Cassard Class, France


The French Navy Cassard Class anti-aircraft frigates are assigned to the Force d'Action Navale with headquarters at the Mediterranean Command base at Toulon. The Cassard (D 614) and the Jean Bart (D 615), built at the Lorient naval Dockyard of DCN (now DCNS), were commissioned in 1988 and 1991.

COMMAND AND CONTROL

The ship is equipped with the Senit combat data system, developed by DCN, and an OPSMER command support system.

"The Cassard Class are anti-aircraft frigates."

Senit gathers, correlates, evaluates and displays information from shipboard sensors and handles data exchanges with other units, via tactical data links, including Link 11 and 14 and the Syracuse satellite communications system.

Fire control is provided by the DCNS CTMS and the SAGEM DIBV 1A Vampir infrared detector is integrated with the ship's search radar for target tracking. A Najir optronic fire director from Sagem Défense Sécurité (formerly EADS Defence & Electronics) is fitted for the main gun.

MISSILES

Two four-cell missile launchers for the Exocet MM40 are installed in a midship position between the two citadels. Exocet is produced by MBDA (formerly EADS Aerospatiale). The anti-ship missile has a range of 70km and speed of approximately Mach 0.95. The mk 13 mod 5 launcher for the Standard SM-1R surface-to-air missile is installed forward of the helicopter hangar. SM-1MR has a maximum speed of Mach 2 with a range of 45km and altitude up to 18km. The Aster 30 missile will replace the SM-1MR during the ships' mid-life refit.

The French Navy has awarded MBDA a contract for the Exocet MM40 block 3 missile to be deployed on vessels from 2008. The block 3 missile will have a new turbojet propulsion system which will give a range extended to 180km.

Two Sadral six round turrets for the MBDA (Matra BAe Dynamics) Mistral missiles are mounted on the raised deck each side of the helicopter hangar. The infrared-guided Mistral provides short-range air defence up to 5km.

GUNS

"Two four-cell missile launchers for the Exocet MM40 are installed in a midship position between the two citadels."

The main gun is the DCNS 100mm gun, which is capable of firing 13.5kg shells at a rate of 80 rounds a minute to a range of 8km. The ship also has two Oerlikon 20mm guns, which have a range of 10km and a firing rate of 720 rounds a minute.

TORPEDOES

The ship has two KD 59E torpedo launchers for ECAN L5 mod 4 anti-submarine torpedoes. The torpedoes have a speed of 35kt and use active and passive homing to deliver a 150kg warhead to a depth of 550m at a target range up to 10km.

HELICOPTER

The ship has a flight deck at the stern with a single landing spot for the Eurocopter AS 565MA Panther helicopter. The ship stores an arsenal of helicopter-launched mk 46 torpedoes supplied by ATK (AlliantTechsystems). The DCNS Samahe helicopter handling system allows deployment and recovery of the helicopter in high sea states.

COUNTERMEASURES

The ship is fitted with the DR-3000S (French Navy designation ARBR 17B) radar warning receiver operating in D to K bands. The radar jammer is the Thales Optrosys ARBB-33, an early variant of the Salamandre, which is used to counter hostile I-, H- and J-band radars.

The ship has two Sagem Défense Sécurité (formerly EADS Defence & Electronics) Dagaie and two Sagaie decoy launchers for chaff or infrared flares. The ship is also equipped with the LAD offboard decoy supplied by Thales and the AN/SLQ-23 Nixie towed torpedo decoy.

SENSORS

The ship's radar suite includes DRBJ 11B 3D air search radar and DRBV 26C air and surface search radar operating at D band, from Thales. Two fire control radars are the I-band Thales DRBC 33A and Raytheon SPG-51C operating at G and I bands.

"The main gun is the DCNS 100mm gun."

The ship's hull-mounted sonar is the Thales Underwater Systems (formerly Thomson Marconi Sonar) SDUBA 25A or DUBV 24C operating in search and attack modes.

PROPULSION

The ship's propulsion system is based on four SEMT-Pielstick 18 PA6 V 280 BTC diesel engines rated at 31.75MW sustained power and driving two shafts. The maximum speed is 30kt. The range, at an economical speed of 18kt, is 8,000 miles.