French shipbuilder DCNS has sailed the FREMM (Frégate Européen multi-mission) Normandie frigate, which is intended for the French Navy, into the Mediterranean for new sea trials to test its combat system prior to its scheduled delivery in late 2014.
The trials, to be completed during the next few weeks, will enable the navy's operating crew and the Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA), Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) and DCNS specialists onboard to test the performance of the frigate's main combat system sensors and their incorporation into its combat management system.
FREMM programme director Anne Bianchi said that the ongoing sea trials are an essential phase in the programme.
"Concretely, the teams will test the software and equipment parts that make the FREMM one of the most versatile and capable frigates in the world," Bianchi said.
During these trials, the crew will simulate operational scenarios to gather data delivered by the different sensors integrated into the vessel, in addition to several other tests such as electronic warfare and tactical data link tests.
The trials off the Toulon coast also involve navy helicopters, fighters and vessels.
Ordered by OCCAR for the DGA and the French Navy, the frigate's weapon systems and equipment comprises the Héraclès multifunction radar, the Naval Cruise Missile, and either the Aster and Exocet MM 40 missiles or the MU 90 torpedoes.
The 142m-long, 6,000t frigate can accommodate 145 men and women, or a crew of 108, including helicopter detachment, and cruise at a maximum speed of 27k while offering a 6,000nm range at 15k.
The French Navy received its first of 11 vessels, the FREMM Aquitaine, in November 2012. DCNS is building five other multi-mission frigates in Lorient, including FREMM Normandie and FREMM Provence.
Image: The 142m-long, 6,000t FREMM Normandie frigate can cruise at a maximum speed of 27k. Photo: courtesy of DCNS.