French Navy’s First Air Defense FREMM ‘Alsace’ Enters Active Duty
The French Navy (Marine Nationale) multi-mission frigate (FREMM) "Alsace" entered "active duty" (admission au service actif in French) on 22 November 2021. It is the seventh Aquitaine-class FREMM overall but the first of two air-defense frigate in the FREMM DA (Frégate Européenne Multimissions de Défense Aérienne) variant.
Xavier Vavasseur 22 Nov 2021
This means the vessel is now able to conduct operational missions. Alsace is currently taking part in the large scale exercise POLARIS, as part of the Charles de Gaulle strike group.
La frégate multi-missions Alsace est prête pour les opérations. Elle appartient à une classe de frégates mondialement reconnue pour ses capacités de combat. Le renouvellement des équipements de la @MarineNationale est indispensable dans l’environnement stratégique actuel. pic.twitter.com/uojO4nx33J
— Florence Parly (@florence_parly) November 22, 2021
“The multi-mission frigate Alsace is ready for operations. It belongs to a class of frigates recognized worldwide for its combat capabilities. The renewal of the Marine Nationale equipment is essential in the current strategic environment. To protect our coasts and our exclusive economic zone, in the face of obstacles to freedom of navigation, in the face of attempted intimidation at sea, in the face of the desire to deny access to certain areas, France needs a strong, efficient and credible Navy”.
French Defense minister Florence Parly
On 17 November, the successful firing of the Aster 30 anti-aircraft missile validated Alsace‘s operational capabilities. She now joins the other FREMMs that form the backbone of the French surface fleet.
The FREMM DA Alsace was launched April 18, 2019 at the Naval Group shipyard of Lorient thirteen months after its keel laying. It is the ninth FREMM frigate built by Naval Group and the seventh one for the French Navy. The FREMM DA program started in 2008. Alsace and Lorraine are replacing the two Cassard-class (Type F70 AA) frigates and their ageing SM-1 surface to air missiles. Cassard was decommissioned on 15 march 2019 and Jean Bart was decommissioned earlier this year.
Alsace‘ sistership, Lorraine, (the final FREMM for the French Navy) was launched in November 2020 and is set to be delivered in the second half of 2022. Following the delivery of its last FREMM, Naval Group will transition to the FDI, the next generation of frigates for the French Navy.
All six FREMM in their ASW (anti-submarine warfare) variant have been delivered between 2012 and 2019 to the French Navy. Aquitaine in 2012, Provence in 2015, Languedoc in 2016, Auvergne in April 2017, Bretagne in July 2018 and Normandie in July 2019. On the international side, Morocco received the Mohammed VI in 2014 and Egypt the Tahya Misr in 2015.
About FREMM DA
According to Naval Group, the FREMM DA Alsace is a strongly armed surface combatant fitted with the most performant weapon systems and equipment such as: the Herakles multifunction radar, the Aster 15 and 30 surface to air missiles, the Excocet MM 40 anti-ship missiles or the MU 90 torpedo. The performance of its combat system are reinforced with increased radar and communication capacities, a new fire control radar, and a SETIS CMS fitted with specific anti-air defense functions.
While the FREMM DA retains the same anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities as earlier vessels of the Aquitaine-class (with CAPTAS-4 and UMS 4110 CL sonars), its so called “increased capabilities in air defense” consists in a few notable changes:
The Thales Herakles multi-function radar is more powerful, has more transmitter modules, additional wave-forms and search modes for long range air defense
A Thales STIR EO MK 2 fire control radar replaces the Najir by Sagem (providing better AAW and ASuW capabilities to the 76mm main gun)
Reinforced bridge structure to accommodate the extra weight of the above
4x Sylver A50 vertical launch systems for a total of 32x MBDA Aster 15 or 30 surface to air missiles
Additional communication systems and antennas
3x additional consoles in the CIC (the global arrangement inside the CIC has been modified accordingly) for a total of 20 aboard the ship
Modifications to the SETIS combat management system with specific air defense functions
According to the French Navy’s FREMM program manager, the FREMM DA main mission will be area air defense of major Marine Nationale units such as the Charles de Gaulle aircraft-carrier and the three Mistral-class LHDs, within a carrier-strike group or as part of an amphibious group.
Technical characteristics of the FREMM DA
Overall length: 142 m
Beam: 20 m
Displacement: 6,000 tonnes
Max. speed: 27 knots
Complement: 119 sailors (+ 14 for the aviation crew)
Accommodation: 165 men and women
Range: 6,000 at 15 knotshttps://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2021/11/french-navys-first-air-defense-fremm-alsace-enters-active-duty/