First French Navy Fremm Air-Defense Frigate Begins Sea Trials

First French Navy Fremm Air-Defense Frigate Begins Sea Trials

On October 5, 2020, the multi-mission frigate FREMM Alsace went out for her first sea trial. She is the first of two air defence frigates designed for the French Navy as part of the FREMM program. Alsace benefits from the same anti-submarine warfare performances as the previous units but with enhanced air defence capabilities. Nineteen months after her launch, the FREMM Alsace went out for her first sea trial on October 5, 2020. She is the seventh FREMM European Multi-Mission Frigate ordered by the French Procurement Agency (DGA) on behalf of the French Navy. The management of the FREMM program is entrusted to the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR).

Alsace is the first of the two air defence frigates in the FREMM program for the
French Navy.(Naval Group photo)

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

In order to meet the operational needs of the French Navy and to incorporate the operational feedback acquired since the program was launched, Alsace incorporates the latest developments ordered by OCCAR. This frigate is the first FREMM frigate with enhanced air defence capabilities and benefits from feedback collected on previous units of the FREMM series as well as from upgrades intended to increase versatility. These technical adaptations include a more powerful multi-function radar, enhanced communications resources, additional SETIS Combat Management System consoles in the “command information centre”, and enhanced air defence capabilities using Aster 15 and 30 missiles.

Alsace benefits from the same anti-submarine warfare performance as the previous units of the series as well as from enhanced air defence capabilities Flag of France. (Naval Group photo)

The Alsace also benefits from an optimised mast to increase long-range air surveillance performances. In addition to carrying out the same anti-submarine warfare missions as the previous units of the FREMM series, Alsace will be responsible for the air defence of major units: the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier or Landing Helicopter Docks (LHD), as part of a naval or amphibious aviation group. Naval Group teams and its many partners are mobilised to deliver Alsace and Lorraine, the two air defence frigates in 2021 and 2022. Six FREMM frigates for the French Navy have already been delivered between 2012 and 2019: Aquitaine (2012), Provence (2015), Languedoc (2016), Auvergne (2017), Bretagne (2018) and Normandie (2019).

The French Navy Alsace is the ninth Fremm frigate built in France, and the first of two DA variants optimized for fleet air-defense while retaining the ASW capabilities of the class. (Naval Group photo)