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First Defence and Response Frigate Built for the French Navy Landed on Water

On Monday, 7th November, Naval Group launched the First Defence and Response Frigate (FDI), designed for the French Navy, in Lorient, ordered by the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA). The frigate, called Admiral Ronarc’h, is expected to be delivered in 2024.

The ceremony was attended by French Defence Minister Sébastien Lecornu and Greek Defence Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos.

In his speech at the ceremony, Naval Group CEO Pierre Eric Pommellet said: “We are proud to be here today to celebrate this new milestone in the industrial production of the First Defence and Response Frigate for the French Navy. These new generation ships bring together the best know-how of the French Navy. The navies using these vessels benefit from a high-performance, flexible vessel capable of dealing with ever-evolving threats, especially thanks to the use of the most modern digital technologies. Naval Group is committed to providing its clients with the best of know-how at the service of their sovereignty.”

The frigate, which is planned to start its first sea trials in 2023, is planned to be delivered in 2024. The remaining four ships of the series are expected to be delivered by 2030. In addition, Naval Group will produce three FDI frigates for the Greek Navy. The fourth frigate will be planned as an option.

Due to the investments made by the Naval Group, the Lorient facility has a modern industrial infrastructure that allows it to overcome the technical and technological challenges of mass design and construction of military ships. Thanks to this industrial organization that optimizes construction times, Naval Group will be able to deliver two ships a year at its Lorient facility as of 2025.

Innovative Frigate: FDI

The FDI program strengthens the technological leadership of the French maritime industrial base. The program supports employment in the shipbuilding industry throughout France and particularly in Lorient. At Naval Group, more than 1,200 people work full time on the program with over 400 subcontractors. The FDI program includes a large number of French and Greek partners, including Thales and MBDA.

Versatile and flexible, the FDI can operate alone or in a naval force. It also has capabilities for all kinds of warfare, such as surface, air, submarine and special forces projection. Combining the best of French maritime technologies in a compact platform, FDI is a powerful and innovative frigate designed to meet the evolution of threats.

On the other hand, FDI will be the first French frigate to be locally protected against cyber threats, with two data centers virtually hosting most of the ship’s applications. In addition, FDI introduces the concept of a special system for asymmetric warfare. This system will coordinate and conduct the fight against small and close air and surface threats, including booby-trapped boats.

Strongly armed (Exocet MM40 B3C anti-surface missiles, Aster anti-air missiles, MU90 anti-submarine torpedoes), the FDI can simultaneously be a helicopter (10-ton class such as NH90) or a Joint Light Helicopter and an unmanned aerial vehicle (700 kg) can be carried. It can also take a Special Forces platoon with two commando boats. It is equipped with a new generation Seafire radar with four fixed panels developed by Thales. Combined with this radar missile delivery system, it offers unmatched area defence capabilities.

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