DCNS has successfully conducted the first helicopter deck landing trials on board the French FREMM multi-mission frigate, Aquitaine.
The trials, organised in early February by the French defence procurement agency (DGA), aimed to validate the frigates’ ability to launch and land Lynx helicopters.
During the tests, the French Navy test pilots landed nearly 50 times onboard the frigate with a Lynx five-tonne class helicopter and achieved formal qualification, several months ahead of schedule.
The crew used the ships’ communication and navigation systems for the helicopter approach, landing and handling operations and the flight deck control room was used to coordinate helicopter operations during the demonstration.
FREMM programme manager Vincent Martinot-Lagarde said that the DCNS team ensured that all the equipment needed for deck landing trials on the vessel was ready ahead of the initial schedule, originally planned to take place after the frigate’s delivery.
The FREMM family of frigates is being designed to counter threats from air, sea and land and is equipped with a sensor suite based on Herakles multifunction radar, naval cruise missiles and MU90 torpedoes.
The FREMM programme is Europe’s largest naval programme, according to which France will acquire 11 frigates and a further ten vessels designated for Italy.
The company is currently constructing 12 such ships, of which 11 FREMMs are for the French Navy while the other is for the Royal Moroccan Navy.
Launched in April 2010, the Aquitaine began sea trials in April 2011 and is scheduled to be delivered to French navy in July 2012.
The first deck landing trials with a Caiman is scheduled to take place in the coming few weeks.