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  • General Electrics to supply propulsion systems for French Navy LSS

    POSTED ON WEDNESDAY, 03 NOVEMBER 2021 16:50

    According to a press release published by General Electrics on November 2, 2021, the first MV7000 drives for the LSS FLOTLOG program has successfully passed their Factory Acceptance Tests at GE Power Conversion Nancy Factory, reaching a first milestone for the new fleet of logistic support ships (LSS) of the French Navy.


    Ceremony of the cutting for the first sheet metal's LSS FLOTLOG (Picture source: OCCAR)

    It follows the contract signed in 2020 between GE Power Conversion and Chantiers de l’Atlantique to provide systems for the four LSS to be built by the Shipyard for the French Navy, under the contract management of the Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR), on behalf of the French Armament General Directorate (Direction Générale de l’Armement).

    The LSS main mission is to provide logistical support to deployed naval forces. It will replace the current single-hull oil tankers, which have been in service since the 1970’s and 1980’s. The four supply ships will be delivered by 2029.

    By equipping these vessels with control systems similar to those installed on board other French Navy surface ships, propelled with GE solutions, the fleet will have commonalities – thereby simplifying management and maintenance for the customer.

    The bâtiments ravitailleurs de forces, or BRF, are a class of future fleet tankers that are to replace the Durance-class-class units in French Navy service. Until January 2019, the programme was known as Flotte logistique (abbreviated FLOTLOG in military parlance).

    Delivery of the first unit of the series had been expected in late 2022. However, in 2021 it was indicated that the delivery date for the first ship had slipped to 2023.

    Comment


    • Amid high hopes, can the European Patrol Corvette deliver?

      By Tom Kington

      Nov 3, 03:00 PM

      Italy, Spain, France and Greece make up the core group of countries pushing for a European Patrol Corvette that would secure EU waters. (Fincantieri)

      ROME — A European naval program worth €6 billion (U.S. $7 billion) to build a new corvette is picking up speed this autumn as naval chiefs throw their weight behind it, even as experts warn the long awaited consolidation of Europe’s fragmented naval industry still faces stiff headwinds.

      The European Patrol Corvette, or EPC, got a vote of confidence in October as navy representatives from Italy, France, Greece and Spain met remotely with industry chiefs to thrash out details of the four-nation program.

      “The meeting had a really positive outcome – it was the first meeting with industry about the EPC, with lot of useful points emerging,” said Commander Andrea Quondamatteo, the Italian navy’s program manager.

      With Portugal attending as an observer and Denmark reportedly showing interest, the program may yet add partners, while the three main nations are currently set to buy 20 vessels, including six for France, six for Spain and eight for Italy.

      An industrial source told Defense News that each vessel is expected to cost around €250-300 million, making the Corvette program worth €5-6 billion, even before Greece confirms an order and any new members sign up.

      That is cause for celebration at the European Union, where the EPC was inserted in its so-called Permanent Structured Cooperation, or PESCO list of recommended pan-European defense programs designed to create synergies among EU defense firms.

      There is also €60 million in EU research cash in the offing, not a huge amount, but enough to show the bloc is on board. By December 9, the European Defence Fund has asked for a list of proposals for research work required to turn the ship into reality.

      That proposal will be delivered by Naviris, the joint venture between Italy’s Fincantieri and France’s Naval Group, as well as Spain’s Navantia.

      “The proposal will list the areas of research where the firms believe new R&D will yield technological advancements for use on the ship,” said Enrico Bonetti, chief operating officer at Naviris.

      One option which will be explored is the potential use of full electric or hybrid propulsion, while other areas to be worked on include unmanned technology, modularity and data management, with a decision expected by June next year and possible disbursement of the funds by end 2022 or the start of 2023, Bonetti said.

      “The proposal to the EDF is a starting point, it is about what we will be studying,” he said.

      What is confirmed is that the vessels, measuring about 105 meters long and displacing 3,000 tonnes, will come in two versions: combat and long-range patrol.

      Italy favors the first for keeping a well armed presence in the Mediterranean, where tensions are increasing due to Turkish-Greek rivalry and the recent conflict in Libya. With an eye on missions far from home, France is opting for the long-range patrol version.

      Bonetti said both types would likely be able to mount a 3D radar, with nations able to choose their own. Flexibility built into the design would also allow customers to pick their own combat management system.

      Both will be fitted for a medium- or short-range anti-air missile, with the MBDA CAMM ER system a candidate, while the combat version will offer anti-torpedo systems, including a decoy.

      “The Patrol version will have a top speed of up to 24 knots while the Combat version will be slightly faster at 25-26 knots,” said Bonetti.

      Eyes on subcontractors

      Meanwhile, a list of about 40 companies, hailing from around Europe, has been drawn up as potential sub-contractors.

      “Greek, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Portuguese and German companies are on the list,” said Bonetti.

      As the application goes in for EU research funds, nations are already putting up their money. Italy has already approved funding worth €1.5 billion for the first phase, which will ensure delivery of the initial four vessels, with the first ready in 2027, said Bonetti.

      “We have a working group linking the companies which talks every day, but the challenge is synchronization, getting three nations to have funding in parallel to continue the development work at the same pace,” he said.

      He said he was confident it could be pulled off and help European industrial synergies. “I’m convinced that the EPC could be a first step towards integration in the naval industry, which is far more fragmented than the aircraft, helicopter or tank sector,” he said.

      That was a point made last year by outgoing Naval Group CEO Hervé Guillou, who warned that the excessive number of European yards ensure they are forced to export to survive. Between 2009 and 2018, China produced 136 military ships, of which 11 were exported, he said, while two U.S. shipbuilders built 78 ships, of which six were exported. Twelve European yards produced 80 ships, of which 49 were for the export market, he added.

      That makes synergies essential to avoid overlap in Europe, and Italy and France boast a track record of cooperation after co-designing their Horizon and FREMM frigates together before they set up the Naviris joint venture between Fincantieri and Naval Group which is now working on the Corvette.

      That said, so far the two firms have competed to sell their FREMM frigates. Italy has sold the vessel to Egypt, Indonesia and the United States, while France has sold to Morocco and Egypt and was reportedly upset when Italy started talks with Morocco this year.

      Competing interests

      Italy was similarly irritated earlier this year when French political opposition and an EU competition probe derailed Fincantieri’s long planned takeover of French shipyard Chantiers de l’Atlantique, which promised greater Italo-French ship building synergy.

      French sailors of the frigate Vendemiaire stand guard on the deck as it prepares to dock at the international port in Manila on March 12, 2018. France wants to replace its Floréal-class vessels with a European Patrol Corvette, subsidized by the European Defence Fund. (Ted Aljibe/AFP via Getty Images)

      One analyst countered that the currently improving political ties between Italy and France meant naval industry ties could be further tightened. “I am optimistic, it is a good moment,” said Jean Pierre Darnis, an associate fellow at the Fondation pour la Recherche stratégique in Paris.

      He noted that Leonardo’s space joint venture with Thales was working well. “Compare that to Leonardo’s acquired firms in the U.S. and U.K., with which it has fewer synergies than expected due to firewalls,” he said.

      One challenge, however, facing industrial cooperation within Europe was the mentality created by Covid, he said. “The pandemic has made countries keener on local production, on national technological sovereignty,” he said.

      A second analyst noted that if the EU wanted to encourage member states to integrate their defense industries, the union would need to set an example with a shared defense policy.

      “The EU still lacks that, so it is trying to increase cooperation at an industrial level,” said Pierluigi Barberini, a defense and security analyst at the Cesi think tank in Rome.

      “However, to get real naval integration you need political will, and we are not there yet,” he said.

      Comment


      • unicorn11
        unicorn11 commented
        Editing a comment
        Based on Horizon, the NFR and so many other multi-national programs, I would say the answer is a likely no.

    • The French Navy’s damaged nuclear sub is out at sea once more

      By Vivienne Machi

      Nov 3, 02:30 PM

      The French submarine Perle, shown here in 2005, has rejoined the fleet following extensive repairs to damage sustained in a 2020 fire. (Alessandro Abbonizio/AFP via Getty Images)

      STUTTGART, Germany — The French Navy’s nuclear submarine Perle has returned to sea following just about a year of work to repair its fire-damaged body and splice it together with a second boat.

      In late October, the 26-year-old nuclear attack submarine departed Cherbourg Naval Base, where it has been undergoing repairs by manufacturer Naval Group since October 2020, and returned to the service’s main base in Toulon, French Ministry of Defense spokesman Hervé Grandjean told reporters.

      The nuclear attack submarine caught fire while undergoing maintenance in June 2020 in Toulon, and burned for 14 hours. The fore of the submarine suffered the most damage, while the aft of the ship, which houses the nuclear power plant and propulsion, was left intact.

      French Minister of Defense Florence Parly announced in October 2020 that Naval Group would repair the ship by cutting the Perle’s aft away, and attaching it to the front part of the Saphir, a nuclear submarine that was withdrawn from service in 2019.

      Grandjean confirmed that the repairs, which began Oct. 14 2020, had been successful, and that the Perle would now return to its scheduled maintenance that was ongoing at the time of the fire. The submarine was originally expected to reenter service in 2022; now, it is scheduled to return just one year later. The enhancements made to the boat throughout the repairs will extend its service life for another decade past 2023, per the French defense ministry.

      The work cost about €110 million (U.S. $127.6 million), with Naval Group responsible for about €50 million, and the French government covering €60 million, Grandjean said. It required about 350,000 hours of work, including about 100,000 hours of studies, and about 300 Naval Group employees worked on the repairs while also ensuring that the next-generation Barracuda nuclear submarine program was not impacted, he noted.

      Despite being half-Saphir, the boat will remain known as Perle, he added. “It is a submarine that was wounded, but not dead,” he said.

      The investigation into the cause of the June 12 2020 fire is ongoing, Grandjean said. Since then, the navy has taken additional measures to avoid another such accident, and plans to budget a few million euros annually to reinforce fire detection systems on its submarine fleet, and conduct regular training events between naval firefighters based in Marseille, and private-sector industrial firefighters.

      Comment





      • French vessel tows British assault ship through the Channel

        By George Allison

        November 11, 2021

        Don’t worry, the FS Garonne hauled HMS Albion to assess its pulling strength and abilities as part of a testing exercise.

        The Garonne is one of four new specialist Loire-class support ships built for the French Navy designed to provide a multitude of services, from supporting diving operations and dealing with pollution in the aftermath of a spillage at sea, to assisting submarines and surface ships, including salvage operations.



        According to the Royal Navy:

        “With HMS Queen Elizabeth deployed and her sister Prince of Wales undergoing maintenance in Portsmouth Naval Base, the next largest British warship HMS Albion – 18,500 tonnes, 176 metres long, 29 wide – acted as the ‘breakdown victim’ to test the Garonne’s towing ability.

        The Plymouth-based amphibious assault ship pretended to be dead in the water in the Channel – with the Garonne throwing her a line, figuratively and physically. From the British side, the complex seamanship exercise was overseen by the MoD’s Salvage and Marine Operations (SALMO) team which provides salvage, towing, and heavy lift capability.”



        Commander James Walton, HMS Albion’s Second in Command, was quoted as saying:

        “Our French Naval counterparts are highly skilled and professional – it was a delight working with them. The ability to integrate quickly and effectively with international partners is a key component to operating as a global navy, supporting global Britain.”

        Before participating in the Towing Exercise, Garonne carried out intensive trials and training to prove her ability to work with NATO’s Submarine Rescue System (NSRS). The jointly owned UK, French and Norwegian system is capable of diving down to a submarine in distress, docking with the escape hatches and carrying out an evacuation.

        You can read more here.

        Comment


        • Dutch shipyard DAMEN submits its SIGMA 10514 frigate for Hellenic Navy program

          POSTED ON SUNDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2021 19:31

          According to information published on the "Naval Defence" website on November 9, 2021, the Dutch shipyard Damen has submitted a proposal to respond to the corvette program of the Hellenic Navy with its SIGMA 10514 frigate design which is already in service with Indonesian and Mexican navies.


          Sigma 10514 frigate for the Indonesian Navy. (Picture source Navy Recognition)

          The Dutch shipyard Damen could offer its Sigma 10514 to the Hellenic Navy with armament similar to the French proposal that includes Exocet MM40 Block3c anti-ship missiles and VL-MICA NG air defense missiles.

          The Dutch Shipyard Damen proposes a 3,000 tons light frigate armed with 16 MICA NGs and 8 Exocet MM40 Block3c, RAM, Leonardo Super Rapid cannon, and two remote-controlled weapon stations. The ship will be equipped with THALES NS110 radar and CAPTAS-2 Variable Depth Sonar and the latest version of the Thales TACTICOS naval combat management system. The onboard TACTICOS combat management system designed by Thales integrates the ship’s sensors, weapons, and other equipment to provide real-time situational awareness.

          The SIGMA 10514 is a guided-missile frigate that was jointly built by Damen Shipyard and PT PAL from Indonesia for the Indonesian Navy. This frigate was designed to conduct different types of missions including the patrol of economic zone, deterrence, maritime security, search-and-rescue, anti-surface, and electronic and anti-air warfare.

          The Sigma 10514 has a length of 105.11 m, a wide of 14.2 m and a and has a displacement of approximately 2,365t. The ship has a crew of 100 people. The ship features a helicopter hangar and an aft flight deck with astern fueling capabilities to hold and operate a 10t helicopter day and night. It can carry two rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs) for patrol and transport operations.

          The Sigma is powered by a combined diesel or electric (CODOE) propulsion system including two 10,000kW maximum continuous ratings (MCR) diesel engines, two 1,300kW electric motors, two double input / single output gearboxes, and two 3.55m controllable pitch propellers. She can reach a top speed of 28 knots (52 km/h) with a maximum cruising speed of 3,600 nautical miles (6,700 km) at 18 knots (33 km/h).

          Comment


          • Bug2
            Bug2 commented
            Editing a comment
            Still don't like how that 35mm CIWS seems to protrude over the VL MICA-NG cells below it......


        • Alsace, the first of the two FREMM DA for the French Navy, during sea trials off Lorient in October 2020. Naval News picture


          French Navy’s First Air Defense FREMM ‘Alsace’ Enters Active Duty

          The French Navy (Marine Nationale) multi-mission frigate (FREMM) "Alsace" entered "active duty" (admission au service actif in French) on 22 November 2021. It is the seventh Aquitaine-class FREMM overall but the first of two air-defense frigate in the FREMM DA (Frégate Européenne Multimissions de Défense Aérienne) variant.

          Xavier Vavasseur 22 Nov 2021

          This means the vessel is now able to conduct operational missions. Alsace is currently taking part in the large scale exercise POLARIS, as part of the Charles de Gaulle strike group.
          “The multi-mission frigate Alsace is ready for operations. It belongs to a class of frigates recognized worldwide for its combat capabilities. The renewal of the Marine Nationale equipment is essential in the current strategic environment. To protect our coasts and our exclusive economic zone, in the face of obstacles to freedom of navigation, in the face of attempted intimidation at sea, in the face of the desire to deny access to certain areas, France needs a strong, efficient and credible Navy”.
          French Defense minister Florence Parly

          On 17 November, the successful firing of the Aster 30 anti-aircraft missile validated Alsace‘s operational capabilities. She now joins the other FREMMs that form the backbone of the French surface fleet.

          The FREMM DA Alsace was launched April 18, 2019 at the Naval Group shipyard of Lorient thirteen months after its keel laying. It is the ninth FREMM frigate built by Naval Group and the seventh one for the French Navy. The FREMM DA program started in 2008. Alsace and Lorraine are replacing the two Cassard-class (Type F70 AA) frigates and their ageing SM-1 surface to air missiles. Cassard was decommissioned on 15 march 2019 and Jean Bart was decommissioned earlier this year.

          Alsace‘ sistership, Lorraine, (the final FREMM for the French Navy) was launched in November 2020 and is set to be delivered in the second half of 2022. Following the delivery of its last FREMM, Naval Group will transition to the FDI, the next generation of frigates for the French Navy.

          All six FREMM in their ASW (anti-submarine warfare) variant have been delivered between 2012 and 2019 to the French Navy. Aquitaine in 2012, Provence in 2015, Languedoc in 2016, Auvergne in April 2017, Bretagne in July 2018 and Normandie in July 2019. On the international side, Morocco received the Mohammed VI in 2014 and Egypt the Tahya Misr in 2015.

          About FREMM DA


          According to Naval Group, the FREMM DA Alsace is a strongly armed surface combatant fitted with the most performant weapon systems and equipment such as: the Herakles multifunction radar, the Aster 15 and 30 surface to air missiles, the Excocet MM 40 anti-ship missiles or the MU 90 torpedo. The performance of its combat system are reinforced with increased radar and communication capacities, a new fire control radar, and a SETIS CMS fitted with specific anti-air defense functions.

          While the FREMM DA retains the same anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities as earlier vessels of the Aquitaine-class (with CAPTAS-4 and UMS 4110 CL sonars), its so called “increased capabilities in air defense” consists in a few notable changes:
          • The Thales Herakles multi-function radar is more powerful, has more transmitter modules, additional wave-forms and search modes for long range air defense
          • A Thales STIR EO MK 2 fire control radar replaces the Najir by Sagem (providing better AAW and ASuW capabilities to the 76mm main gun)
          • Reinforced bridge structure to accommodate the extra weight of the above
          • 4x Sylver A50 vertical launch systems for a total of 32x MBDA Aster 15 or 30 surface to air missiles
          • Additional communication systems and antennas
          • 3x additional consoles in the CIC (the global arrangement inside the CIC has been modified accordingly) for a total of 20 aboard the ship
          • Modifications to the SETIS combat management system with specific air defense functions
          • Additional berthing

          According to the French Navy’s FREMM program manager, the FREMM DA main mission will be area air defense of major Marine Nationale units such as the Charles de Gaulle aircraft-carrier and the three Mistral-class LHDs, within a carrier-strike group or as part of an amphibious group.

          “Alsace”, the first of two FREMM DA for the French Navy starting her initial sea trials in the evening twilight on October 5th 2020.

          Technical characteristics of the FREMM DA
          • Overall length: 142 m
          • Beam: 20 m
          • Displacement: 6,000 tonnes
          • Max. speed: 27 knots
          • Complement: 119 sailors (+ 14 for the aviation crew)
          • Accommodation: 165 men and women
          • Range: 6,000 at 15 knots

          Comment


          • ADMk2
            ADMk2 commented
            Editing a comment
            It’s still a pitiful small VLS up front, particularly if they consider carrying Scalp NG land attack weapons and Aster is starting to look a bit long in the tooth…


        • Italian aircraft carrier 'Cavour' alongside Royal Navy aircraft carrier 'HMS Queen Elizabeth'. Italian MoD picture.


          Italy’s Cavour Aircraft Carrier Successfully Completed Exercise With Navy And Air Force F-35B

          The Italian Navy task group led by Cavour aircraft carrier has successfully conducted last weekend the first joint flight activities with Italian Air Force and Navy F-35B STOVL aircraft, alongside the UK Royal Navy Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG 21) centered on Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, with cross deck operations between the two carriers with Italian and US Marine Corps aircraft.

          Luca Peruzzi 25 Nov 2021

          Full synergy between forces and interaction with the UK Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier-based group

          Operating in the Central Mediterranean, south-east of Sicily island, the joint and international activities were closely followed by Italian Chief of Defence Staff, admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone, accompanied for the occasion by the Italian Navy Chief of Staff, admiral Enrico Credendino and by the Chief of Staff of Italian Air Force general Luca Goretti, on board the Italian Navy flagship.

          International and joint F-35B drills

          The joint exercise registered different “firsts”: Initially two operational F-35Bs belonging to the U.S. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211 “Wake Island Avengers”, – embarked on board the UK aircraft carrier with the Royal Air Force’s 617 Squadron “The Dambusters” F-35Bs -, landed and operated for the first time from ITS Cavour platform. Then an Italian Naval Aviation F-35B belonging to the Gruppo Aerei Imbarcati (GRUPAER) “Wolves”, the only combat fixed-wing unit of the Navy and one Italian Air Force F-35B of the first 5th generation fighter unit of the armed force, the 13° Gruppo (squadron) of the 32° Stormo (Wing) landed and operated for the first time from the UK aircraft carrier. Finally, for the first time the Italian Air Force F-35B landed and operated from the Cavour platform together with the Navy’s F-35B. All flight activities were integrated into the two aircraft carrier groups naval operations.
          “This was an historical day and the beginning of a new chapter in the joint armed forces and naval operations domains. We will continue to force marches towards a complete integration of the two F-35 components of Italian Air Force and Navy, taking to a full interoperability in both the air and naval domains based on the operational procedures used by the two armed forces. Today we saw Italian F-35Bs belonging to the Air Force and the Navy operating together from Cavour platform and from the Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier while USMC F-35Bs operated from the Cavour. The operational training interaction also saw all the four armed forces’ F-35Bs conducting flying activities together, demonstrating strong interoperability between the allied partners”.
          Admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone, Italy’s Chief of Defence

          Italian F-35Bs aboard ‘Cavour’ aicraft carrier. Italian MoD picture.

          “In addition to the excellent capabilities already achieved by the Italian Air Force F-35As, both in the operational field and in real operations, the today’s exercise represents a strong push in the process of developing the national air projection capacity from the sea, with the integration of a fifth generation joint tactical multirole force”, said admiral Cavo Dragone, congratulating with the Navy and Air Force personnel involved in the activity. “The synergies between the Navy and the Air Force in the use of the F-35Bs on board the aircraft carrier, will also be achieved in the deployments ashore, operating jointly in operational situations where suitable landing strips for conventional aircraft are not available”, he added according to an official statement, highlighting the multidomain integration of both components and the Italian Navy F-35Bs participation from ashore to both on-land and on-sea operations.


          “We are happy to work together and to do it also with our British and US Marines colleagues because the joint training of pilots and crews of the ships guarantees full interoperability: the future is today”.
          Admiral Enrico Credendino, Italian’s Navy Chief of Staff
          “For the Air Force the ability to land on aircraft carriers is an element that amplifies and integrates the expeditionary capability of the armed force”.
          “Activities of this kind, as part of the STOVL capability, allow to train to operate in operational contexts and on short runways and demonstrate how much the new 5th generation aircraft, thanks to its versatility of employment, is a fundamental asset for the armed force and for the Defence to ensure the projection of forces in crisis areas”.
          General Luca Goretti, Italian’s Air Force Chief of Staff


          The interaction with the British aircraft carrier group has made it possible to successfully test the joint technical-operational procedures aimed at achieving full interoperability between the two Navies, added the Italian MoD statement.

          Italian air force, navy and defence chief of staffs. Italian Navy picture.

          “The fact that US, Italian and UK F-35Bs are able to fly to and from one another’s decks offers tactical agility and strategic advantage to NATO”, said Royal Navy Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander of the UK Carrier Strike Group in a statement released by UK MoD about the joint activities. “Today’s activity is a telling demonstration of the ability of the UK’s flagship to work seamlessly with other nations; Italy is the third nation to land an F-35B on to the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth and the seventh military operating F-35 aircraft that the UK’s Carrier Strike Group has exercised with on CSG21”, he added.

          The British carrier strike group, to which the ITS Andrea Doria destroyer has been integrated in the last few days, is on its way back to the United Kingdom, while the Italian naval group, also including the Garibaldi amphibious helicopter carrier, the Durand de la Penne destroyer and the Vulcano logistic support ship, headed back to the Taranto naval base. After the participation to the exercise Mare Aperto 2021 in October, the ITS Cavour returned to sea on 11 November to conduct pilot carrier qualifications (CQ) activities with F-35B and AV-8B Plus aircraft.

          Flying formation of Italian Navy and Air Force F-35Bs. Italian Navy picture.

          Cavour aircraft carrier and the F-35B

          Last April, the Cavour aircraft carrier returned from the ‘Ready for Operations’ campaign in the US during which the platform was certified and cleared for operations with the F-35B STOVL by the F-35 Patuxent River Integrated Test Force (ITF). Last July, the first Italian Navy’s F-35B assigned to the GRUPAER unit landed for the first time on the ITS Cavour in the Mediterranean sea. In order to accommodate the fifth generation STOVL aircraft, which is going to replace the in-service AV-8B Harrier II Plus, the Cavour was subjected at the Arsenale Militare Marittimo of Taranto to modifications and enhancements in addition to platform and propulsion overhaul, based on a contract awarded by Italian MoD Naval Armaments Directorate (NAVARM) in April 2018 to Fincantieri, leading an industrial team including Leonardo and consortiums of small-to-medium enterprises. The platform entered the Taranto’s Mar Piccolo to reach the Arsenale Marittimo’s facilities in December 2018 to exit in May 2020 and began an intensive preparation and training period prior to the US campaign.

          Among the activities related to the accommodation of the F-35B, the most relevant and visible were the application of a deck coating suited to withstand the extreme temperatures emanated by the F-35B’s engines. All areas of the flight deck involved in F-35B activities (around 4,200 square meters) have been coated with a thermal metal spray capable of resisting temperatures of up to 1,500° C. The flight deck has been reinforced in correspondence of landing spot 2, 3, 4 and 5 with metal structures added underneath each spot in order to withstand the thermodynamic payloads associated with the aircraft engine exhausts. The thermodynamic stress was evaluated based on eight consecutive landings on the same spot at a distance of 120 seconds from each other. More resistance flight deck and landing lights were introduced while a second spot (spot 4) was equipped with a line-up director sight (LUDS) landing aid system and cleared for night operations in addition to an already existing one. Moreover, to mitigate the thermo-dynamic impact, the life rafts located in the path of the F-35B’s downwash and in the vicinity of the landing spots have been repositioned and thermal deflectors were installed to protect the JP5 refueling stations, the fire-fighting stations, and intakes of some of the air ventilation and conditioning system together with new catwalks on the left side of the flight deck. Other equipment and antennas were repositioned around the stern and bow flight deck parking. Acoustic insulating materials were added to compartments underneath the flight deck and on the island.

          HMS Queen Elizabeth cross deck with Italian Navy aircraft carrier Cavour. Royal Navy picture.

          In addition to the landing approach aid systems already on board and including Leonardo SPN-720 shipborne precision approach radar, a new joint precision approach and landing system (JPALS), and the new AN/SPN-41B version of the instrument carrier landing system (ICLS), were installed alongside the SINS (Shipboard aircraft INertial alignment System). As first international sale, the JPALS is a GPS-based landing system that integrates with shipboard air traffic control and landing system architectures to guide fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters with pinpoint approach and landings on carriers and amphibious assault ships in all weather and surface conditions. It also features anti-jam protection for operating in electronic warfare environments. The whole package was qualified by the US NAVAIR PMA-213 during the US ‘Ready for Operation’ campaign.

          The embarkation of specific equipment for the F-35B requested modifications to the hangar, spaces transformation on the island and flight deck underneath compartments, magazines and maintenance facilities. The Cavour was equipped with a Special Access Program Facility (SAPF) area for aircraft mission planning, briefing, debriefing, protected by high security systems, as well as the automated logistic information system (ALIS), which integrates a broad range of F-35B data to enhance the jet operational availability. In order to support the higher data transfer required by this system, one of the ship’s SATCOM systems was enhanced. The platform was also prepared to embark a back-up containerized SAPF. This will be used not only to support allied nations on-board aircraft detachments but it will be also used for potential ashore deployment (both for operational and training purposes).

          Together with enhancements to the three magazines for mixed weapons accommodation and the movement path optimization to reach the dedicated elevators, an enlarged weapon staging area has been created in front and back of the island. Among other modifications, the two-tonne overhead crane in the hangar’s jet engine workshop has been replaced by a four-tonne safe working load crane suited to handling the heavier F-35B engines and lift-fans, the hangar having received new wall supports for aircraft bomb racks and missile launchers alongside compartment enhancement for flight personnel equipment. The aircraft carrier electrical distribution system was also modified based on the F-35B needs with the introduction of new transformers and converters while the platform gensets were overhauled for performance recovery.

          Italian F-35B landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth. Italian Navy picture.

          The technical support and refueling capabilities have been incremented in terms of JP-5, while introducing oxygen, nitrogen and litio batteries storage/recharge station compartments. The aviation fuel storage capacity has increased by 320 tonnes to meet the F-35Bs higher fuel consumption, and the JP5 refueling points located in the catwalks and hangar bay have been replaced by new lighter and more manageable ones.

          The Cavour’s Integrated System for Automation and Platform Supervision (SIASP) received an enhanced software/hardware architecture for additional control/monitoring functions related to the new embarked systems, in addition to improvements to the platform data distribution network, among other systems. These modifications and equipment has increased the overall platform displacement by circa 300 tonnes, which required stability trails and checks before returning into service.

          The Italian Navy flagship maintains an armament package based on the Eurosam SAAM-IT air defence system with MBDA Aster 15 missiles launched by two groups of 16 Sylver A43 launchers each working together with Leonardo SPY-790 EMPAR multifunction radar, together with two Leonardo 76/62 Super Rapido guns in the Davide/DART configuration with guided ammunitions for anti-ship missile engagements and three OTO 25 mm KBA guns for asymmetric threats protection.

          Comment


          • Danish Navy Frigate Kills 4 Pirates in Gulf of Guinea Anti-Piracy Mission

            By: Dzirhan Mahadzir

            November 25, 2021 2:36 PM

            The Royal Danish Navy frigate HDMS Esbern Snare (F342). Danish Armed Forces Photo

            KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – The Royal Danish Navy frigate HDMS Esbern Snare (F342) engaged pirates on Wednesday during an anti-piracy deployment in the Gulf of Guinea off West Africa, killing four pirates and capturing the remaining four.

            The ship was responding to reports of pirate activity and heading to the scene while sending it’s embarked Royal Danish Air Force MH-60R helicopter in advance to observe the area, according to a Thursday news release from the Danish Armed Forces. The helicopter sighted a speedboat that afternoon with eight men on board in the vicinity of merchant ships in the area and observed that the boat was carrying a number of piracy-associated tools, including ladders.

            By the evening, Esbern Snare was close enough to launch rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs) carrying Danish naval special forces personnel and called on the boat to halt and permit boarding, the news release said. When the boat refused to respond to the call, warning shots were fired, with the pirates responding by firing directly at the personnel in the RHIBs. A brief firefight then ensued, in which no Danish personnel were hit but five pirates were shot, with four of them killed and one wounded. The motorboat sank after the firefight and the surviving four pirates and the bodies of the dead pirates were taken aboard the frigate, where the wounded pirate was given medical treatment. The release said that Denmark’s inter-ministerial working group will handle what will happen next to the pirates.

            Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told a news conference that the soldiers’ intervention had “probably prevented concrete pirate attacks against vessels in the region” and that the ship had “made an important and significant contribution to security in the Gulf of Guinea.” Frederiksen was scheduled to visit the ship today during a visit to Ghana, but Danish news wire Ritzau reported that the visit has now been cancelled.

            The Danish government in March announced plans to deploy a frigate to escort merchant ships and prevent pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea following calls by the Danish shipping industry to take action against pirate attacks in the region. An average of 40 Danish merchant ships sail through the area, the majority belonging to Copenhagen-based Maersk, the world’s largest shipping company.

            Esbern Snare left Denmark from Naval Base Frederikshavn on Oct. 24 and arrived in the region at the start of November to begin its mission, which will last until April 2022. A total of 175 personnel are deployed on the mission, including military police, naval special forces and an expanded medical team. The mission is a national one, though the frigate will carry out capacity-building activities with several African nations in the area.

            Piracy in the area has been a major concern, with local navies stepping up their operations to prevent piracy while a number of European countries, along with the United States, have deployed to the region for anti-piracy missions and to help capacity-building for nearby African nations. The United Kingdom offshore patrol vessel HMS Trent (P224) arrived in the region in early October for a three-month deployment, while France led the multilateral maritime security exercise Grand African Nemo 2021 from Nov. 2 through 7 in the Gulf of Guinea, which included 19 regional and ten international nations participating. USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB-4) also operated in the region from August through September for counter-piracy and capacity-building operations.

            Good on the Danes!

            Comment



            • The "Duguay-Trouin" on its way out of the main construction hall at the Naval Group's submarine shipyard in Cherbourg. It is the second Suffren-class SSN. Naval Group picture.


              Naval Group Rolls Out 2nd Barracuda Type Submarine

              Naval Group rolled out the second Barracuda type nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) for the French Navy (Marine Nationale) on 26 November 2021 at its submarine shipyard in Cherbourg, Normandie. The "Duguay-Trouin" (S636) is the second Suffren-class SSN.

              Xavier Vavasseur 27 Nov 2021

              The information comes from local media La Presse de la Manche. Unlike the large scale symbolic launch ceremony of the first-in-class boat Suffren (S635) in July 2019, there was no formal event for the Duguay-Trouin, and more surprising, no formal communication from the French Navy, ministry of defence, DGA or even the shipbuilder.

              The keel laying for the submarine took place in June 2009. Yesterday, the 4,500 tons hull was taken outside of the construction hall via 24 walkers. Duguay-Trouin will continue outfitting work outside the construction hall before it actual launch in the water (the hull is moved on a platform and then lowered in the water), likely in late December or early 2022. Suffren was actually launched in the water in August 2019. Duguay-Trouin is set to be delivered at the end of 2022. Naval Group has to deliver four SSNs of the class by 2026. The final boat of the class, Casabianca, is expected to be handed over to the French Navy in 2029.

              To learn more about the Suffren-class / Barracuda type SSNs, check out our recent in depth coverage, following a rare access inside Suffren:


              World’s Newest Class of Nuclear Attack Submarine: Rare Access Inside Suffren

              Leading Navies are secretive about the full capabilities of their submarines. In a rare privilege, Naval News has been allowed aboard the French Navy’s (Marine Nationale) newest boat, Suffren. Here is what it is like to step inside a next generation nuclear-powered attack submarine.

              Comment



              • MBDA/Michel Hans picture


                OCCAR Progressing Towards Charles De Gaulle Carrier’s SAAM-FR Update

                FSAF-PAAMS program direction managed with its stakeholders the hardware validation of the redesigned radar cabinet of SAAM-FR system that ensure air defense to the French Navy's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, the Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR) said on November 30.

                Naval News Staff 02 Dec 2021

                The successful Critical Design Review has been held in Thales premises, on time accordingly to the contractual planning that foresees next incremental steps with tests on-board, taking advantage of next summer ship technical stop and a final qualification end 2023.

                This In-Service Support activity benefits of the synergies pursued by OCCAR/FSAF-PAAMS between the Arabel radar of SAAM-FR and the Arabel radars of FR-IT SAMP/T ground based air defense system.


                Picture of the participants gathering OCCAR, French DGA, GQA representative & industry

                More than 20 years after SAAM commissioning, the confidence that France has in OCCAR/FSAF-PAAMS capability to manage the air defense of its key assets vessels demonstrates also the relevant Through Life Sustainment Management promoted by OCCAR,” the international organization said.

                The French Navy variant of the SAAM system, the SAAM-FR, has been installed on board the Charles de Gaulle in 1999. SAAM-FR is based on the Aster 15N missile (N for Navalised).

                The Fire Control System is based on the Arabel X Band Multifunctional Radar and is in communication with the Combat Management System of the Carrier (Senit VIII System). The Arabel Radar is at the top of dedicated mast and a Sylver launcher has been installed in a place specially prepared for it.

                Comment


                • State Department approves potential frigate sale to Greece, despite agreement with France

                  By Megan Eckstein

                  Dec 11, 07:57 AM

                  An artist's rendering of Lockheed Martin's Hellenic Future Frigate design, shown alongside the MH-60R helicopter it would operate with if Greece picks this from six current options for its surface navy modernization effort. (Lockheed Martin)

                  WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department on Friday approved a pair of potential deals for frigate construction and modernization with Greece, as the Hellenic Navy navigates a complex effort to upgrade its surface fleet.

                  Greece has an ongoing competition for a three-part plan: upgrade its four Hydra-class MEKO 200 frigates; obtain an interim capability it can operate while the MEKOs are at the maintenance yard; and buy four new frigates. Additional objectives, as outlined to the U.S. Navy, were to involve the Greek industrial base and to increase interoperability with the U.S. as a NATO ally and frequent collaborator in the Mediterranean Sea and elsewhere.

                  Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Navy paired to offer one potential solution, in which the defense contractor would upgrade the MEKOs and sell a multi-mission frigate based off its Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship, dubbed the Hellenic Future Frigate, and the Navy would provide four decommissioned ships — potentially decommissioned LCSs or cruisers.

                  The State Department on Dec. 10 announced it had approved a $2.5 billion sale for the modernization piece and had notified Congress about the potential deal. It separately approved a $6.9 billion sale for the four new frigates and submitted congressional notification for that as well.

                  The modernization deal, if executed, would include upgrading the MEKOs by installing the Close-in Weapon Systems (CIWS) Phalanx BLK 1B Baseline 2, MK 45 five-inch 54 caliber guns, the COMBATSS-21 Combat Management System developed for the Freedom LCSs, the AN/SQS-56 sonar and much more. Raytheon Missiles and Defense, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and VSE would be the key contractors.

                  The new construction deal would include four multi-mission surface combatants with the Aegis-based COMBATSS-21 Combat Management System, 200 Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) BLK 2, 32 Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rocket (ASROC) missiles, 32 MK-54 All Up Round Lightweight Torpedoes and more — plus support equipment, training, technical support, logistics and more to ensure the new ships fold smoothly into fleet operations.

                  Two industry sources familiar with the ongoing talks, but unable to comment on the record because the competition is being handled at a government-to-government level, told Defense News Greece formally extended a letter of request to the U.S. outlining its needs. The State Department approval represents the maximum solution that could be signed into agreement. Once a letter of agreement is submitted, the U.S. and Greece would negotiate whether Greece wants the whole package or wants to scale down in any areas.

                  Still, the fate of this deal is unclear. Greece had been pursuing options from six qualified government/industry teams, asking each separately to submit letters of agreement (LOAs) outlining their bids. For the U.S., this congressional notification is a final step before the LOA can be sent over to Athens — if not in the last week of December, then by the time Greek officials return from holiday on Jan. 7, the industry sources said.

                  In September, France announced it had struck a deal with Greece: the government approved the sale of three frigates from France’s Naval Group — an industry group majority owned by the state — for 3 billion euros, or about $3.4 billion, with an option down the line for a fourth ship.

                  The announcement included some specifics, including where these FDIs (frégate de defense et d’intervention) would fit in the ongoing French production line, but did not address other requirements conveyed to the U.S. team, such as business opportunities for the Greek defense industrial base, how the solution would increase interoperability or what an interim solution might be.

                  The September announcement was coupled with the signing of a strategic defense partnership between French President Emmanuel Macron and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

                  Still, it’s still unclear how likely Greece is to execute the deal with France. French Ministry of Defense spokesman Hervé Grandjean said shortly after that a memorandum of understanding had been signed, but that “a contract in due form remains to be signed in the next months. We are opening a period of three months at the end of which the official contract will be signed.” That statement came in late September, meaning the end of the three-month period is coming up in a matter of weeks.

                  The industry sources told Defense News the U.S. team was specifically asked by Greece to continue work on its own bid despite the announcement from France. The U.S. bid was slowed a bit, as participants tried to understand whether anything in the competition had changed, but the sources said Greece made clear it still wanted the U.S. to submit its comprehensive proposal. They said it’s possible the French deal could not be executed, or that it could be executed in addition to Greece selecting some pieces of the U.S. bid to pursue.

                  The sources noted that Greece specifically wanted Lockheed Martin to tailor its multi-mission frigate solution in certain ways to bolster anti-air warfare and anti-submarine warfare capabilities, as Defense News previously reported, even though the French frigate is an anti-air frigate, for example.

                  Comment


                  • Zoot Allors, Paris is not 'appy

                    Not this time, says France to US over rival frigate offers to Greece


                    A German-designed Hydra-class frigate in service with Greece’s Hellenic Navy in 2020. Picture: Greek National Defence Ministry via AFP
                    • AFP
                    • DECEMBER 11, 2021

                    French authorities have fired a shot across the bow of another US attempt to sink one of its foreign defence contracts, after the loss of the submarines sale to Australia. But this time the US gave France advanced notice.

                    Greece will honour a deal to buy three frigates from France, according to Paris and a source in the Greek defence ministry on Saturday, after a competing offer from the US threatened to overturn the contract.

                    “Since we have been in discussion with the Greeks, the American offer is no longer on the table … we also signed the contract with the Greeks. It was initialled a few days ago,” France’s armed forces ministry told AFP.

                    A source at Greece’s defence ministry said “the agreement is on and moving forward”.

                    “It has been done at the highest possible level. The Greek prime minister himself has announced it,” the source told AFP on Saturday.

                    On Friday the US State Department said it had approved the sale for $US6.9 billion ($9.6bn) of four Lockheed Martin combat frigates, known as multi-mission surface combatant ships.

                    The announcement suggested France faced a fresh commercial arms deal threat after the US wrested away a massive submarine contract for Australia in a shock announcement on September 15 that ruptured relations between Washington and Paris.

                    France recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia and labelled it a “stab in the back” by an ally when Canberra ditched a longstanding deal worth billions of euros to buy conventional French submarines for US nuclear-powered vessels.

                    Later in September, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis sealed a memorandum of understanding with French President Emmanuel Macron to buy three and possibly four French Belharra frigates for three billion euros ($4.7bn).

                    However France said that this time — unlike for the Australian submarine deal — the US had given Paris advance warning of its announcement.

                    “The Americans had warned us that this announcement was going to come out,” the armed forces ministry said.

                    “They wrote to us, saying that ‘as part of good relations, following the AUKUS problem, we are warning you’,” it said, using the name given to the Australia-UN-US pact that sunk France’s submarine deal with Canberra.

                    “There is no inclination (on their part) to go further,” the ministry added.

                    “What happened there was just a result of an administrative process, which it was apparently complicated for them to stop from an administrative point of view.”

                    On Friday, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency also approved a $US2.5bn Lockheed program to upgrade Greece’s MEKO class frigate, including adding and upgrading weapons systems and electronics.

                    The French ships would be built by Naval Group for delivery to the Greek navy in 2025 and 2026.

                    AFP
                    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
                    It is by the juice of sapho that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire stains, the stains become a warning.
                    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.

                    Comment


                    • France confirms the acquisition of three FDI HN or Belharra-class frigates by Greece

                      POSTED ON SUNDAY, 12 DECEMBER 2021 14:57

                      Despite the announcement by the United States on December 10, 2021, regarding the approval of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Greece of Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) ships, it was announced that Greece has already signed an agreement with France for the purchase of three French-made FDI HN or Belharra-class frigates.


                      Artist rendering of FDI HN or Belharra-class frigates for Hellenic Navy. (Picture source Naval Group)

                      The acquisition of new frigates for the Hellenic Navy is a top priority for the Greek government, as well as the upgrade of existing warships. Greece could invest 5 billion euros in the acquisition of four new frigates.

                      According to news published by the French newspaper "Le Figaro" on December 11, 2021, Greece has confirmed that the project for the acquisition of three frigates will continue.

                      In May 2021, French company Naval Group has announced an offer to provide four FDI HN frigates to the Hellenic Navy and also to modernize MEKO ships.

                      In September 2021, Navy Recognition has reported that Nikólaos Panayotópoulos, the Greek Minister of Defence, Pierre Eric Pommellet, CEO of Naval Group, and Eric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to open negotiations to provide the Hellenic Navy (HN) with three Defence and Intervention frigates (FDI HN) and their equipment as well as an optional additional frigate.

                      The FDI (Frégate de défense et d'intervention - English: Frigate for defense and intervention) is a French military program to design and create a planned class of frigates to be used by the French Navy. The FDI-HN frigate is marketed for export under the name Belharra.

                      The Belharra frigates will be able to conduct a wide range of missions such as anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-aircraft warfare, patrol, maritime security, control of exclusive economic zone (EEZ), asymmetric warfare, and Special Forces activities.

                      She will have a length of 122 m, a beam of 17.7 m, and a displacement of 4,460 tons. The ship will have a crew of 110 people as well as an aircrew detachment of approximately 15 people. She will also have a flight deck and one hangar to accommodate one unmanned VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) aircraft or one NH-90 naval helicopter.

                      The Belharra frigates can be armed with one Oto Melara 76mm Super Rapid gun (mounted in stealth cupola), two 20 mm remotely operated automatic cannons, 8 Exocet MM-40 Block 3 anti-ship, two Sylver A50 8-cell VLS (Vertical Launching System) for MBDA Aster 15/30 surface-to-air missiles and two dual torpedo tubes with EuroTorp MU90 Impact torpedoes.

                      She will be powered by a combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) propulsion system. She will have the capability to reach a top speed of 27 knots (50.0 km/h) with a maximum cruising range of 5,000 nautical miles (9,300 km) at 15 knots (27.8 km/h).

                      Comment





                      • Naval Group Lays The Keel Of The First FDI Frigate For The French Navy

                        Naval Group today laid the keel of the first FDI (defence and intervention frigate) ordered by the French defence procurement agency (DGA) and destined to the French Navy (Marine Nationale).

                        Naval News Staff 16 Dec 2021

                        Naval Group press release

                        This step marks the beginning of the assembly of the ship in the construction hall. The frigate will be delivered in 2024. It is the first of a series of five ships to be delivered between 2024 and 2030.

                        On the same day, the Panoramic Sensors and Intelligence Module (PSIM), the integrated mast of the FDI, was also powered up. This important milestone symbolises the start of the testing of the frigate’s complete combat system, several months before its final integration on the ship.

                        Pierre Eric Pommellet, CEO of Naval Group, said:
                        “We are proud to be here today to mark this major milestone in the industrial production of the first defence and intervention frigate for the French Navy. These multi-role, cyber-secure and scalable ships will ensure the superiority of information and engagement as well as the ability to last at sea of the naval forces that will operate them. Already chosen by Greece for its Navy, this ship will also enable Naval Group to develop its international outreach. We remain fully committed to empower the sovereignty of France and our partner countries.”


                        Intense industrial activity at the Naval Group Lorient site: designer, builder and integrator of the ship.

                        Five FDI frigates will be ordered by the French defence procurement agency (DGA) for the French Navy. This program reinforces the technological lead of the French naval industrial base, and of Naval Group in particular.

                        The first of the series will be named Amiral Ronarc’h, after a great admiral, Chief of Staff of the French Navy between 1919 and 1920, who distinguished himself during the First World War at the head of marines and sailors.

                        The FDI program will support employment in the shipbuilding industry throughout France and, more particularly, in Lorient and its Naval Group site.

                        Industrial key figures
                        • 100% digital conception – zero paper plans ;
                        • redundant and distributed IT architecture based on two data centres ;
                        • 1 million hours of production work for each unit of the series at Naval Group Lorient site ;
                        • 1 million hours of conception and development for the program ;
                        • more than 1,200 Naval Group staff working full time on the programme ;
                        • 400 subcontractors.
                        Many export opportunities

                        Naval Group is positioned on the segment of intermediary tonnage ships with [email protected]®, the name of the FDI frigate for export markets.

                        Following the signature on 28 September 2021 of a memorandum of understanding by the Greek Minister of Defence, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, Pierre Eric Pommellet, CEO of Naval Group and Eric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, negotiations are underway for the acquisition by Greece of three FDI HN frigates and one in option, all to be built in Lorient, as part of a strategic partnership between France and Greece.


                        The PSIM of the first FDI

                        An innovative, 100% digital and cyber-secure multi-role combat frigate

                        The FDI is a high sea vessel with a 4,500 tons class displacement. Multipurpose and resilient, she is capable of operating, alone or within a naval force. She offers capabilities for all types of warfare: anti-surface, anti-air, anti-submarine and as well as for special forces projection. Bringing together the best of French naval technologies on a compact platform, the FDI is a powerful and innovative frigate, designed to meet the evolution of threats.

                        It is the first frigate to benefit from a digital architecture that will allow her continuous adaptation to technological and operational evolutions. As a result, the FDI will be able to address current and future threats and to handle always more data.

                        The FDI will be the first French frigate natively protected against cyber threats, with two data centres virtually accommodating a great part of the ship applications. The FDI introduces the concept of a dedicated system for asymmetric warfare. This system will enable the coordination and conduct of the fight against small and close air and surface threats, including booby trapped boats.

                        Strongly armed (Exocet MM40 B3C anti-surface missiles, Aster 15/30 anti-air missiles, MU90 antisubmarine torpedoes, artillery), the FDI is able to embark simultaneously a helicopter (10 tons class such as NH90) or the future Joint Light Helicopter and an unmanned aerial vehicle (up to 700kg). She can also receive a Special Forces detachment with their two commando boats. They are equipped with the new generation Seafire radar with four fixed panels, developed by Thales, which, combined with the missile delivery system, offers unmatched area defence capabilities.
                        ​Artist impression of the future FDI / Amiral Ronarc’h-class Frigate of the French Navy (seen here in its final configuration). DGA picture.Technical specifications
                        • displacement: 4,500 tons class ;
                        • length: 122 meters ;
                        • beam: 18 meters ;
                        • max. speed: 27 knots ;
                        • autonomy: 45 days ;
                        • accomodation: 125 + 28 passengers.

                        Comment



                        • The entire fleet of French Navy E-2C Hawkeyes during a recent photo-op. The Three E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes are set to replace these aircraft. Anthony Pecchi / French Navy picture.


                          Northrop Grumman Wins Contract For French Navy E-2D Aircraft

                          Northrop Grumman won a $354 million U.S. Navy contract to start production on three E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft for the French Navy (Marine Nationale).

                          Xavier Vavasseur 23 Dec 2021

                          The U.S. Department of Defense contract announcement issued on 22 December 2021 reads:

                          Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Military Aircraft Systems, Melbourne, Florida, is awarded a $353,584,118 fixed-price incentive (firm target) modification (P00034) to a previously awarded contract (N0001918C1037). This modification provides for the production and delivery of three E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft for the government of France. Work will be performed in St. Augustine, Florida (27.52%); Syracuse, New York (19.07%); Melbourne, Florida (6.66%); Indianapolis, Indiana (5.32%); Menlo Park, California (4.31%); El Segundo, California (4.21%); Rolling Meadows, Illinois (2.22%); Aire-sure-l’Adour, France (2.16%); Owego, New York (1.62%); Edgewood, New York (1.42%); Marlboro, Massachusetts (1.35%); Woodland Hills, California (1.29%); Greenlawn, New York (1.24%); Windsor Locks, Connecticut (1.15%); various locations within the continental U.S. (20.06%); and various locations outside the continental U.S. (0.42%), and is expected to be completed April 2027. Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $353,584,118 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

                          For the record, the French Ministry of Armed Forces announced one year ago that it had approved the acquisition of three E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft.

                          Led by the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA), this procurement is being carried out under a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement with the U.S. government. The United States’ State Department approved this FMS in July 2020.

                          An E-2C Hawkeye on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle ready for catapulting. ©Yoann Letourneau/Marine Nationale/Défense

                          The French E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes are set to enter production at the Northrop Grumman plant in St Augustine, Florida, in 2024. Based on a briefing by the program officer, Captain Arrobio, during Sea Air Space 2021, the three aircraft could be the last E-2Ds to ever come out of the production line (should there be no follow-on order from the U.S. Navy or FMS customers). They will be delivered by the U.S. Navy in 2028. The Aircraft will then be flown from the United States to France for delivery. They will replace the existing E-2C Hawkeye of the French Navy. According to the French Armed Forces statement, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye designed by Northrop-Grumman, represents a generational leap forward compared to the E-2C Hawkeye. Its active electronically scanned array (AESA), cockpit and data links are notably improved.

                          As we reported previously, the French aircraft will feature in-flight refueling capability. The three E-2D aircraft ordered for the French Navy will be adapted to French requirements by integrating a specific computer, developed by the French Aerospace Industry Service (SIAé), which will guarantee the system’s autonomous upgrade capability.

                          About E-2D Advanced Hawkeye

                          An E-2D Advanced Hawkeye with VAW-126 is refueled in the air. US Navy Photo

                          Built by Northrop Grumman, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is the latest variant of the E-2 Airborne early warning aircraft, replacing the E-2C Hawkeye. It brings revolutionary capabilities to the carrier strike group, including the new and powerful AN/APY-9 radar, which is a two-generational leap in technology.

                          The APY-9 radar is an Ultra High Frequency (UHF) surveillance system that provides both mechanical and electronic scanning capabilities designed to “see” smaller targets – and more of them – at a greater range, particularly in coastal regions and over land.

                          ARABIAN SEA (July 18, 2019) An E-2D Hawkeye assigned to the “Bluetails” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121 makes an arrested landing on flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dan Snow/Released)

                          The U.S. Navy has awarded a multi-year procurement contract to Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. for the purchase of 24 E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft in full rate production for fiscal years 2019-2023. This is the second MYP contract awarded to NGSC. The Navy awarded the first in 2014 for the production of 25 E-2D aircraft. The U.S. congress later increased the number to 26 aircraft bringing the total number of E-2Ds on order for the U.S. Navy to 50 aircraft.

                          On the export side, Japan has 13 E-2D on order while France is procuring three new Advanced Hawkeyes to replace the in service E-2C Hawkeyes.

                          Comment



                          • The keel of the first BRF (Bâtiment Ravitailleur de Forces - Forces Supply Vessel) was laid at the Chantiers de L'Atlantique shipyard in St Nazaire. The forward section of the ship was built by Fincantieri in Italy.


                            Low Key Keel Laying For French Navy’s New Class Of Logistic Support Ship

                            The keel-laying of the “Jacques Chevallier”, the first of four new logistic support ships (LSS) known as "BRF" for the French Navy (Marine Nationale) took place at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in St Nazaire.

                            Xavier Vavasseur 24 Dec 2021

                            The spokesman of the French Ministry of Defense, Hervé Grandjean, shared pictures of the event on Twitter. The actual keel laying date is not specified but likely took place today (24 December 2021). Naval News tried to contact the MoD and the shipbuilder to confirm the date of the event but no one responded.
                            “Future replacements for [Durance-class] tankers, the BRF will be able to provide long-term support to vessels deployed on the high seas, by supplying them with fuels, ammunition, spare parts and food, allowing them to improve their operational efficiency”
                            French Navy statement on Twitter

                            “The Jacques Chevallier force supply vessel is now on hold at Chantiers de l’Atlantique. Thanks to the military planning law, these vesselss will replace the ageing tankers of the Marine Nationale . The rise of our Armies continues!”
                            Hervé Grandjean, Spokesman of the French MoD, statement on Twitter

                            A keel laying ceremony was initially set to take place on 14 December 2021 (two days prior to the keel laying of the first FDI new generation frigate for the French Navy) and Naval News was set to cover the event. However the ceremony was cancelled at the time due to bad weather: The forward section of the ship, which was built in Italy by local shipbuilder Fincantieri, could not be delivered in time. It appears that the keel laying took place on Christmas Eve, with no ceremony, no fanfare and no coverage.

                            About BRF / Chevallier-class Replenishment Tanker

                            Artist impression of the future BRF vessel. Naval Group image.

                            The construction of the first of four new replenishment tankers / supply vessels for the French navy (Marine Nationale) started in May 2020 at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in cooperation with Naval Group. The future vessels will be known as the Jacques Chevallier-class.

                            Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Naval Group were awarded a contract for the construction of four supply vessels in January 2019. The vessels are set to be delivered between the end of 2022 and 2029. It is part of a Franco-Italian program led by OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’Armement – Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation), on behalf of the French defense procurement agency (DGA) and its Italian counterpart NAVARM. As such, the design of the French BRF design is based on the Italian Navy LSS (Vulcano-class) designed by Fincantieri.

                            Safran Electronics & Defense was selected to supply the PASEO XLR extra long-range naval optronic identification & fire control system while to all four vessels of the class, while Vestdavit has won a tender from Chantiers de l’Atlantique to supply the davit systems for the BRFs. The RAPIDFire naval gun system developed by the consortium formed by Thales and Nexter has been chosen as the main artillery and CIWS for the class (two systems per ship). GE is providing the propulsion systems (MV7000 drives) of the vessels.

                            Main characteristics of the BRF vessels

                            Gross tonnage: 28,700 GRT
                            Displacement at full load: 31,000 tonnes
                            Overall length: 194 m
                            Overall width: 27.60 m
                            Crew capacity: 190 people (including 130 crew members and capacity for 60 passengers)
                            Total deadweight: 14,870 tonnes
                            Freight volume: 13,000 m3
                            Total installed capacity: 24 MW
                            Artillery: 40 mm guns
                            Polaris® Combat Management System

                            Comment


                            • Long-overdue MLU of Greek Hydra-class frigates gains traction

                              22 DECEMBER 2021

                              by Guy Toremans


                              The MLU of the Hyrda-class frigates, to be carried out at Hellenic Shipyards in Skaramanga, is intended to extend their service lives to around 2035. (Guy Toremans)

                              The US State Department has approved the possible sale of equipment for the mid-life upgrade (MLU) of the Hellenic Navy's four Hydra (Meko 200 HN)-class frigates for an estimated cost of EUR2.22 billion (USD2.50 billion).

                              The Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case was notified to US Congress during December.

                              The Hellenic Navy has been planning the MLU of its Hydra-class frigates, which were commissioned between 1992–98, for several years, but the programme has been postponed multiple times due to the country's financial difficulties.

                              The modernisation effort will include the renewal or upgrade of most of the frigates' onboard obsolete sensors and weapon systems.


                              Comment


                              • JANUARY 5, 2022

                                ANALYSIS


                                Learning the lessons – the loss the Norwegian frigate Helge Ingstad

                                In 2021 the Accident Investigation Board – Norway (AIBN) published a detailed report covering the loss of HNoMS Helge Ingstad after she collided with an oil tanker in November 2018. There is much to be learned from this event that is applicable to the RN and global navies. In this in-depth, although far from exhaustive, article we describe the incident and look at some of the key lessons.

                                The accident in summary

                                On 8th November 2018, the frigate Helge Ingstad (HING) was heading south down Hjeltefjord returning to her home base at Haakonsvern, near Bergen after participation in NATO exercise Trident Juncture. Just after 0400, HING collided with the bow of the Sola TS, a fully laden 112,939 DWT tanker, heading north having just departed from Sture oil terminal. The bulbous anchor hawse pipe on the tanker’s starboard bow ripped a large gash down the aft starboard side of the frigate. As HING heeled slightly under the impact, the tear in the side was extended sufficiently below the waterline to cause significant flooding.

                                Fortunately, there were no fatalities but HING suffered a brief total electrical failure after the impact. Power was partially restored but confusion and internal communication problems limited damage the control effort. Having lost steering and engine control, the ship ran aground on rocks about 10 minutes after the collision. Believing the flooding made capsize a likely, the crew abandoned ship in an orderly manner, assisted by tugs and rescue craft. Despite efforts to pin the ship on the rocks by tugs and with steel hawsers, HING progressively flooded sinking until almost entirely submerged.

                                Some months later, after complex clearance diving operations to remove fuel and live weapons and then secure chains beneath the wreck, HNIG was raised off the sea bed using a heavy lift crane barge. The wreck was eventually placed on a semi-submersible transportation barge and taken to Haakonsvern for further investigations and to remove sensitive material. Temporary patches were applied to the damaged shell plating and the ship was refloated. Unsurprisingly the navy declared the ship a total loss and in Jan 2021 handed her over to be scrapped, a process that is ongoing at the time of writing.

                                The cost of the accident is estimated at $80m for the salvage, operation, not to mention enormous reputational damage. Building a direct replacement for a ship that ceased production a decade ago is estimated at $1.4 billion and not considered viable. The Norwegian Navy was already overstretched, primarily occupied with monitoring its aggressive neighbour, lost 20% of its frigate force.

                                Around the world and in Norway particularly, there was considerable shock that this could happen, especially involving a warship operating close to home and in waters monitored by a traffic management system. Some hasty judgements were made by those speculating about the event, with some suggesting the accident “must have been the fault of the tanker crew as a highly trained naval personnel on board a modern warship with sophisticated sensors would be unlikely to make such a mistake.” Some also assumed the subsequent sinking was because: “the ship must have been poorly constructed by the Spanish shipbuilder Navantia as warships are specifically designed to survive damage and flooded compartments”. The investigation has proved neither of these assumptions to be the case.

                                Map showing the area of the accident on the west coast of Norway (via Google) and timeline of the collision and grounding (via AIBN).

                                Standing into danger

                                The root causes of the accident were entirely human error, primarily on the bridge of the warship. It was a clear and calm night and there were no technical problems that contributed to the initial collision.

                                HING was proceeding down the Fjord at a brisk 17–18 knots and was not transmitting her name and position on AIS. The Fedje Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) which managed shipping movements in the area was notified of the frigate’s arrival an hour and 23 minutes before the collision but the operator failed to plot her on the tracking system. Sola TS told the VTS when she left the oil terminal but the VTS operator had forgotten about HING and initially did nothing. The tanker was showing standard navigation lights but also had powerful floodlights illuminated to assist crew at work on the deck as was their standard practice.

                                The Norwegian Navy (Sjøforsvaret) was short of qualified navigation officers and the officer of the watch (OOW) in charge of navigating the ship was young and relatively inexperienced. The frigate had a crew of 137 on board, the majority were asleep at the time of the incident. 7 personnel standing on watch on the bridge, including the OOW, an officer and a rating under training and 4 other ratings.

                                The OOW and trainee officer discussed the floodlights but believed they were ashore and stationary. Confirmation bias and lack of experience led the OOW to keep thinking this was the case until too late. Inexplicably there was only brief use of navigational radar and AIS to check the situation and they interpreted the tanker as a stationary object alongside at the terminal. There was a reliance on visual cues for too long and ironically the accident would probably have never happened if the visibility had been poor.

                                The pilot on the tanker saw HING in the distance and called VTS asking if they knew what this unknown vessel was. VTS was initially unable to help, having forgotten about HING. The tanker tried to signal the frigate by flashing lamp but it was not seen, probably obscured by the deck lights. The VTS operator then remembered HING and immediately informed the pilot on the tanker of her presence. The pilot called the frigate by VHF radio requesting an immediate turn to starboard. The Pilot had not clearly identified which ship was calling and the OOW thought he was speaking to another vessel approaching on their port side. Despite now being much closer, he still thought the lights were stationary and on the shore and there was no space to make a turn to starboard. VTS, which held both vessels clearly on radar, did not intervene to tell HING to stop, assuming the two ships, now in contact, would resolve the issue.

                                With the ships just 500m distance apart, the tanker stopped engines and radioed HING to take urgent avoiding action. At this point, the OOW finally realised the lights were a moving vessel and ordered a turn to port followed by rudder amidships, attempting to steer around the tanker. Unfortunately, the turn was made just a few seconds too late and a collision was unavoidable. Contact between the ship lasted 5 seconds and tore a 46m gash down the side, severing cables, pipes, control panels, switchboards and watertight bulkheads and doors.



                                Losing the ship

                                In the moments after the impact there was considerable confusion on the bridge. The team was trying at work out what exactly had happened and did not know how seriously the ship had been damaged or whether the crew had suffered fatalities and injuries. Stress and fear were factors in a situation that was beyond what they had trained for. There was a 10 second total power failure and it took several minutes for many systems to be manually restarted.

                                The Integrated Platform Management System (IMPS) which is the key technology used to control and monitor lean-manned modern vessels showed 564 alarms but this mass of information did not indicate the priorities for action. At the same time, they lost steering and engine control on the bridge and were unable to communicate with the Machinery Control Room (MCR) which also acted as HQ1 damage control centre.

                                Down below the sleeping crew were suddenly jolted awake but most had no idea what had happened. A ratings mess on 3 deck was flooded and some officers were trapped in cabins in 2 deck, fortunately without serious injury but needing assistance to escape. The CO was asleep in his cabin behind the bridge and was thrown from his bunk by the impact. Dazed he went quickly to the ops room and to the bridge. The frigate was now heading towards the shore are about 5 knots with no control possible from the bridge. The steering gear was in full working order and the sailor on watch was contacted by sound-powered telephone but did not understand what was said. Realising they would soon run aground, the OOW called “full astern”, over the main broadcast. This was not heard by the propulsion controller or those in the aft main engine room. The OOW ordered the anchor be dropped but it was too late and finally “brace, brace, brace” was called before the ship hit the rocky shore almost directly bows-on at 0411, smashing the bow-mounted sonar dome.

                                Watch changes had just taken place in the MCR/HQ1 just before the accident and some of the relieved team were still around. They knew something serious had happened, possibly an engine or electrical switchboard explosion but observing damage and flooding, then thought they had run aground. Personnel were sent to inspect the lower compartments and eventually confirmed flooding in three separate watertight compartments – the after generator room, junior rates mess and storerooms. Some attempts at shoring and Damage Control were made in the generator room but the hole was large, obscured by pipes and live electrical cables. The loss of saltwater main pressure reduced the effectiveness of the already inadequate bilge pump system which failed to remove any water from the ship. Many hatches and doors that would maintain watertight integrity were left open, essentially to facilitate movement of personnel and portable pumps which proved ineffective.

                                The electronic tool used to calculate the stability of the ship (which the Norwegian Navy had previously agreed was not fully fit for purpose) indicated that if a fourth compartment were lost the ship would become dangerously unstable. It was then reported that water was flooding into the reduction gear room through hollow propellor shafts and the command team now believed abandoning ship was their only option. Tugs has arrived and were attempting to pin the ship against the shore but it was possible she could slip rapidly into deeper water. The MEO concluded that potentially all 6 aft compartments would flood and the command team decided to abandon ship.

                                Crucially, before leaving it was discussed whether to close the watertight hatches and doors on 2 deck but the MEO considered it too risky to go down into the vessel again. The ship was evacuated by 0632 with the Captain the last to leave. Post-incident analysis showed that this was a mistake – there was time and the open hatches were the reason the ship eventually sank completely. The grounding and the leaking shafts were not the reason the ship sank as there still would have been sufficient buoyancy if the forward compartments to keep her afloat, had they been sealed.

                                After running aground attempts were made to stop the wreck from sliding into deeper water using steel hawsers, 10 Nov 2018. (Photo: Jakob Østheim/Forsvaret)

                                The controversy over the leaking shafts can be explained in simplistic terms by a change made to the Nansen class from the original Spanish F100 parent design relating to a reduced underwater acoustic signature. The ships use controllable-pitch propellers, the pitch being set by hydraulic oil pumped down the shafts. To meet requirements for strength and shock loads, it was decided to install a hollow intermediate shaft between the oil pump box in the aft generator room through the aft main engine room to the flexible coupling in the gear room. The pump openings into the hollow shafts compromised watertight integrity but this was not noticed during the design, build and classification process conducted by DNV. The Norwegian Defence Ministry did not cover itself in glory by suing the classification society DNV for $1.7Bn in damages but was forced to drop the case when the investigation showed the ship ultimately sank due to the failure to close internal doors.

                                Lessons

                                It would be wrong to entirely blame the inexperienced OOW and poor performance of the bridge team for the incident, the investigation showed there were management failures that extended to the highest levels of the Navy. The pressure caused by the operational tempo, something the RN and USN would recognise, resulted in inadequate training time and personnel lacking sufficient experience in relation to their responsibilities.

                                The AIBN reports issued 15 recommendations relating to ship navigation and 28 recommendations relating to damage control and ship systems. Key findings were improvement in training and competence for bridge teams, that warships always activate AIS when navigating in confined waters with other vessels (something the RN does not do consistently). Unlike RN vessels, HING was not fitted with a Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) used for post-incident analysis and this should be remedied. The majority of recommendations to the navy related to training, especially damage control in complex situations, competence in shutting down and sealing compartments and understanding, operating and maintaining safety-critical systems, especially bilge pumps.

                                HING passed her final FOST inspection at Devonport in March 2018 but 37% of the crew had changed in the intervening 8 months before the incident. The crew all said they had benefited greatly from the FOST programme and their own exercises but they had not practised for anything resembling these circumstances. The simultaneous failure of several technical systems, time pressure, significant flooding, loss of communication and the fact that this took place in the early morning proved overwhelming. Lean-manned warships reliant on commercially-derived IPMS and automation perhaps lack the number of watchkeepers needed for effective damage control. The use of technology for decision support and remote control of key systems implies these tools need to be extremely robust and programmed to provide fast and simple advice for a very wide range of scenarios.

                                The AIBN report concludes that “The collision resulted in severe damage to the vessel, over and above what she was designed to withstand”. The damage was significant but nothing like what potentially could be caused by a weapon impact. Despite the very heavy investment in warship survivability measures, this makes one wonder just how little damage modern combatants can sustain without being immediately crippled. The ship was damaged only on one side, yet suffered major internal communications failures. In is unclear why ‘runners’ were not sent more quickly more to pass messages to and from the bridge, HQ1, Ops room and damaged areas. HING was extremely lucky in many ways to suffer no fatalities. The collision accidents involving USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain the previous year killed several sailors, although neither ship sank.

                                There is much more to learn from the report and the Norwegian Navy must take some credit for being reasonably open about events and the outcome of the investigation. Soon after the accident, lessons were shared directly by the Norwegians with the RN’s FOST organisation which has influenced its training methods and more widely will make a valuable contribution to the preparedness of NATO warships.

                                Comment


                                • F-35B jets on HMS Prince of Wales


                                  British aircraft carrier to become NATO flagship

                                  By George Allison

                                  January 9, 2022

                                  HMS Prince of Wales will serve as the command ship for NATO’s Response Force.

                                  This role will see the vessel sailing to the Arctic, the Baltic and the Mediterranean Seas.

                                  The Royal Navy assumed command of NATO’s Response Force from the French Marine Nationale on January 1st, 2022.



                                  The NATO Response Force is a high readiness force comprising land, air, sea and special forces units capable of being deployed quickly on operations wherever needed.

                                  Back in October, The Royal Navy said that a fortnight-long international exercise off the Scottish coast “put the stamp on two years of intensive training for the Portsmouth-based warship, 700-plus crew, the Royal Navy and RAF squadrons who will operate aircraft from her flight deck – including the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning stealth fighter – and thousands of military personnel and civilians who support and maintain the endeavour”.

                                  “We have excitingly jumped the final hurdle and are now a fully-fledged strike carrier, ready at 30 days’ notice for operations around the globe,” said HMS Prince of Wales’ Commanding Officer Captain Steve Higham.

                                  Comment


                                  • German frigate Bayern conducts drills with Vietnamese corvette

                                    POSTED ON MONDAY, 10 JANUARY 2022 16:54
                                    ​​​​​​​
                                    According to a tweet published by the German Navy on January 9, 2022, the German Brandenburg-class frigate Bayern conducted drills with Vietnamese Project 1241.8 (Molniya) fast-attack missile corvette.


                                    Project 1241.8 (Molniya) fast-attack missile corvette HQ-83 (Picture source: German Navy)

                                    Project 1242.1 and project 1241.8 Molniya are further developments of the Tarantul family of ships.

                                    The two projects have been modified and rearmed with modern missile systems like the Uran-E and are more capable ships than the Tarantul types. The ships are built by the Russian Vympel Shipyard.

                                    Russia received at least one boat for trials in the 1990s and in 1999 Vietnam ordered two vessels.

                                    Vietnam is currently the main user of the Molniya class, with two Russian-made ships and six locally built ships. Vietnam started its own production line of 1241.8 Molniya ships with the assistance of Almaz Central Design Bureau in Russia.

                                    The first two locally built ships were delivered in July 2014, two more in June 2015, and the last two in October 2017. The Vietnamese ships are armed with an AK-176 76mm gun, 16 Uran-E anti-ship missiles, four Igla-M air defense missiles, and two AK-630 close-in weapon systems.

                                    The Vietnamese ships are also larger at 56.9m in length and have a maximum displacement of 563 tons. They have a range of 1,700 nautical miles (3,100 km; 2,000 mi) with 44 crew members on board.

                                    Comment



                                    • Photo Credit: COMSNMG1


                                      Canada Hands Over The Command Of SNMG1 To The Netherlands

                                      In a ceremony on January 7, Commodore Ad van de Sande of the Royal Netherlands Navy assumed command of the Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) from Commodore Bradley Peats of the Royal Canadian Navy.

                                      Naval News Staff 10 Jan 2022

                                      NATO Maritime Command (MARCOM) press release

                                      The command was transferred during a virtual ceremony between Ottawa, Canada; Allied Maritime Command in Northwood, UK; and Amsterdam, Netherlands.

                                      Commodore Ad van de Sande will lead SNMG1 this year. “This command is a privilege to me personally and to the Royal Netherlands Navy. Together with our Allies, we stand stronger,” Ad van de Sande said during the ceremony on board of flagship HNLMS Rotterdam.
                                      “My Staff and I will work hard to give the units the command and guidance they need in order to conduct their operations. My three priorities for the upcoming deployment are presence and posture, readiness and balance for the crews.”

                                      During the virtual ceremony, Commodore Bradley Peats sent his best wishes to the new commander and credits to all shipmates aboard HMCS Halifax and HMCS Fredericton. “Additionally, I thank our Allied sailors from the many navies who sailed with SNMG1 during my tenure as Commander,” said Peats.

                                      Virtual hand over ceremony – NATO MARCOM picture

                                      SNMG1 is one of four NATO Standing Naval Forces (SNF) that provide the Alliance with a continuous naval capability and presence, which forms the core of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (Maritime).

                                      NATO’s maritime strength lies in the ability of the Standing Forces and National Response Force elements to rapidly join with highly ready, advanced capability national forces and task groups. By being present at sea, training and exercising abroad, and conducting operations with Allies, SNMG1 is a force multiplier and provides a collectively trained and interoperable capability that NATO can confidently deploy as necessary.

                                      Collective defence remains the Alliance’s greatest responsibility and deterrence is a core element of NATO’s overall strategy – preventing conflict and war, protecting Allies, maintaining freedom of decision and action, and upholding the principles and values it stands for. 

                                      Comment



                                      • ATLANTIC OCEAN (Sept. 11, 2019) The Royal Danish navy frigate HDMS Peter Willemoes (F 362) transits the Atlantic Ocean during exercise Cutlass Fury 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cameron Stoner)


                                        Denmark Strengthens NATO With One Additional Frigate In The Baltic

                                        The Danish Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced today that it will send the Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate "Peter Willemoes" and four F-16 fighter jets to NATO's standing naval force and to sovereignty enforcement in the Baltics. This is because "NATO has the necessary capabilities at its disposal to deter the current security policy situation around Ukraine".

                                        Xavier Vavasseur 10 Jan 2022

                                        According to the MoD statement, the Danish government has decided this after consultation with the Foreign Policy Board. The Danish contribution will be under NATO’s command, but will focus on the Baltics. The Royal Danish Navy frigate HDMS Peter Willemoes (F 362) will be ready for deployment from mid-January and the four F-16 fighters by the end of the month.

                                        Russia’s military build-up at Ukraine’s borders and harsh tone towards NATO prompted NATO headquarters in December to ask member states for forces to ensure that the alliance has the necessary capabilities at its disposal.

                                        The contribution with the frigate Peter Willemoes is for NATO’s standing naval forces, where in addition to the already registered contribution of three months, Denmark offers a frigate for another three and a half months.

                                        Danish Defense Minister Trine Bramsen said:
                                        “The strong and in-demand contribution we offer to NATO when we send a frigate with 160 soldiers and 4 F-16 fighter jets and 70 men. That there is an almost unified Folketing they are behind is an important and clear signal, ”says .

                                        About Iver Huitfeld-class


                                        The Iver Huitfeldt-class is a 138 meters long anti-air warfare frigates of 6600 tonnes displacement, built by Odense Staalskibsvaerft for the Royal Danish Navy. Three have been built and all of them were commissionned in 2011.

                                        The hull design of the Iver Huitfeldt-class is derived from the Absalon-class. The 32-cell Mk. 41 vertical missile launcher and 4 Standard Flex container positions amidships makes this platform a highly capable AAW frigate. The armament further includes two 76 mm OTO Melara guns forward and one 35 mm CIWS (Millennium) gun aft. They can carry an MH-60 helicopter.

                                        The Standard Flex concept is a combination of standard platforms and different exchangeable weapon and system modules to match different missions or roles. Sensors and systems common to all roles are permanently fitted. As a truly “plug and play” concept it offers unique operational flexibility and exceptional lifelong logistic and financial advantages.

                                        Mains specifications
                                        • Displacement: 6 600 tonnes (full load)
                                        • Length: 138m
                                        • Beam: 19.75m
                                        • Draft: 5.3m
                                        • Propulsion: 4 MTU 8000 20V M70 diesel engines. 2 shafts, CODAD
                                        • Speed: 28 knots
                                        • Range: 9 000 nautical miles @15 knots
                                        • Crew: 117 (total accommodation 165)
                                        • Weapons: 4 × Mk 41 VLS with up to 32 SM-2 IIIA surface-to-air missiles ; 2 × Mk 56 VLS with up to 24 RIM-162 ESSM ; Harpoon block SSM; 1 × 35mm CIWS ; 2× OTO Melara 76 mm; 2 × dual MU90 Impact ASW torpedo launchers

                                        Comment


                                        • ADMk2
                                          ADMk2 commented
                                          Editing a comment
                                          Often wondered whether there might be space to fit those Mk.56 ESSM launchers on the Hobarts, thereby freeing up the Mk.41 for something like Tomahawk or SM-3…

                                        • Bug2
                                          Bug2 commented
                                          Editing a comment
                                          Potentially where the RHIB's currently are could be used, behind the SSM launchers.



                                          The type 56 should be able to squeeze in there with a bit of superstructure remodelling, these are Danish ones on their type 31 predecessor the Absolon class............similar location.............



                                          Six, quad packed launchers per side would give an additional 48 missiles in the ESSM Blk 2 class.............

                                          Whether the hull could take the weight etc I plain don't know? I don't even know IF that is a factor?

                                        • DEW
                                          DEW commented
                                          Editing a comment
                                          Nah. We couldn't possibly give up the RHIBs and launch equipment. How could we deploy a Hobart to round up unauthorised migrants?

                                      • Panel: Smaller NATO Navies Struggle with Recruitment, Awareness

                                        By: John Grady

                                        January 11, 2022 7:44 PM

                                        HMCS Ottawa (FFH-341). US Navy Photo

                                        Three senior NATO navy officers said their countrymen have cases of “maritime blindness” and don’t understand how their navies operate.

                                        Speaking at an international navies session at the Surface Navy Association symposium in Arlington, Va., Capt. William Quinn, naval attache at the Canadian Embassy, said despite his nation’s extensive coastlines on the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans, “I run into many Canadians that don’t know we have a navy.”

                                        In Canada, to bring attention to the sea services and boost enlistments, Ottawa has positioned its reserve components inland — in the Alberta and Manitoba provinces — to attract young people.

                                        Canada needs to address manpower issues as the country modernizes its surface fleet while maintaining readiness, Quinn said.

                                        The lack of naval awareness extends to NATO countries, like Germany and the Netherlands, senior NATO sea officers said.

                                        “Germans love the sea — from a beach,” said Capt. Ivo Schneider, Germany’s naval attache in Washington.

                                        Schneider said Germany uses a training ship to help recruits “learn to serve where they are less comfort zones” of access to digital communications and “learn to serve at sea and the maritime environment” as fundamental to their education in a naval career.


                                        FGS Bayern at Changi Naval Base, Singapore. German Embassy, Singapore Photo

                                        The lack of awareness has hurt the Netherlands capabilities, Marine Col. Jarst de Jong said. He noted the Netherlands’ sea services are already short 17 percent of authorized personnel and the “bottleneck” is particularly acute in the technical skills.

                                        “Nobody in the Netherlands realizes we [in the sea services] are focused on national security,” de Jong said.

                                        “We can’t do it alone,” de Jong said about the recruiting challenges in a nation with a shrinking population. Complicating recruiting in the Netherlands is 20 years of steady budget cuts for defense at a time when civilian careers in technology are booming. He added the new government has raised defense spending to 1.8 percent of gross domestic product, still below the 2 percent threshold that NATO established in 2014.

                                        Some of that can be applied to recruiting and retaining high-quality recruits.

                                        de Jong said the Netherlands government and navy is “trying to create a maritime ecosystem” to include electronics, shipbuilding and the sea services to meet national security requirements and commitments to NATO for collective defense. He added unmanned and autonomous systems could be a major step forward in easing personnel and readiness shortfalls that exist now and could worsen over time.

                                        Looking at future needs, Quinn added, “I’m not saying take man out of the loop” in combat decision-making but there is a role for unmanned systems “going into high-risk areas.”

                                        There are ethical concerns over AI and machine learning in warfare, Schneider said, asking a series of rhetorical questions. “How about computers leading other computers” or “how about computers leading people” in making decisions in combat.

                                        Still to meet future needs and also retain skilled sailors, Germany is to open a new Maritime Warfare Center in Bremerhaven this fall to combine research and training.

                                        Berlin has also worked extensively in the relatively shallow Baltic Sea on improving and modernizing anti-submarine warfare technologies and practices as Russia updated its Northern Fleet’s submarine fleet.

                                        He added ASW remains “a major NATO shortfall area” in the North Atlantic.

                                        Neither Schneider nor Quinn saw the Arctic as becoming an immediate security threat to Germany or Canada. Quinn said that the Northern Sea Route closest to Russia now is more attractive to merchant shipping than the poorly charted Northwest Passage.

                                        “The bigger issue will be how we divide up that pie” of mineral and energy exploration, Quinn said. He added this has to be done while preserving environmental safeguards and the rights of the indigenous peoples.

                                        The Arctic “is a model for the rules-based order,” Schneider said.

                                        When asked about becoming more interoperable with the U.S. Navy, the three said their nations would be joining the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) strike group for exercises in the coming year.

                                        Schenider said the German navy is also seeking opportunities to train with an American amphibious group in the coming year. De Jong added the Netherlands is also looking at improving its amphibious maritime capabilities as its national security budget rises in the future.

                                        Comment


                                        • List of the French Navy's current equipment in 2021

                                          POSTED ON TUESDAY, 11 JANUARY 2022 11:58
                                          ​​​​​​​
                                          The French Ministry of Armed Forces published a report about the French Armed Forces and their equipment for the year 2021, in accordance with the commitments of the military programming law (LPM) 2019-2025.


                                          French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (Picture source: U.S. Navy)

                                          In 2021, the budget of the French Ministry of Armed Forces has increased by 1.7 billion euros between 2020 and 2021. The French Navy received during this year, two multi-mission FREMM frigates, one Suffren-class submarine, and one La Fayette class frigate upgraded. The Navy also received 22 maritime patrol aircrafts Atlantique 2.

                                          French Navy's vessels :

                                          - 4 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN)

                                          - 5 nuclear-powered submarines (SSN)

                                          - one aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle (CVN)

                                          - 3 Amphibious Assault Ships (Landing Helicopter docks)

                                          - 15 first rank destroyers

                                          - 21 frigates

                                          - 10 minehunters

                                          - 2 Command and Replenishment ships

                                          - 17 Offshore Patrol Vessels

                                          - 8 Light Support Ships

                                          - 4 oceanographic research vessels

                                          - 13 training ships

                                          - 3 missile range instrumentation ships

                                          - 15 Landing Crafts

                                          - 7 minesweepers

                                          French Navy's aircraft:

                                          - 42 Rafale fighter jets

                                          - 3 E-2 Hawkeye aircraft

                                          - 22 Atlantique 2 Maritime Patrol aircraft

                                          - 10 Embraer EMB 121 Xingu

                                          - 8 Falcon 50 jets

                                          - 5 Falcon 200 Guardian

                                          - 26 NHIndustries NH90 helicopters

                                          - 3 plane guards

                                          - 16 Eurocopter AS565 Panther helicopters

                                          - 5 Mudry CAP 10 aircraft

                                          - 9 Aérospatiale Alouette III helicopters

                                          - 8 Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin helicopters

                                          French Dassault Rafale fighter jet (Picture source: Flickr)

                                          Comment


                                          • ADMk2
                                            ADMk2 commented
                                            Editing a comment
                                            So substantially bigger and more capable than the RN, eh?

                                          • Bug2
                                            Bug2 commented
                                            Editing a comment
                                            Yes and No............

                                            The SSBN are the same number, four each, but I'd say the throw weight of the RN one's outstrips the French by a substantial margin.

                                            SSN - the RN has 7 versus 5 for the French.

                                            The French CVN is more capable than the Brit CV's, as in "doesn't need to be refueled",,,,,,,,,,,the advantage it's got in planes, are the 2 x Hawkeyes AEW........Rafale versus F-35B..........the latter will decimate them. The CVN rarely carried more than 20-24 Rafale although it can stretch to 30-40. The CV's will be similar in a war footing.

                                            The AEW lack in the RN is inadequately covered by the Merlin adaptation to an AEW package Add-on........neither range nor speed comes anywhere near E-2D Hawkeye. They are now talking a UAV-based AEW (Hence their research into EMALS for the new Carriers), albeit none exists, and development isn't going to be cheap.

                                            Destroyers and Frigates is where it goes to rat-shit for the RN, having approx. half the number of the French. This has been the area, for at least the last 25-30 years where the RN has failed, spectacularly, to keep up with a GLOBAL force, and the numbers it requires to meet, and maintain, such ambition.

                                            The French helicopter force is a bag of shit (as we know) being mostly based on the NH90............MERLIN is in a different league to them, and the RN has 30 in Mk2 version available; another 8 x non-updated Merlins are sitting in store awaiting funding or disposal. The expectation is that the stored one's will be updated.........eventually?

                                            They also have approx. 28 x ASW Wildcat helicopters for use as needed (NOT sure if they've lost one?) They were supposed to be partially reduced, along with some of the Army ones (the number from each was never defined) BUT a subsequent review has cancelled that silliness.................

                                            There are also 25 x Commando Mk 4 MERLIN's available, and in active service for the Royal Marines.

                                            I'd also note that the OPV's the French have are heavily Littoral craft, and not Oceanic like the Brit versions. The French numerically have more (17 versus 8) but they are spread into Atlantic/North Sea, Mediterranean and Pacific operational areas. The Brits are no better off having vessels in the Falklands, Atlantic/North Sea, Middle East (occasionally) and soon-to-be SE Asia. BOTH need more Oceanics, but it's likely the Brits will use Type 31 and/or Type 32 for the Overseas tasking.

                                            The RFA far outstrips the French AOR's and Support Vessels, numerically and qualitatively.
                                            Last edited by Bug2; 14-01-22, 02:10 AM.

                                          • ADMk2
                                            ADMk2 commented
                                            Editing a comment
                                            The planned French SSN fleet is 6x Barracudas, they also run 4x SSBN, so not much difference there, except the French have 16x SLBM and the future UK boats will have 12x tubes…

                                        • They are pretty evenly matched, each with strengths and weaknesses.

                                          To respond to Bug:

                                          CdG and Rafale is a fine combination but (a) 1 nuclear platform means a large % of the time no platform is available (b) 2 E2s means no 24hr coverage (c) she's never been to sea with more than a single ASW helicopter.
                                          Of course RN carriers have glaring defects too - chronic shortage of F35, rotary AEW, flimsy self defence, etc etc

                                          On frigate and destroyer numbers, I'm not sure there is a gap -
                                          RN 19 (currently 17 - 6 T45, 11 T23)
                                          MN 15 (8 FREMM, 2 Horizon, 5 la Fayette)

                                          The other French stuff are actually OPVs
                                          But like I say: overall it's swings and roundabouts

                                          Comment


                                          • Bug2
                                            Bug2 commented
                                            Editing a comment
                                            Fair comment..........I must admit I didn't drill down into the French FFG's and DDG's, but you're right, there is a lot of low level OPV-type vessels buried in there............


                                        • Hull of the second Gowind Corvette for the UAE Navy taking shape in the main construction hall at the Naval Group shipyard in Lorient.


                                          Greek MoD: Ultra-Modern FDI Frigate To Protect Greece, Gowind Corvette Very Strong Candidate

                                          The French Minister for the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, and her Greek counterpart, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, visited the Naval Group shipyard in Lorient (Brittany) on 13 January 2022. While touring the shipyard, which specializes in surface combatants, the two ministers saw up-close the first FDI frigate and two Gowind corvettes at various stages of production.

                                          Xavier Vavasseur 17 Jan 2022

                                          There were no major new announcement regarding the procurement of frigates by Greece during the visit. For the record, the Greek authorities announced on 11 December 2021 that they had chosen the French offer to renew their fleet. The announcement followed the signing, by the Greek Mod, Naval Group and MBDA, of a MoU on 28 September for the procurement by Greece of three FDI HN frigates and one in option, all to be built in Lorient, as part of a strategic partnership between France and Greece.

                                          ​Hulls of the second Gowind Corvette for the UAE Navy (left) and the first FDI Frigate for the French Navy (right).

                                          According to Florence Parly, who gave a speech during her visit, the contract should come into force in the next couple of weeks (by late January / early February):
                                          “In the coming weeks, the contract for the acquisition of three of these frigates by Greece will be signed. We are honored by the confidence that Greece has placed in us. Thanks to this order, we will be able to maintain 2,220 jobs in France for five years. It was therefore an obvious choice to invite Nikos Panagiotopoulos to Lorient to meet you. Here, at this shipyard, a part of Greek security will soon be built, as well as a part of European defense, as is already the case today with the ships of our French Navy […]
                                          The strategic partnership between our two countries came into force on December 30. Dear Nikos, I am very pleased that you are coming to France, less than a month after this symbolic date, on the occasion of the launch at ministerial level of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union.”

                                          ​French Defense Minister Parly (left) and her Greek counterpart Mr Panagiotopoulos (right).

                                          According to our information, the topic is currently being debated in the Greek parliament, but this should be a mere formality and the decision to procure the frigates should be green-lighted without difficulties. The deal will then be officially announced immediately, or by mid-February during a planned visit to Brittany of Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

                                          The Greek Defense Minister, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, was full of praise for the French frigate:
                                          “It is an honor and great joy for me to be here today at Naval Group in Lorient where the three Belharra frigates, plus another in option, for the Hellenic Navy will be built […]
                                          The acquisition of French frigates reflects our willingness to provide the Greek fleet with ultra-modern frigates to protect our country.
                                          At the same time, it further strengthens the strategic defense partnership between Greece and France, which is a member of the European Union and NATO, as well as the Transatlantic Alliance itself.
                                          Negotiations on the purchase contract were completed last December […]
                                          The acquisition of Belharra frigates will contribute to significantly improve the combat capability and deterrent power of the Hellenic Navy and of our armed forces whose main mission is to defend the territorial integrity of our country.
                                          With this purchase, the firepower of the Hellenic Navy is now multiplied. The advanced capabilities of the Belharra, in particular its long range anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare performance and the increased warfare capability they provide allow them to perform multiple missions in the entire spectrum of naval warfare”.

                                          ​French Defense Minister Parly (right) and her Greek counterpart (left) touring the main construction hall of the Naval Group shipyard in Lorient. Next to them is the hull of the second Gowind corvette for the UAE Navy.

                                          Minister Panagiotopoulos had some nice words regarding the Gowind corvettes too:
                                          “In addition, the selection process for new corvettes for the Navy is underway. And the Gowind corvette is a very strong candidate”.
                                          Naval Group is competing against Italy’s Fincantieri (who is proposing a design based on the Doha-class) and Dutch shipyards Damen (who is proposing its SIGMA 10514 design). Lockheed Martin, was reportedly trying to pitch its surface combatant derived from the LCS (MMSC) for the corvette competition following an unsuccessful initial bid in the frigate competition.

                                          About FDI frigates

                                          ​French Navy FDI (background) and Hellenic Navy FDI HN (foreground). Naval Group image.

                                          A total of Five FDI frigates will be ordered by the French defence procurement agency (DGA) for the French Navy. This program reinforces the technological lead of the French naval industrial base, and of Naval Group in particular.

                                          The first of the series will be named Amiral Ronarc’h, after a great admiral, Chief of Staff of the French Navy between 1919 and 1920, who distinguished himself during the First World War at the head of marines and sailors.

                                          The FDI is a high sea vessel with a 4,500 tons class displacement. Multipurpose and resilient, she is capable of operating, alone or within a naval force. She offers capabilities for all types of warfare: anti-surface, anti-air, anti-submarine and as well as for special forces projection. Bringing together the best of French naval technologies on a compact platform, the FDI is a powerful and innovative frigate, designed to meet the evolution of threats.

                                          It is the first frigate to benefit from a digital architecture that will allow her continuous adaptation to technological and operational evolutions. As a result, the FDI will be able to address current and future threats and to handle always more data.

                                          ​The first FDI frigate for the French Navy taking shape at the Naval Group’s Lorient shipyard.

                                          The FDI will be the first French frigate natively protected against cyber threats, with two data centres virtually accommodating a great part of the ship applications. The FDI introduces the concept of a dedicated system for asymmetric warfare. This system will enable the coordination and conduct of the fight against small and close air and surface threats, including booby trapped boats.

                                          Strongly armed (Exocet MM40 B3C anti-surface missiles, Aster 15/30 anti-air missiles, MU90 antisubmarine torpedoes, artillery), the FDI is able to embark simultaneously a helicopter (10 tons class such as NH90) or the future Joint Light Helicopter and an unmanned aerial vehicle (up to 700kg). She can also receive a Special Forces detachment with their two commando boats. They are equipped with the new generation Seafire radar with four fixed panels, developed by Thales, which, combined with the missile delivery system, offers unmatched area defence capabilities.
                                          FDI Technical specifications
                                          • displacement: 4,500 tons class ;
                                          • length: 122 meters ;
                                          • beam: 18 meters ;
                                          • max. speed: 27 knots ;
                                          • autonomy: 45 days ;
                                          • operational availability: 3,500 hours per year
                                          • aviation facility: 10 ton-class helicopter + 1 UAV (up to 700 Kg)
                                          • accommodation: 125 + 28 passengers.
                                          About Gowind corvettes

                                          ​Bani Yas, the first Gowind Corvette for the UAE Navy, during outfitting at the Naval Group shipyard in December 2021.

                                          The Gowind 2500 corvette is 102 metres long with a maximum width of 16 meters and a draft of 5.4 meters. The displacement at full load is around 2,800 tons. The corvette is manned by a crew of 65 sailors and the accommodation on board can accommodate up to 15 special forces operators. The aviation installations allow the use of a 10-ton class helicopter.

                                          The Gowind 2500 corvette is 102 metres long with a maximum width of 16 meters and a draft of 5.4 meters. The displacement at full load is around 2,800 tons. The corvette is manned by a crew of 65 sailors and the accommodation on board can accommodate up to 15 special forces operators. The aviation installations allow the use of a 10-ton class helicopter.

                                          The CODLOD (COmbined Diesel-eLectric Or Diesel) propulsion system consist in two diesel engines (MTU) and two electric engines (Leroy-Somer) for a propulsive power of 10 MW. This allows the corvettes a maximum speed exceeding 25 knots. Their maximum range at 15 knots would be between 3,700 and 4,500 nautical miles.

                                          The first customer of the Gowind type corvette is the Royal Malaysian Navy which awarded a contract in late 2011 to local shipbuilder Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation (BHIC) and Naval Group (then DCNS) for the local construction of six “Littoral Combat Ships”. The Maharaja Lela-class frigates (also known as Second Generation Patrol Vessel – SGPV) are an enlarged version of the Gowind type corvette.

                                          ​Naval Group picture

                                          The contract for the acquisition of four Gowind 2500 corvettes (with an option for two more) by Egypt was signed shortly before June 3, 2014 for 1 billion euro, a sum which did not include the weapon systems which were ordered in two separate contracts: one for 400 million euros for MBDA (VL-MICA, MM40 Block 3), the other for approximately 100 to 200 million euros for Naval group (torpedoes). The overall cost of the program is therefore between 1.5 and 1.7 billion euros. The El Fateh program for the four corvettes included the construction and docking of the head-of-series at Naval Group’s Lorient shipyard (in Brittany). The first steel cut of the ENS El Fateh took place in April 2015, the launch on 17 September 2017 and the commissioning on 22 September 2017. The three other corvettes were assembled at Alexandria Shipyard under technology transfer with Naval Group. The launches of ENS Port Said (September 7, 2018), ENS El Moez (May 12, 2019) and ENS Luxor (May 14, 2020) took place regularly and in a staggered manner. It took 61 months between first steel cut of the first corvette and the launch of the fourth ship in the program.

                                          Following Egypt, the United Arab Emirates has signed a contract on 25 March 2019 for 750 million Euros (USD850m) for two Gowind 2500 type corvettes with options for two more, to be built in partnership with local shipyard Abu Dhabi Ship Building Company (ADSB). They will be equipped with Naval Group’s SETIS combat management system, MBDA’s Exocet missile, Raytheon’s Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles.

                                          The Romanian authorities announced in July 2019 the selection of Naval Group and its partner Santierul Naval Constanta (SNC) for the programme to build four new Gowind multi-mission corvettes, to modernize the T22 frigates and to create a maintenance centre and a training centre.
                                          Gowind Technical specifications
                                          • displacement: 2,800 tons class ;
                                          • length: 102 meters ;
                                          • beam: 16 meters ;
                                          • max. speed: 25 knots ;
                                          • autonomy: 21 days ;
                                          • aviation facility: 10 ton-class helicopter + S-100 type UAV
                                          • accommodation: 95 people

                                          Comment


                                          • NATO plans Arctic exercise with the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman

                                            POSTED ON THURSDAY, 20 JANUARY 2022 15:13
                                            According to information published by the US Mission to NATO on January 19, 2022, a large NATO exercise inside the Arctic Circle, Cold Response is planned for the beginning of March. The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman will be part of the exercise.


                                            Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (Picture source: U.S. Navy)

                                            USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) is the eighth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier of the United States Navy, named after the 33rd President of the United States, Harry S. Truman. She is currently homeported at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.

                                            Harry S. Truman is 1,092 feet (333 m) long, 257 feet (78 m) wide, and is as high as a twenty-four-story building, at 244 feet (74 m).

                                            The aircraft carrier can accommodate approximately 90 aircraft and has a flight deck 4.5 acres (1.8 ha) in size, using four elevators that are 3,880 sq ft (360 m2) each to move planes between the flight deck and the hangar bay. With a combat load, the aircraft carrier displaces almost 97,000 tons and can accommodate 6,250 crewmembers.

                                            She is currently equipped with three 20 mm Phalanx CIWS mounts and two Sea Sparrow SAM launchers.

                                            Comment




                                            • Dual Carrier OPS between aircraft carriers Charles de Gaulle and USS Eisenhower, in the Mediterranean sea, 03 March 2020. ©Johann Guiavarch/Marine Nationale/Défense


                                              US, French And Italian Navies To Conduct Tri Carrier Operations

                                              Carrier Strike Groups (CSG) of the US Navy, French Navy and Italian Navy are set to conduct rare "tri carrier operations" in the Eastern Mediterranean next month...

                                              Xavier Vavasseur 20 Jan 2022

                                              The French Navy (Marine Nationale) aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and its strike group (CSG) will set sails in early February for the “Mission Clemenceau 22” deployment. The French CSG will conduct “tri carrier operations” with the Italian Navy (Marina Militare)’s Cavour CSG and the U.S. Navy’s Truman CSG.

                                              During a press briefing held today at the French Ministry of Armed Forces, Rear Admiral Boidevezi explained that Mission Clemenceau 22 will focus on the Mediterranean region but some of the assets (a frigate and some fighters) will also deploy in the Black Sea. The French CSG will initially train with the Italian Navy and aircraft carrier ITS Cavour and its F-35B. In the Eastern Mediterranean, the two carriers will meet with the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) CSG and conduct rare “Tri Carrier Operations”. The French CSG will conduct additional activities with the American CSG. On the way back, the French CSG will sail in the Adriatic Sea.

                                              An F-35B land aboard Italian aircraft carrier Cavour with another one already on the flightdeck. Italian Navy picture.

                                              A French Navy spokesman told Naval News that it is the first time that a French CSG will interact with a U.S. Navy CSG following the recent signature by the two navies of the Strategic Interoperability Framework.

                                              According to our French Navy source, the carrier operations between the French and Americans will take place in the Eastern Mediterranean in February/March and will see the following take place:
                                              • Combined sea control
                                              • Combined power projection
                                              • C4I (command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence) data sharing

                                              All this is in line with the Strategic Interoperability Framework. Naval News was explained that a particular focus will be placed on the data and information sharing because the U.S. Navy uses some very stringent encryption systems and both navies will make sure that such encrypted data can be read and accessed by the French.

                                              E-2Ds tested for the first time with the French Navy

                                              MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Jan. 11, 2022) An E-2D Hawkeye, attached to the “Seahawks” of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 126, lands on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), Jan. 11, 2022. The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to maintain maritime stability and security, and defend U.S., allied and partner interests in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman T’ara Tripp)

                                              In addition, the maneuvers should see the launch and recovery of French Navy aircraft aboard USS Harry S. Truman and the launch and recovery of U.S. Navy aircraft aboard Charles de Gaulle. In particular, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft will trap and be launched for the first time from the French Navy aircraft carrier and will be tested with the French CSG. For the record, the French Ministry of Armed Forces announced one year ago that it had approved the acquisition of three E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft. The contract was officially awarded in December 2021. E-2Ds from the “Seahawks” of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 126 are currently deployed aboard the Truman.

                                              Contacted by Naval News for comments, a U.S. Navy 6th Fleet spokesperson said:
                                              “Due to the U.S. Navy’s operational security policy, we do not comment on future operations. Deployments are dynamic in nature but U.S. naval forces routinely operate with allies and partners in accordance with international law supporting maritime security across the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations”.
                                              MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Jan. 17, 2022) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), front, and the Italian Navy Andrea Doria-class destroyer ITS Andrea Doria (D553) transit in formation for a maneuvering exercise in the Mediterranean Sea, Jan. 17, 2022. The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to maintain maritime stability and security, and defend U.S., allied and partner interests in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bela Chambers)

                                              The Truman CSG departed Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, and Mayport, Florida for a regularly scheduled deployment, Dec. 1 2021. Elements of the strike group include the staff of Carrier Strike Group 8; flagship USS Harry S. Truman, commanded by Capt. Gavin Duff; the nine squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, commanded by Capt. Patrick Hourigan; the staff and guided-missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 28 commanded by Capt. Todd Zenner, which include: USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), USS Cole (DDG 67), USS Gravely (DDG 107) and USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109); the Royal Norwegian Navy’s Fridtjof-Nansen class frigate HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen (F310) deployed as part of the Cooperative Deployment Program; and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56).

                                              Mission Clemenceau 22


                                              Clemenceau 22 will mark the 14th operational deployment of the French CSG. During the briefing, the spokesman of the French Ministry of Armed Forces, Hervé Grandjean, said:
                                              “This deployment is a symbol of political and military power. We are sending a strong message to our partners and competitors. The possession of an aircraft carrier with nuclear deterrence is one of the attributes that allows France to hold its military rank, its rank of permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. I also remind you that the aircraft carrier has the nuclear naval aviation force aboard and that it is one of the components of the French nuclear deterrent.
                                              […]
                                              In addition, the aircraft carrier and its CSG are NATO Response Force certified and thus the aircraft carrier and its command staff [ed. note: CTF473] are a key asset of the Atlantic alliance”.

                                              French CSG composition:
                                              • Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91)
                                              • Horizon type Air Defense Destroyer Forbin (D620)
                                              • Air Defense FREMM Frigate Alsace (D656)
                                              • FREMM frigate Normandie (D651)
                                              • Durance-class replenishment oiler Marne (A630)
                                              • A Rubis-class SSN

                                              This mission will mark the first operational deployment for the latest frigate to be commissioned with the French Navy: Air Defense FREMM Alsace.


                                              All Rafale M fighters in the airwing (between 20 and 24 aircraft) are in the latest standard known as F3R, a first for the French CSG.

                                              Several allied units will be part of the French CSG:
                                              • US Navy Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71)
                                              • Spanish Navy Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate Juan de Borbon (F102)
                                              • A yet to be named Hellenic Navy frigate
                                              • A yet to be named Hellenic Navy submarine
                                              • An NH90 NFH of the Belgian Navy

                                              Comment


                                              • Spain send two warships in Black Sea amid Ukraine crisis

                                                POSTED ON FRIDAY, 21 JANUARY 2022 12:10

                                                According to information published by Novinite on January 21, 2022, Spain already sent one Segura-class minehunter Sella in the Black Sea and the Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate Blas de Lezo will sail the next week.


                                                Segura-class minehunter Sella (Picture source: Wikipedia)

                                                Blas de Lezo (F-103) is a Spanish Navy guided missile frigate of the Álvaro de Bazán class. The ship was built by Izar Shipbuilding in Ferrol, Spain and entered into service in 2004.

                                                The Álvaro de Bazán class, also known as the F100 class, is a class of Aegis combat system-equipped air defence frigates in service with the Spanish Navy. The vessels were built by Spanish shipbuilder Navantia in Ferrol, with the lead ship of the class named for Admiral Álvaro de Bazán.

                                                The ships are fitted with the United States Aegis weapons system allowing them to track hundreds of airborne targets simultaneously as part of its air defence network. The Álvaro de Bazán-class multi-role frigates are one of the few non-US warships to carry the Aegis system and its associated SPY-1D radar.

                                                Comment


                                                • unicorn11
                                                  unicorn11 commented
                                                  Editing a comment
                                                  "The Álvaro de Bazán-class multi-role frigates are one of the few non-US warships to carry the Aegis system and its associated SPY-1D radar."

                                                  That will come as a surprise to the Norwegians, Japanese, South Koreans and the RAN.
                                                  Last edited by unicorn11; 25-01-22, 03:02 AM.

                                              • Denmark to send ships to the Baltic Sea in the framework of NATO

                                                POSTED ON MONDAY, 24 JANUARY 2022 16:36
                                                ​​​​​​​
                                                According to information published by NATO on January 24, 2022, Denmark is sending an Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate to the Baltic Sea and the Netherlands is putting a ship on standby for NATO's Response Force amid the Ukraine crisis.


                                                Iver Huitfeldt class frigate Peter Willemoes (Picture source: Berg2)

                                                The Iver Huitfeldt class is a three-ship class of air defense frigates that entered service with the Royal Danish Navy in 2012 and 2013.

                                                The Iver Huitfeldt-class displaces at 6,500 tons full load and is propelled by four MTU 20V 8000 M70 diesel engines in Combined Diesel and Diesel (CODAD) configuration, allowing a maximum speed of 28 knots, and a maximum range of 9,300 nautical miles at 18 knots.

                                                The Iver Huitfeldt class frigates are equipped with four Mk. 41 8-cell VLS, two Mk. 56 12-cell VLS, up to 16 Harpoon anti-ship cruise missiles, 2 OTO Melara 76mm guns, a 35mm Oerlikon Millenium naval gun, and two triple lightweight torpedo launchers.

                                                It also has a hangar and helicopter deck for medium-sized military helicopters.

                                                Comment


                                                • ADMk2
                                                  ADMk2 commented
                                                  Editing a comment
                                                  So weird having the twin 76mm guns. Who do think they are? Italians? 🤣


                                              • 4th F125-class frigate FGS RHEINLAND-PFALZ (F225) (TKMS photo)


                                                TKMS Delivers 4th And Final F125 Frigate “RHEINLAND-PFALZ”

                                                ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) handed over the last of four F125 frigates "RHEINLAND-PFALZ" to the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) on 28 January.

                                                Naval News Staff 28 Jan 2022

                                                TKMS press release

                                                Today, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems handed over the frigate “RHEINLAND-PFALZ” to the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology, and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) in Hamburg. With that, all four ships of the F125 class, which ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems built together with the NVL Group in the ARGE F125 consortium, have been successfully delivered.

                                                The ship was handed over to the BAAINBw, represented by the Head of the Acceptance Commission, Matthias Rohde, and the responsible project manager at the BAAINBw, Marc Steffens, during a ceremony in Hamburg, which was kept a low profile due to the pandemic. On behalf of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, Programme Manager Patrick Buggenthin signed the handover papers.
                                                “We have now delivered all of the type F125 ships. The other three vessels are already in the in-service phase and have since proven their technical capabilities and reliability. We are convinced that the fourth vessel, the “RHEINLAND-PFALZ”, will also be successful. We wish the ship and crew ‘fair winds and following seas’. Full operational readiness of all ships for the German Navy remains our most important goal. On behalf of all employees, I would like to express my gratitude for the trust placed in us. At the same time, I would like to thank all our industry partners for their support and for what has been achieved. In our view, the innovative and highly complex ships of this class make an important contribution to a navy equipped for the future. We look forward to continuing the good cooperation with the German Navy.”
                                                Dr. Rolf Wirtz, TKMS Chief Executive Officer

                                                The first ship of the F125 class is scheduled to enter service in mid-2023. In order to create the necessary conditions for this phase, a comprehensive support contract regarding the technical logistic support (TLS) for the F125 frigates was concluded between ARGE F125 and the BAAINBw at the end of last year.

                                                TKMS photo

                                                The completely redesigned vessels of the F125 class have highly complex systems and around 28,000 sensors that enable a very high degree of automation, making it possible to reduce the required number of crew members by about half compared to previous frigate classes. Moreover, the ships can remain in their theatre of operations for up to two years. Besides the traditional tasks of national and alliance defence, they are designed for conflict prevention and crisis management as well as for intervention and stabilization operations in an international context. In addition to the ability to engage targets both on land and on water, they are equipped with air defence systems and helicopters.

                                                The contract for the construction of the four frigates became effective in June 2007. The concept, design, and detailed design phases followed. Around 90 percent of the highly complex systems onboard the F125 was developed specifically for this new type of ship.

                                                ARGE F125 comprises ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems as the lead company and the Bremen-based NVL Group (formerly Lürssen Defence). The pre-fitted bow sections were produced at the shipyards of the NVL Group in Bremen and in Wolgast on the Baltic Sea. Construction of the stern sections, the joining of the two vessel halves, further fitting-out, commissioning, and trials all took place at the NVL shipyard Blohm+Voss in Hamburg.

                                                -End-

                                                About F125 class frigates

                                                Deutsche Marine Baden-Württemberg F125-class frigate (Credit: Bundeswehr/Carsten Vennemann)

                                                The F125 frigate project was launched in June 2007, with contracts worth $3 billion inked with the ARGE F125 consortium ( formed by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and Friedrich Lurssen Werft and Blohm + Voss) for four vessels.

                                                Production of the lead ship started in June 2011. The ship was christened in 2013 but delivery, which was scheduled for 2014, was postponed to after 2017 after major issues were undisclosed by a confidential report in May 2017. This report then unveiled that the frigates were overweight and slightly listing by 1.3 degrees starboard. The ship was rejected by the German Navy in December 2017 and returned to its builder.

                                                The issues were corrected in April 2019, when the vessel was finally handed over to the German Navy. The First-in-class ship “Baden-Württemberg” was commissioned in June 2019, “Nordrhein-Westfalen” joined the fleet one year later in June 2020, “Sachsen-Anhalt” has entered the service in May 2021.

                                                Key data for the F125:

                                                Length: 149 m

                                                Width: 18 m

                                                Maximum speed: >26 knots

                                                Displacement: approx. 7,200 t

                                                Crew: max. 190 (of which up to 120 regular crew members)

                                                Major armament: 1 × 127 mm lightweight Otobreda naval gun, 2x RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile, 2 × 27 mm MLG 27 remote-controlled autocannons, 8 × RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles

                                                Comment


                                                • ARHmk3
                                                  ARHmk3 commented
                                                  Editing a comment
                                                  What's worse is they still came in at the same cost of regular frigates.

                                                • unicorn11
                                                  unicorn11 commented
                                                  Editing a comment
                                                  And ugly as frak with it.

                                                • Bug2
                                                  Bug2 commented
                                                  Editing a comment
                                                  Just what I was going to add. They've gone from making some of the most elegant and reverted to the Steampunk fashion of yesteryear................

                                              • ARE EUROPEAN NAVIES READY FOR HIGH-INTENSITY WARFARE?

                                                PIERRE MORCOS AND COLIN WALL

                                                JANUARY 31, 2022

                                                COMMENTARY


                                                Last November, the western Mediterranean was the scene of a unique military drill called “Polaris 21.” Involving half of the French navy and vessels from the United States, United Kingdom, Greece, Italy, and Spain, this exercise simulated a force-on-force conflict that played out on the seas, in the air, and in space. “Polaris is a giant laboratory for the war of tomorrow,” stressed Adm. Pierre Vandier, chief of the French navy, before adding that preparation for high-intensity operations was now a “necessity.”

                                                Polaris is the latest illustration of Europeans’ renewed ambition to play a role in the growing strategic competition at sea. This shift towards high-intensity warfare is noticeable in most E.U. and NATO navies, whether large (France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany) or small (the Netherlands or Norway, for instance). Preparing for high-end naval missions has recently become a chief concern for these countries as they fear that the return of great-power competition — be it in the North Atlantic, the Mediterranean Sea, or the Indo-Pacific — could endanger their prosperity as well as their national security interests. These concerns are even more pressing today as Russia is launching ominous naval maneuvers amid tensions over Ukraine. NATO members are dispatching vessels in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea to reinforce the alliance’s deterrence and defense.

                                                Nonetheless, this moment of reckoning comes after years, if not decades, of drastic reductions in the size of European navies. Even though European states have managed to sustain various maritime operations, with forces deployed in the Mediterranean Sea, the Strait of Hormuz, or the Gulf of Guinea, they are still facing major limitations when contemplating high-intensity warfare. The lack of naval assets, aging platforms, and shortcomings in training and readiness are major stumbling blocks facing Europe. Addressing these challenges will require a significant expansion of the collaborative approach that European militaries already employ.

                                                European Naval Decline

                                                European naval forces suffered a dramatic downsizing in the past three decades. This decline is notably due to years of cuts in defense spending following the end of the Cold War. Amid these times of budgetary austerity, European countries decided to rebalance their armed forces at the expense of their navies as they engaged in major counterinsurgency operations after the 9/11 attacks. As counter-terrorism became the highest priority, the prospect of a conventional conflict at sea against a peer competitor progressively lost its relevance, leading to an era of “sea blindness.” Instead, European navies have been reshaped to focus on low-end missions, from crisis management to the fight against illegal trafficking, search and rescue, counter-piracy, or disaster relief.

                                                Against this backdrop, European navies lost 32 percent of their main surface combatants (frigates and destroyers) between 1999 and 2018. Collectively, Europeans had 197 large surface combatants and 129 submarines in 1990 but only 116 and 66 respectively in 2021 (see table 1). Europe’s combat power at sea is considered to be half of what it was during the height of the Cold War. Even though it has retained a significant naval power, the U.S. Navy followed a similar pattern. While the United States had plans to build a 600-ship navy in the 1980s, the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act set a goal of 355 ships, although it is not yet clear whether the Biden administration embraces this goal.
                                                Aircraft Carriers Large Surface Combatants Submarines
                                                France 1 21 8
                                                United Kingdom 2 19 11
                                                Italy 2 18 8
                                                Spain 0 11 2
                                                Germany 0 10 6
                                                Greece 0 13 11
                                                Portugal 0 5 2
                                                Netherlands 0 6 4
                                                Belgium 0 2 0
                                                Denmark 0 5 0
                                                Sweden 0 0 5
                                                Norway 0 4 6
                                                Poland 0 2 3
                                                Total 5 116 66
                                                Table 1: Number of assets of the major European navies in 2021 (Source: The Military Balance, International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2021).

                                                Two major maritime powers, France and the United Kingdom, have particularly suffered from these trends. The United Kingdom has been forced to cede more than half of its large surface combatants and attack submarines. The Royal Navy also had to operate without an aircraft carrier between 2014 and 2021, limiting its ability to project power. The French navy had to reduce or postpone the procurement of new frigates, to renounce the conventional component of its submarine fleet and to cede one of its two aircraft carriers. Similarly, austerity measures forced Spain to decommission its only aircraft carrier and to significantly reduce its submarine force, now limited to two platforms. Budget cuts limited Germany’s naval ambitions, as witnessed by its small surface and subsurface fleet as well as the absence of any amphibious capability. Denmark also had to relinquish key capabilities, as Copenhagen decided in 2004 to disband its entire submarine force.

                                                Quantity Is Missing

                                                Even though downscaled, the largest European navies have managed to preserve multipurpose fleets allowing them to pursue multiple, primarily low-end tasks. Over the past decades, European countries have engaged their navies in counter-piracy operations (off the coast of Somalia or in the Gulf of Guinea), arms embargo policing missions (such as operation IRINI in the Mediterranean Sea), or in direct support to military interventions (like the Libyan operation in 2011). European navies have nonetheless been stretched increasingly thin. NATO’s reliance on the United States during the Libyan campaign in 2011 was a demonstration of Europe’s underinvestment in its navies. European members of the coalition suffered from the limited availability of their aircraft carriers and quickly faced a shortage in naval cruise missiles. More recently, the tensions in the Strait of Hormuz in 2019 provided another example of these shortfalls as European countries struggled to mobilize ships for their maritime security coalition.

                                                As the prospect for high-intensity warfare is growing amid the mounting strategic competition with China and Russia, European navies are underequipped and underprepared. Prevailing in such scenarios would require a large number of platforms with high-end capabilities, and European navies today lack such critical mass compared to their strategic competitors (see table 2). Even though Europeans still have more large surface combatants than China, their fleet is aging and overstretched while Beijing is building a modern navy at great speed: China already has one of the largest submarine fleets in the world and is building the equivalent of the French navy every four years. The Russian navy is also increasingly capable with a large submarine fleet and powerful offensive missile systems allowing Moscow to employ an anti-access/area denial strategy.
                                                Aircraft Carriers Large Surface Combatants Submarines
                                                Europe 5 116 66
                                                United States 11 113 68
                                                China 2 78 59
                                                Russia 1 30 49
                                                Japan 4 47 22
                                                India 1 27 16
                                                Table 2: Number of naval assets in the world in 2021 (Source: The Military Balance, International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2021)

                                                Returning to High-Intensity Warfare

                                                European countries are increasingly aware of these limitations and the need to refocus their navies on high-intensity scenarios. In its latest 2021 strategic update, France recognized that the possibility of conflict between major powers can “no longer be ignored,” insisting notably on the threats that Russia poses in the Euro-Atlantic area and China in the Indo-Pacific. As laid out in this strategic document, the French armed forces therefore aim at being prepared for “scenarios of engagement in a major conflict,” notably by strengthening “their capability for joint collaborative combat” and by building up “sufficient critical mass.” On a similar note, the United Kingdom has acknowledged the need to “deter and defend against state-based opponents” as recently outlined by its chief of the defense staff. In its recent strategic review process, London gives the Royal Navy a central role in this endeavor. The strategies (the integrated review and the defense command paper) envision more consistent forward presence for the navy around the world and aspire to be able “to operate its two carriers simultaneously and maintain [its] continuous deterrence posture at sea.”

                                                Similar shifts can be noticed in other European countries although in a more limited fashion. The German Navy seeks to rebalance towards more demanding missions like sea control, securing lines of communication, and territorial defense, as Berlin refocuses on home defense and NATO collective defense. This may include trying to move beyond Germany’s historical focus on the Baltic Sea, as recent comments from former German naval chief have indicated, be it in the North Sea or even in the Indo-Pacific where Germany sent one frigate for the first time since 2016. The Italian armed forces are also shifting from an expeditionary, crisis management-oriented structure back to a conventional, territorial defense posture, albeit one that is more narrowly focused on the Mediterranean Sea area. The Italian navy’s latest planning document calls for an “aeronaval” force with credible deterrence and intervention capabilities that can act along the entire spectrum of conflict, including medium-high intensity scenarios — albeit with the caveat that Italian participation in such a conflict would be limited in time.

                                                Many of these renewed naval ambitions are playing out in the defense spending plans of European powers. European navies are investing in principal surface combatants, amphibious vessels, and submarines but also quietly boosting their capacity for logistics, surveillance, and long-range strike. Some countries, like the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, are also investing in improved air and missile defense capabilities to protect their principal surface combatant in the early kinetic onslaught of a high-intensity conflict. Others, like Norway, Sweden, or Germany, are regenerating their submarine fleets in response to Russia’s growing use of undersea warfare in the Baltic Sea and the North Atlantic. European navies have also increased the tempo and intensity of their exercise schedule in order to be ready to make use of these new capabilities — as illustrated by the French-led Polaris exercise or the series of exercises involving both of Britain’s new aircraft carriers.

                                                Still a Long Road Ahead

                                                Despite these ambitions, most European allies still face many conundrums that put their navies under pressure. First, this sort of shift does not happen overnight. Even when governments allocate the required money, the process of designing and building warships and submarines can take decades and experience important delays.

                                                Second, European countries still face serious budgetary limitations, which are even higher in countries, like France, trying to maintain a balance between the different branches of their military. In the opposite case, the United Kingdom has privileged the financing of the Royal Navy over that of the army, a decision that entails its own risks. The expensive renewal of the French and British nuclear forces will be another constraint on their future naval acquisitions and modernization plans.

                                                In this context, European navies are forced to make agonizing tradeoffs, often prioritizing quality (e.g., speed, reach, reliability, survivability) at the expense of quantity (e.g., number of platforms, personnel, and armaments). France and the United Kingdom are not planning to significantly increase the size of their navies, privileging instead investments in modern and sophisticated platforms such as submarines, destroyers, or aircraft carriers. Both countries are nonetheless aware of the risks of this orientation and are trying to mitigate some of these capacity shortfalls by investing in unmanned surface and subsurface vessels. These programs are still at an early stage, however, and will not deliver tangible capabilities in the near future.

                                                These tensions are amplified by the global outlook of European navies that are increasingly overstretched as they try to strike a difficult balance between the European theater and distant regions like the Indo-Pacific. The shift toward high-end platforms is also challenged by the need to address persisting low-end challenges, such as piracy and illegal trafficking. These low-intensity, forward-presence missions tend to hinder the warfighting readiness of European navies. To mitigate this difficulty, European navies are slowly acknowledging that quantity can be a quality of its own and are therefore investing in smaller patrol vessels.

                                                Admittedly, even the U.S. Navy is facing similar dilemmas. Yet, these tensions are even more pressing for Europeans. The most straightforward solution to the challenge is more defense spending — especially in countries like Germany, Italy, and Spain — and more importantly more collective action, be it in a NATO, E.U., or ad hoc context. Even in 10 years’ time, no European country could operate in a high-intensity conflict alone, save perhaps France and the United Kingdom in certain limited scenarios. But if Europeans decide to better invest, train, and act together, the picture could be different.

                                                First, Europeans should pursue more joint procurement. As of now, European navies suffer major redundancies with 29 different types of destroyers or frigates, as compared to four for the United States. Building on NATO’s defense planning and taking advantage of the European Union’s funding mechanisms, European countries should foster industrial cooperation. Some collaborations are already encouraging, such as the one between France and Italy which led to the development of the European multi-mission frigate (known as FREMM).

                                                Second, Europeans could better coordinate their naval deployments especially when operating far from the European theater. As mentioned earlier, Europeans have already launched joint missions in the Mediterranean Sea, the Strait of Hormuz, and off the coast of Somalia. Yet, Europeans navies could do more by flexibly coordinating their naval assets in other strategic areas such as the Indo-Pacific. This is the goal of the “coordinated maritime presence” mechanism established by the European Union, which was first tested in the Gulf of Guinea and should be extended to the North West Indian Ocean. This coordination could be reinforced by a better access of European partners to their respective naval bases located both in Europe and overseas. This mutual access would facilitate and sustain the projection of power in distant regions like the Indo-Pacific.

                                                Third, European navies should collectively work on their readiness to respond to high-intensity situations through shared operational planning and a robust exercise schedule. The former will give the United States and NATO planners a clearer understanding of what to expect from different allies and partners, in which theaters, and on what schedule. And exercises and training, especially at the NATO level or though multinational groupings such as the Joint Expeditionary Force led by the United Kingdom and focused on northern Europe, play a critical role — not only in honing the skills and familiarity that will increase the odds of success in combat, but also as geopolitical signals of capability, intent, and solidarity. The stress-testing of rigorous exercising may also provide value by unearthing any shortcomings that newly procured naval capabilities may have.

                                                The evolution of European navies will not happen overnight. Many of the most significant forthcoming assets will not arrive until after 2030. Yet, the trends are positive, starting at the strategic level and moving down to well-targeted procurements as well as increasing attention to demanding exercises. Equally important, however, is the question of political will. It is not a given that the political tides, especially in countries like Germany and Italy, will necessarily support the idea of buying expensive naval assets and engaging them in fraught situations, especially in more remote theaters like the Indo-Pacific. Germany’s deployment of the frigate Bayern to that region last year, for example, turned what could have been a demonstration of geopolitical resolve in the naval sphere into a tightrope act calibrated to avoid overly antagonizing China. Operational preparation for high-intensity scenarios is therefore only the beginning of the story. Europeans also need to have a collective discussion on the political implications of this new military imperative.

                                                Pierre Morcos is a French diplomat in residence and visiting fellow in the Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. You can find him on Twitter at @morcos_pierre.

                                                Colin Wall is a research associate with the Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. You can find him on Twitter at @ColinCWall.

                                                Image: Defense Department

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                                                • ADMk2
                                                  ADMk2 commented
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                                                  TBF, the Type 31’s would be suitable, if they weren’t equipped by a navy with Rolls Royce tastes, but a Hyundai Getz budget…

                                                  It’s an evolved Iver Hutfeld design, one that comes with proper 3D APAR radar, high-end combat system, a pair of 76mm guns, but could operate 127mm, a 48x cell Mk.41 strike length VLS, 24x Mk.56 ESSM launchers, 16x NSM anti-ship missiles, modern EW, EWSP, modern anti-sub capabilities, modern aviation facilities etc. They put our AWD’s to shame in that regard…

                                                  For us, it would look more like a 127mm gun, scaled CEAFAR radar (or repurposed ANZAC Class radars), 24-32x Mk.41 for ESSM and SM-2, 8-16x SSM’s and reasonable anti-sub and aviation capabilities. For us, it’s main purpose is rounding out fleet numbers and incrementally improve on the combat and sea-keeping / range capability of the ANZAC’s without trying to reach for the stars and breaking the bank as we so often do…

                                                  So of course the RAN would loathe the very idea…

                                                • Bug2
                                                  Bug2 commented
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                                                  The first thing we need to do is retire the current hierarchy in the RAN and put people in place who are looking at a war scenario, or scenarios, and not pissing around gold-plating anything and everything.

                                                • unicorn11
                                                  unicorn11 commented
                                                  Editing a comment
                                                  Could not possibly agree more!


                                              • ADRIATIC SEA (Feb. 2, 2022) Aircraft assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 Italian Navy fly over the ships from Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 8, Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG) 2, the Italian Navy Cavour-class aircraft carrier ITS Cavour (CVH 550), the Andrea Doria-class air defense destroyer ITS Andrea Doria (D 553), and the Blue Ridge-class command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) transit the Adriatic Sea in support of Neptune Strike 22, Feb. 2, 2022. Neptune Strike 22 highlights the natural evolution of NATO’s ability to integrate the high-end maritime warfare capabilities of a carrier strike group to support the defense of the nations.


                                                NATO Concludes Vigilance Activity Neptune Strike 2022

                                                Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) and U.S. Sixth Fleet (SIXTHFLT) concluded the NATO-led activity Neptune Strike 2022, Feb. 4.

                                                Xavier Vavasseur 05 Feb 2022

                                                By U.S. Sixth Fleet / Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO Public Affairs

                                                The vigilance activity marked the accomplishment of the long-planned transfer of authority of command and control of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (CSG) to the NATO Alliance.

                                                The vigilance activity kicked off Jan. 24 from the Adriatic Sea, involving missions at sea and in the air across most of Europe, supporting both Allied Joint Force Command Naples and Brunssum. The nearly 2-week activity demonstrated NATO’s ability to integrate the high-end maritime warfare capabilities of a carrier strike group to support the defense of the Alliance.

                                                The Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe coordinated the activity, integrating NATO Allied Maritime Command and NATO Allied Air Command, while STRIKFORNATO executed command and control of Neptune Strike 22 from USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), the SIXTHFLT and Commander STRIKFORNATO’s flagship.
                                                “The remarkable work accomplished by SIXTHFLT and STRIKFORNATO staffs highlights NATO’s ability to rapidly bring together high-end maritime combat power in support of the Alliance. We proved NATO is prepared to command allied carrier strike groups, and look forward to the next opportunity to test and advance our command and control structure.”
                                                Vice Adm. Gene Black, commander, SIXTHFLT and STRIKFORNATO.

                                                STRIKFORNATO led a maritime force composed of two carriers, 15 ships and approximately 90 aircraft, including forces from the Harry S. Truman CSG, the Italian Navy CAVOUR CSG, Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 and Mine Counter Measure Group 2. Overall, forces and personnel from 28 NATO countries participated in Neptune Strike.
                                                “Neptune Strike 22 levered the combat power of a U.S. carrier strike group, promoted interoperability with Allies and allowed operators to train on NATO networks, train to NATO procedures and become familiar with operating in the European Theatre. These maritime Allied interoperability activities are the cornerstone of STRIKFORNATO.”
                                                Rear Adm. James Morley, STRIKFORNATO’s Deputy Commander.

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                                                • MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Jan. 11, 2022) An E-2D Hawkeye, attached to the "Seahawks" of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 126, lands on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), Jan. 11, 2022. The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to maintain maritime stability and security, and defend U.S., allied and partner interests in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman T'ara Tripp)


                                                  E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Set For First Ever Test With The French Navy

                                                  A U.S. Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft is set to conduct interactions with the French carrier strike group (CSG) and French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. This will mark the first time the E-2D is recovered and launched from the French carrier.

                                                  Xavier Vavasseur 07 Feb 2022

                                                  As reported by Naval News, the French Navy aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and its strike group (CSG) set sails last week for the “Mission Clemenceau 22” deployment. The French CSG will conduct “tri carrier operations” with the Italian Navy (Marina Militare)’s Cavour CSG and the U.S. Navy’s Truman CSG.

                                                  According to our French Navy source, the carrier operations between the French and Americans will take place in the Eastern Mediterranean in February/March and will see the following take place:
                                                  • Combined sea control
                                                  • Combined power projection
                                                  • C4I (command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence) data sharing

                                                  All this is in line with the Strategic Interoperability Framework which was recently inked by the US and French navies. Naval News was explained that a particular focus will be placed on the data and information sharing because the U.S. Navy uses some very stringent encryption systems and both navies will make sure that such encrypted data can be read and accessed by the French.

                                                  E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft aboard Charles de Gaulle

                                                  An E-2C Hawkeye is launched from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. ©Yoann Letourneau/Marine Nationale/Défense
                                                  In addition, the maneuvers should see the launch and recovery of French Navy aircraft aboard USS Harry S. Truman and the launch and recovery of U.S. Navy aircraft aboard Charles de Gaulle. In particular, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft will trap and be launched for the first time from the French Navy aircraft carrier and will be tested with the French CSG (including possibly the sharing of tactical data between the aircraft and the French staff aboard the carrier). E-2Ds from the “Seahawks” of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 126 are currently deployed aboard the Truman.

                                                  For the record, the French Ministry of Armed Forces announced one year ago that it had approved the acquisition of three E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft. The contract was officially awarded in December 2021.

                                                  ARABIAN SEA (July 18, 2019) An E-2D Hawkeye assigned to the “Bluetails” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121 makes an arrested landing on flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dan Snow/Released)
                                                  Contacted by Naval News to comment on these upcoming trials, the E-2D program director at the French defense procurement agency (DGA) explained:
                                                  “It is not expected that the DGA will participate in this first landing [of an E-2D aboard Charles de Gaulle] because it is not a flight test. Launches and recoveries are indeed planned from an operational point of view, and have been the subject of a specific authorization by the DGA, as is done regularly for foreign aircraft”.
                                                  -E-2D program director at DGA

                                                  The French program director confirmed that the delivery of the three aircraft is set for 2028. They will become operation in 2030 following some localization work (which consists mostly in the integration of a specific computer which will guarantee the system’s autonomous upgrade capability).

                                                  JASDF E-2D Advanced Hawkeye number 473 and 474 at MCAS Iwakuni in March 2022. Picture by Japanese plane spotter Seagull-jap / Twitter: @miejapan4

                                                  To date, 51 aircraft have been delivered to the U.S. Navy and 3 to Japan. Naval News understands that the E-2D production line (located in St Augustine, Florida) shutdown will start in 2023 and final U.S. Navy E-2Ds will roll off the production line in 2026. Contacted by Naval News, the E-2/C-2 Airborne Command & Control Systems Program Office (PMA-231) confirmed that unless follow-on orders by the U.S. Navy or export customers are placed, France would be getting the last aircraft ever produced:
                                                  “As of right now, the French E-2Ds would be the last aircraft produced.”
                                                  -E-2/C-2 Airborne Command & Control Systems Program Office (PMA-231)

                                                  With the above information in mind, it would seem logical that the French aircraft come in the latest available standard, known as DSSC 4, 5 or 6. DSSC stands for “Delta System/Software Configuration Build”. However DSSC 4, 5 and 6 have mostly to do with Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) and Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA), two features that the French Navy will not be using. The French are developing their own CEC equivalent known as “veille cooperative navale” which we covered in the past. As about which DSSC the French Navy will be getting, PMA-231 said this question would be best answered by the French Ministry of Defence. The E-2D program director at DGA told Naval News:
                                                  “The version of the French aircraft will benefit from the latest software version available at the date of the detailed design review. This will be the same version as the U.S. Navy version, without the non-exportable capabilities. The precise DSSC has not been determined at this stage.”
                                                  -E-2D program director at DGA

                                                  Last but not least, the French program director said:
                                                  “To date, the program is running smoothly, in close collaboration with the American team. French teams are also working on the design of the francization (localization).”

                                                  The French Aircraft are set to feature aerial refueling capability.

                                                  Northrop Grumman announced on 21 January that it successfully delivered the 51st U.S. Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye production aircraft, AA-52.

                                                  Meanwhile, Northrop Grumman announced on 21 January that it successfully delivered the 51st U.S. Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye production aircraft, AA-52. The company said in a photo release: “The aircraft represents the last to be delivered under the Multi-Year Procurement (MYP) 1 contract. AA-52 is equipped with the Delta System/Software Configuration (DSSC) Build 3, which provides an additional leap in operational effectiveness and technology for the E-2D with the incorporation of aerial refueling and a dwell-based tracker. MYP 2 deliveries will begin this year, with increasing, game-changing capability enhancements for the Navy and joint force to outpace evolving threats.”

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                                                  • Germany will send Frankenthal-class minehunter in Black Sea

                                                    POSTED ON TUESDAY, 08 FEBRUARY 2022 14:55
                                                    ​​​​​​​
                                                    According to information published by Kieler Nachrichten on February 8, 2022, Frankenthal-class minehunter, Bad Rappenau, left Kiel to join the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 in the Black Sea.


                                                    Frankenthal-class minehunter Bad Rappenau (Picture source: Flickr)

                                                    The Type 332 Frankenthal-class minehunter is a class of German minehunters. The ships are built of non-magnetic steel. Hull, machinery, and superstructure of this class is similar to the original Type 343 Hameln-class minesweeper, but the equipment differs.

                                                    The class of minehunters has a length of 54.4 m, a beam of 9.2 m, and a draft of 2.6 m, she can reach a top speed of 18 knots (33 km/h) and is able to accommodate up to 41 crew members.

                                                    The ships are armed with one 27 mm Mauser BK-27 autocannon and two FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS surface-to-air missiles and two Pinguin B3 ROV Mine Disposal Systems.

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                                                    • unicorn11
                                                      unicorn11 commented
                                                      Editing a comment
                                                      I'm sure that will be remarkably helpful in staving off a Russian invasion of the Ukraine.

                                                    • ADMk2
                                                      ADMk2 commented
                                                      Editing a comment
                                                      Putin is literally quaking with fear, right now…

                                                    • Bug2
                                                      Bug2 commented
                                                      Editing a comment
                                                      Nah, he's sitting there with the Gas switch going, "Now it's on, now it's off!"


                                                  • A render from Naval Group illustrating the offered configuration for the Hellenic version of the [email protected]


                                                    Greek Parliament Releases The Details Of FDI Frigate Deal

                                                    The Hellenic Parliament released the details of Greece's contract with Naval Group for the Hellenic Navy's future FDI (Frégate de défense et d'intervention) frigates on February 9. The document contains all of the process's details, such as equipment, configurations, milestone dates, costs, payment plans, and so on.

                                                    Tayfun Ozberk 13 Feb 2022

                                                    After a lengthy period of planning, searching, and evaluating offers from the world’s largest defense companies, the Hellenic Navy’s frigate procurement saga is nearing completion.

                                                    The most recent public milestone was the French Minister for the Armed Forces and her Greek counterpart’s visit to the Naval Group shipyard in Lorient (Brittany) on 13 January 2022. During the visit, Greece made no major new announcements regarding the procurement of frigates, but it was a strong signal.

                                                    According to local media, the details of the contract were set to be discussed starting on 11 February 2022 with a vote expected on the 15th.

                                                    French Defense Minister Parly (left) and her Greek counterpart Mr Panagiotopoulos (right).

                                                    The Hellenic Parliament’s publication of the contract paperwork provides some major details about the procurement program.

                                                    FDI Configurations

                                                    The FDI frigate contract provides the timeline and other significant issues regarding the frigates.

                                                    The document defines two configurations for the frigates, Standart-1, and Standart-2:
                                                    • Standard-1 refers to a lighter configuration lacking additional capabilities such as decoy launchers, equipped with 2×8-cell Sylver A50 VLS-cells (with 16 ASTER missiles), and lacking a RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) point defence missile system (PDMS).
                                                    • Standard-2 refers to a more equipped configuration, fitted with decoy launchers, 4×8-cell Sylver A50 VLS-cells (with 32 ASTER missiles), and RAM PDMS.

                                                    As previously announced, Greece will purchase three FDI frigates from the Naval Group, with an additional frigate available as an option. The first two frigates will be in Standard-1 configuration, or French configuration, while the third will be in Standard-2 setup. If the additional frigate option is chosen, the fourth frigate will be Standard-2 as well.

                                                    Both configurations will be armed with 2×4 Exocet MM40 Block 3c anti-ship missiles, 76 mm Super Rapido gun, and 2×20 mm Nexter Narwhal remote weapon system.

                                                    Naval Group image

                                                    The first two frigates will be upgraded to Standard-2 configuration approximately one year after the delivery of the third frigate, and the delivery of the additional frigate is scheduled after the upgrades of the first two if the option is exercised.

                                                    Timeline

                                                    Here is the timeline of the project’s milestone events mentioned in the document:
                                                    • 31.10.2022 – First Steel Cutting of the 2nd frigate
                                                    • 30.11.2022 – First block in the drydock of the 1st frigate
                                                    • 31.10.2023 – First Steel Cutting of the 3rd frigate
                                                    • 30.11.2023 – First block in the drydock of the 2st frigate
                                                    • 31.08.2024 – First Sea Going of the 1st frigate
                                                    • 31.03.2025 – Delivery of the 1st frigate
                                                    • 30.06.2025 – First Sea Going of the 2nd frigate
                                                    • 31.10.2025 – Delivery of the 2nd frigate
                                                    • 30.06.2026 – First Sea Going of the 3rd frigate
                                                    • 31.10.2026 – Delivery of the 3rd frigate
                                                    • 31.01.2027 – Completion of the upgrade of the 2nd frigate to Standard-2
                                                    • 30.09.2027 – Completion of the upgrade of the 1st frigate to Standard-2

                                                    As can be seen above, the first cutting-steel of the first frigate is not mentioned in the document. Naval News can confirm that the first metal sheets for the first FDI HN have already been cut (having seen them along a group of Greek journalists during the keel laying ceremony of the first FDI for the French Navy). All of the frigates will be delivered in Lorient, France.

                                                    The first FDI frigate for the French Navy taking shape at the Naval Group’s Lorient shipyard.FDI HN Performances:

                                                    The document covers the Hellenic Navy’s performance expectations from the frigates. The performance specifications were given in an ANNEX of the contract, but it doesn’t exist on the Parliament’s document.

                                                    Some of the key performance parameters of the frigates are given in the table below.



                                                    About FDI frigates

                                                    The infographic of FDI HN frigate by Naval Analyses

                                                    The FDI is a front line surface combatant with a 4,500 tons class displacement. Multipurpose and resilient, she is capable of operating, alone or within a naval force. She offers capabilities for all types of warfare: anti-surface, anti-air, anti-submarine, and as well as for special forces projection. Bringing together the best of French naval technologies on a compact platform, the FDI is a powerful and innovative frigate, designed to meet the evolution of threats.

                                                    It is the first frigate to benefit from a digital architecture that will allow her continuous adaptation to technological and operational evolutions. As a result, the FDI will be able to address current and future threats and to handle always more data.

                                                    The FDI will be the first French frigate natively protected against cyber threats, with two data centers virtually accommodating a great part of the ship applications. The FDI introduces the concept of a dedicated system for asymmetric warfare. This system will enable the coordination and conduct of the fight against small and close air and surface threats, including booby-trapped boats.

                                                    Strongly armed (Exocet MM40 B3C anti-surface missiles, Aster 15/30 anti-air missiles, MU90 antisubmarine torpedoes, artillery), the FDI is able to embark simultaneously a helicopter (10 tons class such as NH90) or the future Joint Light Helicopter and an unmanned aerial vehicle (up to 700kg). She can also receive a Special Forces detachment with their two commando boats. They are equipped with the new generation Seafire radar with four fixed panels, developed by Thales, which, combined with the missile delivery system, offers unmatched area defense capabilities.

                                                    FDI Technical specifications
                                                    • displacement: 4,500 tons class ;
                                                    • length: 122 meters ;
                                                    • beam: 18 meters ;
                                                    • max. speed: 27 knots ;
                                                    • autonomy: 45 days ;
                                                    • operational availability: 3,500 hours per year
                                                    • aviation facility: 10 ton-class helicopter + 1 UAV (up to 700 Kg)
                                                    • accommodation: 125 + 28 passengers.

                                                    Comment


                                                    • French military tees up new tech in rush to conquer the seabed

                                                      By Vivienne Machi

                                                      Feb 15, 06:49 AM

                                                      French Navy soldiers sail on a speedboat next to the French warship La Fayette in October 2020. The French Ministry of Defense unveiled a new strategy on Feb. 14, 2022, aimed at dominating the ocean floors up to 6,000 meters below. (Photo by Thomas Coex/AFP via Getty Images)


                                                      STUTTGART, Germany – Autonomous and remotely operated drones are at the heart of France’s ambitions to further explore and exploit the deep sea waters under a new seabed strategy release Monday.

                                                      The goal of the new strategy is to equip the French military with the ability to reach depths of 6,000 meters, or nearly 20,000 feet, said Minister of Defense Florence Parly in a press conference. “This makes it possible to cover 97 percent of the seabed and effectively protect our interests, including sub-marine cables,” she said.

                                                      The French Ministry of Defense will partner with its procurement arm, the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) and industry partners to develop new autonomous unmanned vehicles (AUVs) and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), said Gen. Thierry Burkhard, chief of the Defense Staff, during the briefing.

                                                      By 2023, the military should have developed one AUV and one ROV to serve as initial surveillance assets and be used for testing and assessment purposes. A larger program is expected to be launched by 2025, Burkhard said.

                                                      Two existing programs will also contribute to Paris’ seabed strategy, including the future anti-mine warfare system known by its acronym SLAM-F, which aims to replace Navy divers with robots built by Thales and its partners Saab, ECV and ASV, by 2024. The British navy is also involved in the SLAM-F project, under the Franco-British Maritime Mine Counter Measures (MMCM) program.

                                                      Another program already underway, “CHOF” (capacité hydrographique et océanographique future), aims to replace France’s three hydrographic vessels with newer ships that can more accurately monitor the seabed and underwater activities, Burkhard said.

                                                      The French military has adopted strategies in the past couple of years related to cyber and space security, and Parly sees the seabed strategy as a natural progression. The three relatively nascent “domains” are all ripe for competition, thanks to advances in unmanned technologies, she noted.

                                                      “Today, the emergence of drones and remotely operated robots – driven by the needs of industry [and] capable of carrying out operations that meet military objectives at a depth of several thousand meters – are transforming the seabed into a new space for strategic competition,” Parly said. The sheer immensity and opacity of the deep sea domain will make it difficult to characterize and attribute any actions that take place down below.

                                                      But Paris must be able to react to any such actions, and be capable of protecting the critical seabed infrastructure like the fiberoptic cables that carry 99 percent of the world’s digital data, she emphasized.

                                                      Mastering the seabed will also help protect military and industrial secrets, Parly said. She cited the recent crashes of a U.S. F-35 joint strike fighterin the South China Sea, and a British F-35 in the Mediterranean Sea, as proof “that the ability to search and recover a sensitive object from very great depths is not only a technical issue, but also a strategic one.”

                                                      France is well incentivized to “master” the sea bed. The nation has the largest exclusive economic zone in the world, owing to its many territories still spread across the world – from islands like Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Atlantic, to French Guiana on the coast of South America, to Tahiti and the rest of French Polynesia in the Pacific, to mainland France itself in Europe.

                                                      The seabed strategy is consistent with France’s 2030 investment plan, Parly noted. The Ministry of Defense will be supported by the nation’s recently reformed Ministry of the Sea,which has developed a strategy for the exploration and exploitation of mineral resources on the deep sea bed. Government officials have earmarked 650 million euros (U.S. $734 million) out of a COVID-19 economic recovery plan into the maritime sector.

                                                      Other nations have taken note of the seabed’s potential. China is leading the race to mine the deep seas for rare Earth minerals and crucial battery metals. Beijing holds five deep sea mining contracts, the most of any country.

                                                      Meanwhile, the United Kingdom highlighted the need to focus on undersea warfare in its 2021 Defense Command paper,albeit briefly. In it, the Ministry of Defence warned of Russia’s investment in “significant underwater capabilities, including deep-sea capabilities which can threaten undersea cables, as well as a torpedo capable of delivering a nuclear payload to coastal targets.”

                                                      The UK also declared its commitment to developa new multi-role ocean surveillance ship over the next three years,equipped with remotely-operated and autonomous undersea drones to be used for data and information collection.

                                                      Comment


                                                      • Poland shortlists Babcock, Thyssenkrupp for $2 billion frigate program

                                                        By Jaroslaw Adamowski

                                                        Feb 16, 05:03 AM

                                                        A Polish Soviet-era landing craft delivers Spanish, Romanian, and U.S. Marines to the beach in Lithuania during an amphibious landing exhibition held as part of Exercise Baltic Operations 2019. The Polish Navy wants to modernize its fleet, which includes a frigate acquisition program. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua M. Tolbert/Navy)


                                                        WARSAW, Poland — The Polish Ministry of National Defence has shortlisted two offers for the Miecznik (Swordfish) frigate acquisition program, submitted by UK Babcock International with its Arrowhead 140 vessel, and German Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems’ Meko-A300 warship.

                                                        “The vessels will begin to be built in 2023, and the first unit is to be ready by June 2028,” the ministry’s Armament Agency, which is responsible for acquisitions of weapons and military gear, said in a statement. “Deliveries of further units are scheduled to take place until 2034.”

                                                        Under the program, which is valued at about PLN 8 billion ($2 billion), three new coastal defense frigates are designed to boost Poland’s naval capabilities in the Baltic Sea. The planned procurement is to allow the country’s Navy to replace its two Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates, according to the ministry.

                                                        The latest announcement indicates that Warsaw has discarded the bid submitted by Spanish Navantia which offered its F-100 frigate.

                                                        The next phase of the program will involve negotiations between a consortium formed by the state-run defense group Polish Defence Group (PGZ) and two local shipyards, Remontowa Shipbuilding and PGZ Naval Shipyard, and the two bidders. The Polish consortium is to ensure shipbuilding capacities for the Miecznik program, and the vessels’ technology will be supplied by a selected foreign company.

                                                        Comment



                                                        • Official rendering of the F126 frigate formerly known as MKS 180. It will be designed and built by Damen. German MoD image.


                                                          Damen Signs Mk41 VLS Contract With Lockheed Martin For F126 Frigates

                                                          Damen Naval has contracted Lockheed Martin for the MK 41 Vertical Launching System in support of the F126 project. In this way, Lockheed Martin will significantly support the construction of the new frigates for the German Navy.

                                                          Naval News Staff 16 Feb 2022

                                                          Damen press release

                                                          The award concerns the MK41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) Direct Commercial Sale contract, which was signed on January 31, 2021. Jorge Ciappi, MK 41 VLS International Business Development Manager is delighted with the trust shown in Lockheed Martin by Damen as the contracting party and the BAAINBw having preselected Lockheed Martin for the scope. The Lockheed Martin scope of supply and services includes the production and delivery of two 8-cell strike length MK 41 VLS Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile Block 2 capable modules for each of four ships plus associated engineering efforts and ancillary hardware.

                                                          Both the German and Royal Netherlands Navy operate this system. Damen is familiar with the MK 41 VLS system operating on the Netherlands Air Defence and Command Frigate (ADCF) project and various other projects in the export domain. Moreover, the system has a rich 25+ year history with the German Navy, including projects such as the F123 Brandenburg Class and F124 Sachsen Class frigates.

                                                          Lockheed image
                                                          “This contract is the next logical step for the game-changing project F126. Moreover, it is an excellent example for realizing financial, technical, and operative benefits through bi-national cooperation in Europe. Using Lockheed Martin’s MK 41-system on board of the new German frigates carries on a long and successful history of German and Royal Netherlands Navies operating this system for years.”
                                                          Hein van Ameijden, Managing Director of Damen Naval

                                                          Initially designed with the ability to fire anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, strike, and anti-submarine warfare missiles simultaneously, MK 41 VLS immediately solidified its place as the world’s premier surface-launching system. Its “Any Weapon/Any Cell” design allows an MK41 cell to fire any integrated missile providing maximum flexibility. With over 14,000 deployed VLS cells across more than 150 vessels, 4,500 operational and test firings, and an operational availability of greater than 99 percent, MK 41 VLS stands as a remarkable testament to the ingenuity. With this system, in combination with other systems and sensors onboard, the F126 has the ability to operate in the most complex maritime environments, and therefore contribute internationally to securing safety and stability.

                                                          Damen Naval is building the four F126 class frigates together with its partners Blohm+Voss and Thales. Damen Naval was selected as the successful bidder in 2020 following a European tender process spanning several years. The first ship is expected to be delivered to the German Navy in 2028. All building work will be carried out entirely in Germany at shipyards in Kiel, Hamburg and Wolgast.

                                                          About F126

                                                          Damen image

                                                          The Fregatte Klasse 126 (Frigate class 126 or “F126”, previously known as project Multi-Purpose Combat Ship Mehrzweckkampfschiff 180 “MKS180” ) will be a multi-mission platform. Built-in modules designed for specific military missions will make this possible. These mission modules are at the heart of what “multipurpose combat ship” means in practice.
                                                          • Self-defense and combat missions
                                                          • Creation of a maritime picture above and under water
                                                          • Maritime surveillance and embargo control, including VBSS
                                                          • Military evacuation in crisis situations
                                                          • Escort for merchant ships
                                                          • Command of a naval task force
                                                          The first of four ships is scheduled for delivery in 2028. For the record, the German parliament (Bundestag) formally approved the procurement of four multi-purpose MKS 180 vessels in June 2020. In the contract, the Bundeswehr keeps an option open for the procurement of two additional ships. The same month, Damen Shipyards Group and the German Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr (BAAINBw) signed the contract for the construction of four MKS 180 frigates for the German Navy.

                                                          Thales will be providing the following systems:
                                                          • Tacticos combat management system
                                                          • Satcom system
                                                          • APAR Block 2 x-band multifunction radar for AWWS
                                                          • Gatekeeper 360° IR/TV system
                                                          • Mirador MK2 EO tracking and observation system
                                                          Other equipment (non-Thales) that will be fuzed with the Thales systems (Tacticos + AWWS):
                                                          • MK41 VLS for ESSM Block 2
                                                          • Naval Strike Missile (NSM)
                                                          • KORA C-ESM and R-ESM
                                                          • TRS-4D c-band air and surface surveillance radar
                                                          • RAM CIWS
                                                          • 127mm main gun with Vulcano extended range precision munition
                                                          The decoy launchers will likely be the MASS by Rheinmetall. MKS 180 will be fitted with a sonar suite as well, but the competition for this contract is still ongoing.

                                                          Thales’s Mission and Combat System includes the comprehensive Tacticos Combat Management System and the AWWS (Above Water Warfare System) Fire Control Cluster. The contract includes four ship systems, logistic services, and multiple land-based test and training sites, as well as the option for one or two additional ships.

                                                          F126 Main Characteristics
                                                          • Length: approximately 155 meters at waterline
                                                          • Displacement: maximum 9,000 tonnes
                                                          • Accommodation: 110 crew, 70 passengers
                                                          • Operating endurance: 24 months
                                                          • Operating area: worldwide
                                                          • Ice class: 1C / E1 for sea areas with ice formation
                                                          • Service life: 30 years

                                                          Comment


                                                          • ARHmk3
                                                            ARHmk3 commented
                                                            Editing a comment
                                                            Gotta say it, this ship makes the Hunter class look less bad.

                                                          • ADMk2
                                                            ADMk2 commented
                                                            Editing a comment
                                                            Massive boats, very lightly armed, 9000t and no area air defence capability…




                                                        • Polish Frigate Procurement: Type 31 Vs MEKO A300 In Final

                                                          The Polish government announced on February 10 the down selection of two competitors for the Miecznik frigate programme: Babcock's Arrowhead-140PL and Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems' MEKO-A300PL. Both frigate design qualified for the final phase. Spanish shipbuilder Navantia with its F-100 design was not retained for the next phase.

                                                          Tayfun Ozberk 20 Feb 2022

                                                          Following the completion of the study phase for the procurement of three frigates, the Polish Ministry of Defense has chosen the designs of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) and Babcock International for contract negotiations. During this phase, the Spanish Navantia F100 frigate offer was discarded.

                                                          The Polish Ministry of Defense stated in a press release that the evaluation was based on criteria such as tactical and technical parameters, combat potential, the possibility of unifying the acquired military equipment with the equipment currently owned by the Polish Armed Forces, as well as the life cycle costs of the proposed solutions and their potential for further modernization.

                                                          The most notable part of the announcement was that the proposals presented by German (TKMS) and British (Babcock) industrial partners scored within 5% of each other, which shows that the final phase of the negotiations would be tough.

                                                          Negotiations will then take place between the PGZ-MIECZNIK Consortium (Miecznik’s prime contractor) and foreign partners offering technologies for the ship’s structure and combat system. The final signing of the PGZ-MIECZNIK Consortium’s Business-to-Business contract with a foreign partner, the solution of which was indicated as the first-choice option, will be contingent on the final acquisition terms and costs.

                                                          If the parties can agree on the financial and other technical issues, the contract will be signed; otherwise, PGZ will negotiate with the latter.
                                                          A brief look over the finalists

                                                          MEKO-A300


                                                          MEKO A-300 infographic (Credit: TKMS)

                                                          As previously reported by Naval News, the MEKO-A300 is a heavily armed frigate with a unique design that ensures survivability as well as a good fighting capability in three domains: air, surface, and sub-surface.

                                                          Though the company did not reveal the ship’s key specifications, rumors circulating from the company’s offer to Greece suggest that the ship’s length will be around 125-130 meters, with a tonnage of around 5500 tons.

                                                          According to the information revealed by the company officials, the MEKO A-300 frigates will be armed with two VLS systems: a Mk 41 VLS 4×8 cells in the forward section, and a 36-cell VLS between masts launching air defence missiles in different ranges. The ships would be armed with 4 quad launchers for anti-ship and land-attack missiles, two triple 324 mm torpedo launchers will be deployed on the starboard and port sides to engage subsurface targets.

                                                          The main cannon is the 127mm Vulcano. 2 RAM launchers (carrying 21 missiles each) will be located for close-in missile defence. MEKO -A300 frigates will be capable to deploy sea mines, and 533 mm torpedo launchers in the mission module.

                                                          The sensor suite is yet to be disclosed.

                                                          Type-31

                                                          Arrowhead-140 (Babcock image)

                                                          There is no open-source information about Babcock’s offer for the Miecznik program, but available data indicates that the frigate will be based on the Arrowhead-140 design, dubbed Arrowhead-140PL.

                                                          The Inspiration-class frigates are the UK version of Type-31 frigates that are scheduled to replace the Royal Navy’s aging Type 23 general-purpose frigates. However, given its size (approximately 140m long and a displacement of more than 5,700t), the Type-31 is a relatively lightly armed asset. The main concerns of these ship outfitters are cost issues and getting the ships into service as soon as possible.

                                                          The baseline UK variant of Type 31 will come with up to 24 SeaCeptor and will be fitted for but not with Mk41 VLS. The ship will be armed with two Bofors 40 Mk4 small caliber guns and one Bofors 57 Mk3 medium caliber gun. Anti-ship missiles and ASW weapons will be absent from the UK version (except those in the helicopter).

                                                          The frigate can be outfitted with an open architecture combat system, bridge wing modules, and mission bays that can be configured in a variety of ways.

                                                          Will these ships meet the Polish demands?

                                                          According to a statement from the Polish Ministry of Defense, MIECZNIK ships will be outfitted with air defense systems, surface-to-surface and surface-to-ground weapon systems, and anti-submarine weapons. These units are expected to improve the Polish Navy’s capabilities in monitoring and controlling sea areas, defending sea bases, and combating surface, underwater, and air threats, as well as land targets.

                                                          Source: Google Maps

                                                          Because of its location in the Baltic Sea, Russian submarines based in the Baltic fleet pose the most serious threat to the Polish Navy. This is a threat not only to Poland but also to other countries in the region. As a result, Baltic riparian countries have been attempting to improve their ASW capabilities, such as Sweden’s plans to improve the ASW capabilities of Visby-class corvettes in mid-life upgrades and Finland’s project to equip Hamina-class missile boats with torpedoes. As a result, MIECZNIK ships’ ASW capabilities are expected to be of high quality.

                                                          Because Babcock did not declare the specifications of the Arrowhead-140PL variant, comparing two designs would be unrealistic because the UK variant would not meet the Polish Navy’s needs, as previously stated. Because the Inspiration-class frigates will lack anti-ship missiles and ASW weapons, as well as relevant sensors. MEKO-A300 frigates, on the other hand, have excellent ASW capabilities due to their hull-mounted and towed-array sonars, lightweight torpedoes, and ability to house heavy torpedoes.

                                                          The Polish Navy does not have a big number of large combatants. As a result, the ships’ armament should not be inadequate. MEKO-A300 frigates meet and exceed Poland’s requirements. Despite the fact that officials provided no information about the cost of the MEKO-A300, it appears to be expensive.

                                                          The UK variant of the Arrowhead-140 appears to be a less expensive solution, but, while the details are unknown, Babcock’s Arrowhead-140PL offer is probably configured in accordance with Poland’s needs. As a result, the Arrowhead-140PL should be significantly more armed and more expensive than the UK variant. In accordance with the Polish MoD’s release that the difference between Babcock’s and the TKMS’s offer is only 5%, the TKMS offer may be a less armed variant of MEKO-A300 than the previously revealed configuration.

                                                          After the exact configurations of the ships, at least the primary weapons load, are revealed, it will be possible to make a more realistic comparison between the two designs, and their compatibility with the needs and ambitions of the Polish Navy.

                                                          Comment


                                                          • ARHmk3
                                                            ARHmk3 commented
                                                            Editing a comment
                                                            As an observation, the MEKO design has the main gun far forward, to the point it will be almost worthless in any kind of rough seas...
                                                            I don't see this being an issue given its primary area of operation will be in the Baltic.

                                                          • Bug2
                                                            Bug2 commented
                                                            Editing a comment
                                                            I sincerely beg to differ, having been on the Baltic Sea's during storms and severe bad weather, everything from a ferry, to a fishing boat, to a supply vessel and a friend's sailing boat..............the Baltic is NOT a pond.............

                                                          • unicorn11
                                                            unicorn11 commented
                                                            Editing a comment
                                                            The Baltic, particularly in winter, is a bloody miserable piece of water.


                                                        • Lorraine, the 8th and final Aquitaine-class frigate, setting sails from the Naval Group shipyard in Lorient to start initial sea trials. Naval Group picture.


                                                          France’s Final FREMM Frigate ‘Lorraine’ Starts Sea Trials

                                                          On February 22, 2022, Naval Group started the first sea trials of the FREMM DA 'Lorraine', an important step before the frigate's delivery. For several days, the eighth FREMM to be delivered to the French Navy and second with enhanced air defence capabilities (FREMM DA), will undergo sea trials off the coast of Brittany.

                                                          Xavier Vavasseur 22 Feb 2022

                                                          Naval Group press release

                                                          First sea trials for the last of the French FREMM series

                                                          Ordered by the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR), on behalf of the French Procurement Agency (DGA) and the French Navy, the FREMM DA Lorraine is the eighth and last multi-mission frigate to be built for the French Navy. It is also the second FREMM with enhanced air defence capabilities (FREMM DA).

                                                          Two hundred and fifty people are mobilized to prepare this first sea trial. This session will enable the performance of the ship’s propulsion and navigation systems to be tested. Several campaigns will then be carried out to test all the systems. FREMM DA Lorraine will then be delivered by the end of the year.
                                                          “This first sea trial is a very important moment, especially as this is the last frigate of the FREMM series. This is the first time the ship has been at sea. This milestone also symbolizes three years of preliminary work with our teams and partners. Thanks to exchanges since the beginning of this program in 2005, the FREMM DA Lorraine carries the most recent and efficient technologies on board”.
                                                          Didier Trehin, Naval Group’s on-board manager for this first campaign

                                                          After being launched in November 2020, the first sea trial of the FREMM DA Lorraine is taking place on schedule and in accordance with the company’s contractual commitment to deliver the ship in 2022. Naval Group’s teams and partners’ have been mobilized to meet this milestone despite the Covid crisis.

                                                          The FREMM program proceeds according to the schedule established by the last Military Planning Law (LPM). Seven FREMMs have already been delivered to the French Navy between 2012 and 2021. Aquitaine in 2012, Provence in 2015, Languedoc in 2016, Auvergne in April 2017, Bretagne in July 2018, Normandie in July 2019 and Alsace in April 2021. Internationally, the Mohammed VI was delivered to Morocco in 2014 and the Tahya Misr delivrerd to Egypt in 2015.

                                                          Lorraine, the 8th and final Aquitaine-class frigate, setting sails from the Naval Group shipyard in Lorient to start initial sea trials. Naval Group picture.
                                                          FREMM benefited from the program’s feedback, from the start of the construction

                                                          With 3,500 hours at sea per year, the FREMMs’ level of availability at sea is unmatched and is an important source of information. The permanent dialogue between the navies, the DGA, the OCCAR, as well as the construction and maintenance teams, enables Naval Group to propose technologies adapted to the evolution of its customers’ operational needs.

                                                          As a result of this operational feedback, the FREMM DA Lorraine benefits from the deployment of new functions: enhanced cyber capabilities, deployment of Liaison 22 (link between NATO military units), reduced width mast, replacement of the optronic artillery fire control by a radar/optronic fire control, or the integration of a tactical table.

                                                          A polyvalent FREMM that has mobilized all the know-how of Naval Group and its industrial partners

                                                          Multi-mission frigates, designed and built by Naval Group, are polyvalent, stealthy and highly automated ships capable of responding to all types of air, sea, submarine or land threats.
                                                          The operational excellence of FREMMs is recognized worldwide, such as by the US Navy, whose 6th Fleet has awarded the Hook’em Award to four FREMMs for their excellence in anti-submarine warfare two years in a row.

                                                          A multi-mission frigate represents four million hours of work, about half of which benefits the supply chain and local actors. The design, construction and maintenance of FREMMs mobilize two hundred and fifty unique skills, some of which are so specific that they require up to eleven years of training (carpenter-sheet metal worker, hull welder, boilermaker, etc.).

                                                          The frigate will be based in Toulon alongside the FREMM DA Alsace to provide air defence for major units such as the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier or the amphibious helicopter carrier (PHA), as part of a naval or amphibious strike group. The FREMMs with enhanced air capabilities, Alsace and Lorraine, are thus able to carry out the same anti-submarine warfare missions as the other FREMMs in the series, in addition to their enhanced air capabilities.

                                                          The FREMM DA also use the most advanced weapons and equipment systems such as the Herakles multifunction radar supplied by Thales, the Aster 15 and 30 and Exocet MM 40 missiles, the MU 90 torpedoes and three additional Combat Management System Setis® consoles in the “central operations”. Like the other FREMMs, the Lorraine will carry the NH90 helicopter (Caiman Marine), whose use is supported by the SAMAHE® system supplied by Naval Group.

                                                          -End-

                                                          About FREMM DA

                                                          FREMM DA frigate Alsace during the POLARIS 21 exercise. French Navy picture.

                                                          According to Naval Group, the FREMM DA Alsace and Lorraine are strongly armed surface combatants fitted with the most performant weapon systems and equipment such as: the Herakles multifunction radar, the Aster 15 and 30 surface to air missiles, the Exocet MM 40 anti-ship missiles or the MU 90 torpedo. The performance of their combat system are reinforced with increased radar and communication capacities, a new fire control radar, and a SETIS CMS fitted with specific anti-air defense functions.

                                                          While the FREMM DA retains the same anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities as earlier vessels of the Aquitaine-class (with CAPTAS-4 and UMS 4110 CL sonars), its so called “increased capabilities in air defense” consists in a few notable changes:
                                                          • The Thales Herakles multi-function radar is more powerful, has more transmitter modules, additional wave-forms and search modes for long range air defense
                                                          • A Thales STIR EO MK 2 fire control radar replaces the Najir by Sagem (providing better AAW and ASuW capabilities to the 76mm main gun)
                                                          • Reinforced bridge structure to accommodate the extra weight of the above
                                                          • 4x Sylver A50 vertical launch systems for a total of 32x MBDA Aster 15 or 30 surface to air missiles
                                                          • Additional communication systems and antennas
                                                          • 3x additional consoles in the CIC (the global arrangement inside the CIC has been modified accordingly) for a total of 20 aboard the ship
                                                          • Modifications to the SETIS combat management system with specific air defense functions
                                                          • Additional berthing

                                                          According to the French Navy’s FREMM program manager, the FREMM DA main mission will be area air defense of major Marine Nationale units such as the Charles de Gaulle aircraft-carrier and the three Mistral-class LHDs, within a carrier-strike group or as part of an amphibious group.

                                                          Alsace, the first of the two FREMM DA for the French Navy, during sea trials off Lorient in October 2020. Naval News picture

                                                          Technical characteristics of the FREMM DA
                                                          • Overall length: 142 m
                                                          • Width: 20 m
                                                          • Displacement: 6,000 tons
                                                          • Max. speed: 27 knots
                                                          • Complement: 119 sailors (+ 14 for the aviation crew)
                                                          • Accommodation: 165 men and women
                                                          • Range: 6,000 at 15 knots
                                                          FREMM DA weapon systems
                                                          • 8 Exocet MM40 Block 3 anti-ship missiles
                                                          • 32 Aster missiles in Sylver® vertical launch systems
                                                          • One 76 mm main gun
                                                          • Four 12.7 mm machine guns
                                                          • 19 MU90 torpedoes
                                                          • One NH90 NFH maritime helicopter
                                                          • Two Narwhal 20 mm remotely operated guns

                                                          Comment


                                                          • Bug2
                                                            Bug2 commented
                                                            Editing a comment
                                                            Nice radar fit-out, rubbish amount of missiles for an air-defence frigate, should have been double this amount at least............

                                                          • ADMk2
                                                            ADMk2 commented
                                                            Editing a comment
                                                            They allege they have actually ‘more’ shots than similar SM-2 equipped ships, because Aster 30 launch profile is 1 missile per target whereas SM-2 is 2 missiles per ship.

                                                            They are conspicuously quiet on SM-6 and SM-2 Block IIIC (SM-2 fitted with SM-6 active guidance package) not to mention a complete lack. of a short/mid-ranged SAM to provide overlapping fields of defensive fires…


                                                        • The final block being lowered. Chantiers de l'Atlantique picture.


                                                          French Navy’s New BRF Supply Ships Assembled In Record Time

                                                          Chantiers de l'Atlantique completed in record time the assembly of the “Jacques Chevallier”, the French shipyard announced on its social media last week. The last block of the first of four new logistic support ships (LSS) known as "BRF" for the French Navy (Marine Nationale) was successfully connected with the rest of the hull at the shipyard in St Nazaire.

                                                          Nathan Gain 02 Mar 2022

                                                          By doing so, Chantiers de l’Atlantique just completed an assembly process which started on December 15, 2021 with the arrival of the first section. The assembly of the Jacques Chevallier was then carried out in record time of 50 days, the shipyard said yesterday.

                                                          The keel-laying of the “Jacques Chevallier” took place at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in late December.

                                                          A keel laying ceremony was initially set to take place on 14 December 2021 (two days prior to the keel laying of the first FDI new generation frigate for the French Navy) and Naval News was set to cover the event. However the ceremony was cancelled at the time due to bad weather: The forward section of the ship, which was built in Italy by local shipbuilder Fincantieri, could not be delivered in time. It appears that the keel laying took place on Christmas Eve, with no ceremony, no fanfare and no coverage.

                                                          About BRF / Chevallier-class Replenishment Tanker

                                                          Artist impression of the future BRF vessel. Naval Group image.

                                                          The construction of the first of four new replenishment tankers / supply vessels for the French navy (Marine Nationale) started in May 2020 at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in cooperation with Naval Group. The future vessels will be known as the Jacques Chevallier-class.

                                                          Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Naval Group were awarded a contract for the construction of four supply vessels in January 2019. The vessels are set to be delivered between the end of 2022 and 2029. It is part of a Franco-Italian program led by OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’Armement – Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation), on behalf of the French defense procurement agency (DGA) and its Italian counterpart NAVARM. As such, the design of the French BRF design is based on the Italian Navy LSS (Vulcano-class) designed by Fincantieri.

                                                          Safran Electronics & Defense was selected to supply the PASEO XLR extra long-range naval optronic identification & fire control system while to all four vessels of the class, while Vestdavit has won a tender from Chantiers de l’Atlantique to supply the davit systems for the BRFs. The RAPIDFire naval gun system developed by the consortium formed by Thales and Nexter has been chosen as the main artillery and CIWS for the class (two systems per ship). GE is providing the propulsion systems (MV7000 drives) of the vessels.

                                                          Main characteristics of the BRF vessels

                                                          Gross tonnage: 28,700 GRT
                                                          Displacement at full load: 31,000 tonnes
                                                          Overall length: 194 m
                                                          Overall width: 27.60 m
                                                          Crew capacity: 190 people (including 130 crew members and capacity for 60 passengers)
                                                          Total deadweight: 14,870 tonnes
                                                          Freight volume: 13,000 m3
                                                          Total installed capacity: 24 MW
                                                          Artillery: 40 mm guns
                                                          Polaris® Combat Management System

                                                          Comment


                                                          • Bug2
                                                            Bug2 commented
                                                            Editing a comment
                                                            Not too surprised these yards are building them quickly, most of the yards and/or the people, have experience building modules for the Offshore Oil and Gas, Wind Farm and other such industries.

                                                            I've dealt with a number of them in my distant past Offshore project days in particular.

                                                        • Polish Navy chooses Arrowhead 140 design for new frigates

                                                          By Andrew Chuter

                                                          Mar 5, 02:27 AM

                                                          An artist's rendering shows the Arrowhead 140 design. (Babcock International)


                                                          LONDON — Britain has further strengthened its defense industrial ties with Poland following the March 4 announcement that Babcock International’s Arrowhead 140 ship design was selected to equip the Polish Navy with a new class of frigates.

                                                          The London-based company said it concluded a series of strategic cooperation partnering agreements with the PGZ-Miecznik consortium responsible for delivering three frigates from shipyards in the Polish port city Gdynia.

                                                          Babcock’s decision means it turned down ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems’ Meko A-300PL proposal.

                                                          Key systems suppliers in the Miecznik program are also starting to be announced. Thales UK, alongside its local partner OBR CTM, will provide the TACTICOS combat management system, while MBDA UK’s Sea Ceptor missile will provide anti-air capabilities.

                                                          Both suppliers are already part of the Babcock-led team building five Type 31 general-purpose frigates for the British Royal Navy using the Arrowhead 140 platform.

                                                          The detailed design and systems integration planning process for the Polish frigates is expected to conclude later this year, with construction starting next year and completion of the first ship in 2028.

                                                          The Arrowhead design is based on Danish company OMT’s Iver Huitfeldt frigate in service with the Royal Danish Navy.

                                                          “Poland is one of our oldest and closest allies, and we continue to strengthen our partnership to help deter future threats,” U.K. Defence Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin said in a statement following the design choice. “The Arrowhead 140 frigate will be a formidable addition to Poland’s fleet, providing world leading capabilities to Poland’s growing naval presence.”

                                                          This is the second export market success for Babcock in quick order. Indonesia last year selected the Arrowhead 140 for an upcoming frigate program.

                                                          Babcock was also on track to undertake a significant rebuilding of Ukraine’s military and industrial capabilities before Russia launched an invasion of the country last week. In mid-2021, the company signed a tripartite agreement with the British and Ukraine governments to pursue a program upgrading existing military ships, build new vessels and regenerate industrial capabilities in the Eastern European state.

                                                          A spokesperson for Babcock declined to comment on the current status of the program beyond confirming the company had no employees in Ukraine at this time.

                                                          The two deals represent a continuing renaissance of British maritime exports, with Australia and Canada recently purchasing anti-submarine frigates based on BAE Systems’ Type 26, which were ordered by the British Royal Navy.

                                                          A continuing export drive is expected to be a key element in a refresh of the British government’s national shipbuilding strategy, expected to be published shortly.

                                                          In both the Polish and Indonesian agreements, the ships will be built locally. For Poland, that means assembly of the ships will take place in its shipbuilding hub in Gdynia.

                                                          The selection of the Arrowhead 140 design is the second major defense industry deal between the two nations in a matter of months. In November, the British and Polish governments announced a multibillion-pound agreement to develop a ground-based air defense system dubbed Narew. It will use the same missile proposed for the frigates.

                                                          Comment


                                                          • unicorn11
                                                            unicorn11 commented
                                                            Editing a comment
                                                            Well Sea Ceptor was part of the bid, but the SSM will be interesting, between the NSM, SAABs offering and various other Euro-missiles.

                                                          • CaptainCleanoff
                                                            CaptainCleanoff commented
                                                            Editing a comment
                                                            I would imagine it would probably be NSM considering the Polish Navy already operate them from their ground based coastal defence systems.

                                                            Regardless, a good choice by the Poles. It's about time they got some decent surface combatants.

                                                          • Bug2
                                                            Bug2 commented
                                                            Editing a comment
                                                            Yeah, I agree with NSM, they seem very happy with the Land launched version............maybe's the model displayed so far IS the version they will get, so 57mm Bofors main gun, RAM 21 at the elevated position behind the main gun, and Bofors 40mm at the back. Add in a couple of 30mm RCWS to Port and Starboard, and she's a mighty punchy, basic Frigate............she'll take 16 x NSM and a Hell of a lot more Sea Ceptor than shown so far.
                                                            Last edited by Bug2; 07-03-22, 05:50 AM.


                                                        • A pair of Rafale M fighters about to launch from aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. French Navy picture.


                                                          French Aircraft Carrier Now Supporting NATO

                                                          The French Navy (Marine Natiionale) aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and its air wing has started supporting NATO's enhanced Vigilance Activities in the Black Sea region following a short logistical stop in Cyprus.

                                                          Xavier Vavasseur 04 Mar 2022

                                                          As we previously reported, the French carrier strike group (CSG) stopped a few days in Cyprus, and went back to sea on March 2nd, heading to the central Mediterranean sea. The French CSG is thus actively reinforcing the defense and dissuasive posture of NATO in Eastern Europe.
                                                          The French CSG set sail again yesterday after a few days of port call in Cyprus. Clemenceau22 continues, but the mission evolves to adapt to the current geopolitical situation. The flexibility of the carrier vessel nuclear and her escort is once again a major asset. The diversity of the CSG’s naval and air assets, its ability to last at sea and its freedom of action, allow France and its allies to have at their disposal a flexible instrument of power, capable of adapting very quickly. The detection capabilities of the E2-C Hawkeye will notably enable the carrier strike group to assess the surface situation at the Europe maritime borders, especially in the Black Sea. Deployed yesterday in CJTFOIR to fight against Daech, engaged today for the benefit of the reassurance of our NATO partners on the eastern flank of Europe, the carrier strike group continues to operate for the protection of France and the European continent.
                                                          French Navy statement on Twitter

                                                          Contacted by Naval News, a French Navy spokesman said the CSG will contribute 3 Combat Air Patrols (CAP) of two Rafale M each, per day. This translates into a nearly permanent (24 hours) presence. In addition, a daily E-2C Hawkeye flight is planned from the carrier, as well as occasion patrols by the two ATL2 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) currently based in Cyprus. The Rafale M will be refueled by NATO tankers present in the area. The patrol zones are the skies above Romania, Bulgaria and the Black Sea. The spokesman didn’t want to specify the exact locations where the CSG will be sailing other than the “central Mediterranean sea”.

                                                          Tayfun Ozberk, a former Turkish Navy officer (and regular Naval News contributor), stated that the Aegean Sea, while closer to Romania and the Black Sea region, is not an ideal environment for carrier operations due to the sea’s littoral structure, which includes many islands and heavy maritime traffic. The north of Crete island is is more compatible, although the distance gained is only minimal in comparison to the open water of the central Mediterranean.

                                                          Comment



                                                          • Thales will equip the future MIECZNIK Frigates of the Polish Navy with the integrated combat system TACTICOS

                                                            4 March 2022 – The Polish Armed Forces has selected Thales as the preferred technology provider for the future frigate Programme for the Polish Navy, MIECZNIK. This programme has strategic importance for Poland. Thales is offering an efficient low risk and comprehensive integrated combat system solution designed to meet Poland’s operational and industrial requirements. Thales will contribute to consolidate Poland’s local defence industry by working with PGZ-MIECZNIK Consortium and other Polish industry actors.

                                                            Thales will leverage its experience of working with the Polish Navy and its 20-year relationship with its in-country partner, OBR CTM, to increase Polish industry’s contribution to its combat systems solutions both within Poland and in its global export markets.

                                                            Working together with Babcock and with the support of the UK Government, Thales will put key learnings from the Type 31 programme in the UK into good use to reduce risk and ease the path to vessel acceptance. Poland’s plans for the MIECZNIK frigates will deliver enhanced capabilities which will be of interest to other navies.

                                                            The combat management system (CMS) is the central command and decision-making element of a naval vessel combat system. Its function and performance – supporting sensor control, picture compilation, situation assessment, action support and weapon control – are critical to the operational effectiveness of a naval vessel. In service on more than 200 naval platforms, TACTICOS, has an unrivalled record of proven equipment integrations.

                                                            Thales’ CMS has an open and extensible architecture which creates a shared information environment and delivers agility in service. An enterprise development kit enables seamless integration of third party capabilities and a smooth path to future platform and system upgrades. In service with 25 navies the combat management system has highly intuitive human machine interfaces which deliver operational benefits for naval crews fighting the ship.

                                                            “We are proud to be part of this key programme for the Polish Armed Forces. Being down-selected by Polish Armed Forces recognizes the technology we can offer but also the experience we bring to integrating and delivering complex systems. This is not only a success for Thales but a significant success for Team UK. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Poland to the benefit of both nations.” Alex Cresswell, Chief Executive and Chairman, Thales in the UK

                                                            “We are proud that we have been selected for this major programme. It strengthens our relationship with the Polish Navy that dates back to the Orkan Class ships and the ORP Ślązak offshore patrol-vessel. We are looking forward to working together with Polish industry to support the Navy in its task to safeguard Polish sovereignty.” Gerben Edelijn, Vice President Above Water Systems, Thales

                                                            “It is a great honor for us, we are glad that we have been selected by the Polish Armed Forces as the preferred technology supplier in the MIECZNIK program. We will make every effort to meet the requirements – both operational and industrial. In cooperation, we always focus on dialogue and we strive to provide services at the highest possible level, this is Thales’ showcase. We hope for further development of cooperation with the Polish industry and a successful technology transfer.” Magdalena Nizik, Country Director and Chief Executive Officer, Thales Polska

                                                            Image courtesy Babcock

                                                            Comment


                                                            • Poland eyes three new vessels to boost Baltic Sea mine-hunting chops

                                                              By Jaroslaw Adamowski

                                                              Mar 16, 05:51 AM

                                                              Machine gunners on Swedish vessel HMS Trosso are pictured as the Polish minesweeper Kormoran is seen in the background during a demining exercise in the Baltic Sea in September 2021. (Photo by Johan Nilsson/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images)


                                                              WARSAW, Poland — With Russia’s invasion of its neighbor Ukraine accelerating a number of procurements in Poland, Warsaw plans to boost its naval capacities in the Baltic Sea through the acquisition of three new mine countermeasure vessels (MCVs) in the coming months, according to Polish National Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.

                                                              “We want this contract to be signed in June, at the latest. This will allow to maintain the competences and preserve the continuity of production activities of Polish shipyards,” Błaszczak said in a tweet.

                                                              With the planned procurement, the Polish Navy is to reach a total of six modern MCVs in its fleet. To date, the defence ministry has ordered three Kormoran II-class vessels from a consortium formed by the Gdansk-based Remontowa Shipbuilding shipyard and the country’s defense giant PGZ.

                                                              The first of the three acquired MCVs, ORP Kormoran, was ordered in 2013 and commissioned four years later. A further two vessels of this class, ORP Mewa and ORP Albatros, are to undergo final tests before they will be delivered to Poland’s naval forces.

                                                              Last week, the lower chamber of the Polish parliament passed a bill that is to increase the country’s defense spending to 3 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) next year. The legislation currently awaits approval by the parliament’s upper chamber, after which it could be signed by the Polish president.

                                                              For 2022, the defense ministry’s budget is set at the level of about PLN 57.1 billion (US$13.3 billion). However, some of Poland’s military acquisitions are financed directly from the state budget.

                                                              Comment



                                                              • Early official design rendering of the EPC European Patrol Corvette (PESCO project). Naviris (Fincantieri / Naval Group) image.


                                                                European Patrol Corvette Could Start Construction In Four Years

                                                                The Italian Navy (Marina Militare), which is the lead partner of the European Patrol Corvette (EPC) project hosted the meeting in which the navies of the four participating countries participated. The EPC is the most important PESCO project for the maritime domain.

                                                                Nathan Gain 17 Mar 2022

                                                                The EPC construction contract could be signed as early as 2025 and the keel laying of the first ship could take place in 2026 with delivery starting in 2030.

                                                                Italian Navy press release – translation by Naval News

                                                                The European Patrol Corvette (EPC) Project Team held a meeting on March 8 with representatives of the Italian, French, Spanish and Hellenic navies and European Defence Agency (EDA).

                                                                The EPC is a class of second-line vessels jointly designed by four European countries. They will be built by an industrial consortium consisting of four companies from three different countries, including the Italian shipyard Fincantieri.

                                                                The March 8 meeting, dedicated to the drafting of the common requirements, was fundamental to further develop the capability development document at the base of the project and to shed the convergence of intentions of the four countries in order to make the project certainly materializable by the industrial consortium.

                                                                The EPC is part of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), namely the European Union’s structured cooperation in the defense sector. The project was proposed by the Italian Navy, supported by the Italian Ministry of Defense and approved by the European Commission on 12 November 2019.

                                                                The initiative, formally launched following the signing of a letter of intent joint with the French Navy on 3 June 2019, has aroused the interest of several nations that later expressed the intention to adhere as a participant member.

                                                                To date, Italy (as coordinator), France, Greece, Spain and Portugal (as observer) are involved. Thanks to the support of the European Defense Agency (EDA), institutional referent for the definition and harmonization phase of the common requirements, a convergence was found for the preparation of initial plant documents with the aim of establishing the lines of Development of the entire program.

                                                                The European Corvette will be equipped with strong flexibility qualities, able to carry out multiple missions and therefore both “presence and surveillance” tasks and those with a “combat” profile. The objective is to pursue an increasing synergy and optimization for the development of the maritime instrument and, at the same time, to overcome the fragmentation that characterizes the EU today, where there are more than 30 ships classes from 500 to 4,000 tons.

                                                                After the March 8 meeting, the next steps will be to initiate the national Operational Requirement approval process to seal the achievements and continue the design process by defining the detailed requirements. The contract to build the European corvettes could be signed as early as 2025 and the keel laying of the first ship could take place in 2026 with delivery starting in 2030.

                                                                -End-

                                                                Naval News comments:

                                                                For the record, a consortium led by Fincantieri, Naval Group and Navantia and coordinated by Naviris submitted on December 9th 2021 an industrial proposal related to the MMPC call of the European Defence Fund (EDF).

                                                                The “MMPC” term first surfaced in the European Defence Fund 2021 calls for proposals document first issued in October 2021.

                                                                According to a Naval News source familiar with the matter, MMPC is not the new name for the EPC program. Rather, EPC is the name of the Pesco project (launched with support of EDA in 2019) with Italy, France, Spain, Greece (+ Portugal as observer). MMPC is the name of the 1st European Defence Fund call, launched in July 2021, covering the first phase of the program: up to initial corvette design + technological bricks. EPC remains the name of the three shipbuilders’ offer answering to the MMPC call, supported by co-funding Nations: Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Norway.

                                                                Comment


                                                                • unicorn11
                                                                  unicorn11 commented
                                                                  Editing a comment
                                                                  Yes, because international naval programs between multiple NATO countries never end in tears, do they?

                                                                  Horizon, NFR, NOPV, etc, etc, etc.
                                                                  Last edited by unicorn11; 18-03-22, 03:32 AM.

                                                              • Lockheed Martin making final push for Greek frigate construction, modernization work

                                                                By Megan Eckstein

                                                                Mar 18, 06:03 AM

                                                                An artist's rendering of Lockheed Martin's Hellenic Future Frigate design, shown alongside the MH-60R helicopter it would operate with if Greece picks this from six current options for its surface navy modernization effort. (Lockheed Martin)


                                                                WASHINGTON — Talks between Lockheed Martin and the Greek Navy will continue, as the company has modified its pitch to secure a piece of the country’s surface fleet modernization program.

                                                                Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Navy together offered the official U.S. bid to the Hellenic Navy in December, in a letter of agreement that expired March 17.

                                                                Industry sources told Defense News the U.S. Navy has extended the LOA through Sept. 18, giving the U.S. team more time to talk with Greek officials and decide if the deal will go forward.

                                                                Greece originally laid out a multi-pronged approach to modernizing its surface fleet: buying new frigates and corvettes, upgrading its four Hydra-class MEKO frigates, and obtaining used surface ships to operate while the MEKOs are in their mid-life upgrade program.

                                                                The official U.S. pitch was for Lockheed Martin to upgrade the MEKOs with the company’s suite of products centered around the Aegis Combat System; the Hellenic Navy to buy some number of the company’s Hellenic Future Frigate, also centered around the Aegis system and designed specifically for Greece’s mission needs, the first of which would be built in the U.S. and later ships built in Greece; and the U.S. Navy to provide four decommissioned warships to serve as a temporary gap-filler.

                                                                Greece announced Sept. 28 it would buy three Belharra frigates from France, but Lockheed Martin Vice President and General Manager for Naval Combat and Missile Defense Systems Joe DePietro told Defense News his company is pitching the Hellenic Navy on buying additional new ships to round out the program.

                                                                DePietro said in a Feb. 17 interview Greece originally wanted as many as four to six frigates and four to six corvettes. Not only has Greece only inked a deal for three frigates — leaving the door open to buy more — but DePietro said Greece also made clear it wanted its domestic shipbuilding industry involved. Naval Group, which builds the Belharra frigates, will construct Greece’s ships on its production line in Lorient with its own predominantly French supply chain.

                                                                Lockheed Martin said it sees an opening to push for ship modernization and even ship construction with Greek shipbuilders and suppliers.

                                                                The crux of Lockheed Martin’s revised pitch is that it could sell Greece a slightly different surface combatant than the Hellenic Future Frigate — either the Freedom-variant littoral combat ship with lethality and survivability upgrades to fill the corvette piece of the plan, or the larger Multi-Mission Surface Combatant currently being built for Saudi Arabia that the HF2 design was derived from — and be ready to start production right away at the Hellenic Shipyard outside Athens.

                                                                DePietro acknowledged the LCS is larger than a typical corvette — about 3,300 metric tons, compared to a traditional corvette that might be 1,500 to 2,500 metric tons — but said the ship’s use of water jets instead of propellers allows the LCS to operate in shallower waters than European corvettes. While the price tag of about $400 million apiece is a bit more expensive than the other options, he said it comes with the training and spares support associated with a U.S. foreign military sales case.

                                                                On the MMSC option, Lockheed Martin said it could use the proven work instructions from the hot MMSC line at Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard in Wisconsin and immediately bring them over to the Greek shipyard — whereas the original HF2 proposal was a related but distinct ship design and would be considered a new start. In that case, Lockheed Martin had originally proposed working out the kinks with its experienced workforce in Wisconsin on the first ship.

                                                                Lockheed said it has already had conversations with George Procopiou, who last year purchased the Hellenic Shipyard in Skaramagas, just west of Athens.

                                                                “We’ve met with him now five times, and we got to the point where, at the last sit-down, I was walking him through the module breakdown of the construction of an LCS or an MMSC, parts, material flows, what would be done in the yard and how we would like optimize the yard,” DePietro said, adding they talked through what buildings the yard would need to replicate the ship construction model at Marinette Marine.

                                                                “Mr. Procopiou is willing to make a significant investment like we did in Marinette to make that transformation,” DePietro said.

                                                                DePietro said Lockheed Martin hasn’t signed formal agreements with the shipyard, but the other shipyard in Greece — Elefsis Shipyard, just up the waterfront from Hellenic Shipyard — does not have a clear owner right now and is not in a position to have these detailed discussions.

                                                                Lockheed would likely do the MEKO repairs and modernization at the Hellenic Shipyard as well. This means the workforce there would be trained to do ship construction and repair to U.S. Navy standards.

                                                                The Navy this year will deploy its first Freedom-variant LCS from Florida to U.S. 6th Fleet in Europe and/or U.S. 5th Fleet in the Middle East, kicking off what’s expected to be a continuous LCS presence on the other side of the Atlantic. The Navy has a contract with Spanish contractor Navantia to conduct surface ship maintenance in Rota, Spain, but DePietro said the addition of LCSs to the region would require additional maintenance capacity.

                                                                The Hellenic Shipyard would have the facilities and the trained workforce to do these repairs, if the Navy opted to do use the yard as an Eastern Mediterranean maintenance hub to complement the work taking place just outside the Med in Rota.

                                                                It remains unclear if Greece is interested in Lockheed’s proposals, with talks being extended but no agreements reached.

                                                                Comment




                                                                • The first PPA for the Italian Navy, ITS Thaon di Revel. Fincantieri picture.


                                                                  Fincantieri Delivers First PPA ‘Thaon Di Revel’ To Italian Navy

                                                                  Xavier Vavasseur 18 Mar 2022

                                                                  Fincantieri press release

                                                                  The PPAs are built at the Integrated Shipyard of Riva Trigoso and Muggiano, with deliveries expected until 2026, and they are part of the renewal plan of the operational lines of the Italian Navy vessels, approved by the Government and Parliament and started in May 2015 (“Naval Act”) under the aegis of OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Cooperation sur l’Armement, the international organization for cooperation on arms).

                                                                  Vessel’s characteristics: PPA – Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Ship

                                                                  The multipurpose offshore patrol vessel is a highly flexible ship with the capacity to serve multiple functions, ranging from patrol with sea rescue capacity to Civil Protection operations and, in its most highly equipped version, first line fighting vessel. For the seven vessels of the program there will be indeed different configurations of combat system: starting from a “soft” version for the patrol task, integrated for self-defence ability, to a “full” one, which means equipped for a complete defence ability. The patrol ship is also capable of operating high-speed vessels such as RHIB (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat) up to 11 meters long through lateral cranes or a hauling ramp located at the far stern.
                                                                  • 143 meters long overall
                                                                  • Speed up to 32 knots according to vessel configuration and operational conditions
                                                                  • approx. 135 crew members and accommodation capacity up to 181 beds
                                                                  • Combined diesel and gas turbine propulsion system, ie with electric motors for low speeds
                                                                  • Capacity to supply drinking water to land

                                                                  -End-

                                                                  Naval News comments: About PPA

                                                                  The Italian Navy’s new Paolo Thaon di Revel Pattugliatore Polivalente d’Altura (PPA) hit the water in early July 2019. Picture by Luca Peruzzi.


                                                                  The launching ceremony of the first the Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Ship (PPA) Paolo Thaon di Revel took place on June 15 2019 at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Muggiano (La Spezia). The first ship-in-class started sea trials on November 19. 2019. It is set to be commissioned this year. The second vessel of the class, Francesco Morosini, was launched on 22 May 2020. The third ship, Raimondo Montecuccoli, was launched in March 2021 and the fourth ship, Giovanni delle Bande Nere, in February 2022.

                                                                  Based on a common platform, PPAs will be delivered in three configurations with incremental capabilities: Light, Light+ and Full. The first two ships are in the “Light” version and the third one is a “Light+”. The PPA “full” version will see its total displacement increased to 6,270 tons (compared to 5,880 tons for the “light+” version and 5830 tons for the “light” version). PPA “full” will thus be comparable to Italian FREMM type frigates (total displacement of 6900 tons). The crew complement of the PPA “full” configuration should be 173 people.

                                                                  The sensor and weapon suite of these “patrol ships” is quite impressive, as the PPA in “full” configuration will be fitted with the Leonardo dual-band radar system AFAR (C and X bands), which provides missile defense capabilities as well as a towed and hull mounted sonar. The class also features an avant-garde “Naval Cockpit”.

                                                                  The ‘Naval Cockpit’ of the Italian Navy’s PPA ship. Italian Navy picture.

                                                                  The armament of the ship should include the SAAM-ESD anti-aircraft missile system with 16 vertical launchers for Aster 15 and Aster 30 SAM, eight Teseo / Otomat Mk 2A Evolutio anti-ship missiles, a 127-mm / 64 Leonardo LW main gun and a 76mm secondary gun with Strales / Davide guided ammunition, two 25-mm remote weapon systems, two 533-mm torpedo launchers. The hangar will be able to accommodate two NH90 or a single AW101 helicopter. At the stern of the ship there is a ramp to quickly launch and recover a 11-meter RHIB, as well as two so-called modular zones with the possibility of placing there a total of 13 standard containers for reconfigurable payload.

                                                                  PPA Specifications

                                                                  • 133 meters long between perpendiculars (143 meters overall)
                                                                  • Speed more than 31 knots depending on vessel configuration and operational conditions
                                                                  • Crew of 171 sailors
                                                                  • Equipped with a combined diesel, a gas turbine plant (CODAG) and an electric propulsion system
                                                                  • Capacity to supply drinking water to land
                                                                  • Capacity to provide electricity to land with 2000 kw of power
                                                                  • 2 modular zones at the stern and at the center of the ship that allow the embarking of various types of containerized operating/logistic/residential/healthcare modules (in particular, the stern area may receive and handle within a covered area up to 5 modules in ISO 20” containers, while the central zone may receive and handle up to 8 ISO 20” containers)