DCNS has commenced sea trials of the French Navy’s newest frégate européenne multi-mission (FREMM), Auvergne, off the coast of Brittany, France.

FREMM Auvergne is the fourth frigate of the series of vessels ordered by the Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d'armement (OCCAR) on behalf of the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) for the navy.

The sea trial is aimed at validating the performance of the ship’s propulsion and navigation system. It follows the recent launch of the FREMM Bretagne.

"The accelerated test schedule for the FREMM Auvergne demonstrates DCNS's ability to ensure efficient series production."

The DCNS team and its partners have integrated the sensors and weapons into the latest frigate’s combat system prior to the sea trial.

FREMM Auvergne will undergo a six-week sea trial period instead of the usual eight to nine-week testing duration.

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DCNS FREMM programme director Nicolas Gaspard said: "The accelerated test schedule for the FREMM Auvergne demonstrates DCNS's ability to ensure efficient series production, from both the industrial and economic viewpoints, thanks to the experience gained with the first frigates already delivered.”

The FREMM is a joint programme between France and Italy to build 21 frigates for the French and Italian navies.

In November 2005, OCCAR awarded the first FREMM development and build contracts to companies including DCNS, Thales, Fincantieri, and Finmeccanica.

The 142m-long and 20m-wide vessels are fitted with high-tech sensors and weapons, as well as the Herakles multifunction radar, Aster and Exocet MM 40 missiles, or MU 90 torpedoes.

The French frigates are being built in two mission versions, the land attack version and an anti-submarine warfare version.

DCNS is expected to deliver six FREMMs to the French navy by mid-2019.

Image: Auvergne sails from Lorient to undergo initial builder’s sea trials. Photo: courtesy of DCNS.