be an even more potent platform in anti-submarine warfare roles.