France and Italy have agreed to upgrade their Horizon Frigates through Naviris, a joint venture between Fincantieri and Naval Group, and Eurosam, a consortium formed by MBDA and Thales.

The project aims to enhance the frigates’ anti-aircraft defence system, combat capabilities, and electronic warfare systems.

Naviris, the 50/50 owned joint venture between Fincantieri and Naval Group, and Eurosam have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the mid-Life upgrade (MLU) of the four Horizon Frigates of the French and Italian Navies. The MoU was formalized during the Paris Air Show on June 20th, marking a milestone in enhancing the capabilities of these frontline fighting ships.

The project follows a feasibility study phase initiated in 2020, where Naviris, as the prime contractor, collaborated with OCCAR (Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation) to identify and analyze necessary modifications for improving the anti-aircraft defence system of the Horizon class Frigates.

The aim is to enhance their capabilities and ensure operational effectiveness throughout their life cycle. The last time the French and Italian Horizon frigates received a mid-life upgrade was in 2020 when the frigates were improved with an anti-air warfare capability.

The scope of co-operation between Naviris and Eurosam encompasses the overall modernization of the Horizon Frigates. Key focus areas include the anti-aircraft defence system, including radars, weapons, associated Control and Command systems, the platform and combat system, and the electronic warfare system, which will be standardized for France and Italy.

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Naviris, in close collaboration with Eurosam, its parent companies Fincantieri and Naval Group, and other industrial partners such as Leonardo, Thales, MBDA, and Sigen, will be responsible for the Combat System Modernization, which includes Anti Air Warfare integration, new electronic warfare systems, communication upgrades, new combat management systems, and optronic enhancements.

Furthermore, Naviris will oversee the platform modernization, encompassing the new ship management system and upgrades to address obsolescence.

Eurosam, on the other hand, will focus on modernizing the anti-aircraft warfare chain, including C2 PAAMS (Command and Control) and integrating new radars. The collaboration of these seven industrial partners, led by Naviris, aims to rationalize the performance, availability, and maintenance of the Horizon Frigates.

Originally constructed between 2000 and 2010, the Horizon Frigates resulted from a joint program between Fincantieri and Naval Group, providing two anti-air Frigates to each Italian and French Navies.

The ongoing modernization project emphasizes the longstanding industrial co-operation between France and Italy. Through the Naviris subsidiary, supported by Naval Group and Fincantieri, the project exemplifies the successful binational collaboration between the two countries.

The Horizon Frigates boast impressive specifications, with a length beam of 153 meters and a full load capacity of 7,300 tons. The vessels accommodate a complement of 190 personnel along with 20 passengers and possess a range of 7,000 nautical miles at 18 knots, capable of reaching a maximum speed of 29 knots.

Designed for high-intensity operations, these frigates excel in anti-air warfare and air defence missions, providing airspace control, defence command and control, and anti-air cover for carrier groups and convoys.

The contract for the Mid-Life Upgrade of the Horizon Frigates is expected to be formalized in the coming weeks. Naviris, Eurosam, and OCCAR, representing Italy and France, will join forces to ensure the execution of this modernization project.