Floréal Class Frigate, France
Floréal Class frigates are in service with the French Navy and the Royal Moroccan Navy. A total of eight ships, six for the French Navy and two for the Moroccan Navy, were built by Chantiers de l'Atlantique in Saint Nazaire, France.
The primary missions of the frigates include humanitarian assistance, protection of exclusive economic zones (EEZ), coastal patrol, survey navigation, and diplomatic and law-enforcement operations. In addition to the military missions, the frigates also monitor fishing activities in the French waters.
The keel for the lead ship in the class, Floréal (F730), was laid down in April 1990. It was launched in October of the same year and commissioned in May 1992. The Prairial (F731) was laid down in September 1990, launched in February 1991 and commissioned in May 1992. The Nivôse (F732) was laid down in January 1991, launched in August 1991, commissioned in October 1992. The Ventôse (F733) was laid down in June 1991, launched in March 1992 and commissioned in May 1993. The Vendémiaire (F734) was laid down in January 1992, launched in August 1992 and commissioned in October 1993. The last ship in class, Germinal (F735), was laid down in August 1992. It was launched in March 1993 and commissioned in May 1994.
The first Moroccan frigate, Mohammed V (611), was launched in 2001 and commissioned in March 2002. The second vessel, Hassan II (612), was commissioned in December 2002.
Floréal Class frigate design and modifications
The design of the Floréal incorporates a spray-deflecting bulwark forward and a full-width deck house occupying more than two-thirds of the vessel's length. The mono-hull vessel features eight watertight compartments, and the superstructure is a single block set located in the middle of the ship. The full-bodied hull form enhances helicopter operations.
The frigate has an overall length of 93.5m, a beam of 14.1m and a draft of 4.3m. Full load displacement of the vessel is 2,950t. The ship can complement a crew of 100, including seven officers and 93 enlisted crew members.
The Moroccan vessel varies slightly in design from the original French model. These vessels are installed with a 76mm Oto Melara gun and a WM-25 fire control radar in place of the 100mm gun and Sea Tiger radar fitted on the French versions. The Moroccan vessel can accommodate the Dauphin helicopter.
The Floréal Class frigates were built using civilian construction methods for economic reasons. These ships comply with the SOLAS (safety of life at sea) regulations, with the energy production and safety systems constructed in accordance with the rules of the Det Norske Veritas. The construction process of each frigate involved the assembly and welding of six pre-fabricated parts of up to 570t.
The frigate was initially armed with four MM-40 Exocet anti-ship missiles, which were later replaced with two MM-38 missiles. Fitted forward is a Giat 100mm L55 Model 68 gun. Two Giat 20mm 20F2 guns are also mounted at the aft of the wheelhouse, and two twin Simbad lightweight launchers, firing Mistral missiles, provide close-in air defence.
Floréal Class countermeasures
The vessel is equipped with Thales DR-2000 ESM (electronic support measures) equipment. The CSEE Dagaie decoy-launchers onboard can launch long-range chaff and infrared decoys to deceive incoming anti-ship missiles.
The frigate features a 300m² helicopter deck which can support the operations of a single Super Puma, SA-565 MA Panther or NH90 helicopters, of which are equipped with surveillance radar, anti-submarine sensors and anti-ship missiles. The SAMAHE automatic helicopter handling system, along with a combination of stabilisation grids, optimises landing operations on the helideck. Helicopter missions can be performed in sea states up to level five (rough).
Sensors and radars
The DRBV-15 surveillance radar operating on E/F-band is mounted on the forward of the mast. The frigate is equipped with a DRBV-21 Mars 05 surface search radar, along with two Racal-Decca 1226 radars for navigation and helicopter control purposes.
Floréal Class propulsion
The frigate is powered by a combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) propulsion system. Four SEMT-Pielstick six-cylinder 6PA6L280 diesels driving two controllable pitch propellers develop a total power output of 6,500kW. Three, 590kW onboard generators provide electrical power. The vessel is fitted with a bow thruster and the propulsion system provides a maximum speed of 20kt.