Naval Group has laid the keel for the first defence and intervention (FDI) frigate ordered by the French defence procurement agency (DGA) for the French Navy.

This event, which took place on 16 December, marks the beginning of the assembly of the frigate in the construction hall.

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It was held at Naval Group’s facility in Lorient.

The Panoramic Sensors and Intelligence Module (PSIM), which is the FDI’s integrated mast, was also powered up on the same day, marking the start of the testing of the frigate’s complete combat system, ahead of its final integration on the frigate.

The frigate will be delivered to the French Navy in 2024.

It serves as the first in the series of five ships to be delivered to the French Navy between 2024 and 2030.

In October 2019, Naval Group cut steel for the French Navy’s FDI frigate during a ceremony at its Lorient facility.

Naval Group CEO Pierre Eric Pommellet 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.”

The 4,500t and 122m long FDI frigates will be able to conduct anti-air, anti-surface, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) as well as special forces projection missions.

The frigates will also be able to address threats related to cyber attacks and asymmetric threats.

FDI frigates’ maximum speed is 27k and it has an autonomy of 45.

In March this year, DGA notified Naval Group of the order for two FDI frigates.