Video Report: On board FREMM Normandie next generation multi-mission frigate

Focus - FREMM Normandie on sea trials
Video Report: On board FREMM Normandie next generation multi-mission frigate
By Xavier Vavasseur

Navy Recognition
recently had the unique opportunity to get onboard the French Navy's next state of the art frigate, the Normandie, while the ship was conducting sea trials off Toulon naval base in the Mediterranean. We already got the chance to get aboard Normandie while the vessel had just been floated out of dry-dock in Lorient, but this time it is a fully completed and functional frigate we got the chance to tour.
Pierrick Etiemble, FREMM Combat System Program Manager at DCNS, gave us a complete walk around the Normandie Frigate.
In November 2012, DCNS delivered the FREMM Aquitaine, the first unit in the series of FREMM multi-mission frigates. The second unit in the program, the Mohammed VI, was delivered to the Royal Moroccan Navy on 30 January 2014. Normandie is the third unit in the program (and second ship of the French Navy's Aquitaine class).

's mediterranean sea trials goals revolve mainly around the combat management system of the frigate. Thanks to the "shore integration facility" (SIF) of the French Procurement Agency (DGA) based in Saint Mandrier near Toulon, many systems on board the vessel are put to the test. For example, the engineers verify that the frigate's electronic warfare support measure (ESM) suite detects all shore based radars at the SIF.

The other role of the SIF is to check, test and validate most of the hardware and software (even upgrades) ashore before installing them on a surface vessel. DCNS in its key role of "whole warship integrator" has to make sure that all systems on board the frigate are compatible and do not interfere with each other (between the jammers, ESM, and radar especially).

The DGA, French Air Force and Navy also take part in the sea trials: While we were on board Normandie, a Rafale fighter flew past the frigate at low altitude. The goal is to "stress" the combat management system and simulate the launch of an Aster 15 surface-to-air missile.
Capitaine de Vaisseau Ferragu answers a few of our questions on Aquitaine class FREMM Frigates
While we were aboard Normandie, we also had the chance to witness the first landing of a French Navy NH90 Caïman helicopter on the frigate. In addition, as explained by Captain Charles-Henri Ferragu, Normandie's commanding officer, on the same day the same NH90 detected a training target with the FLASH dipping sonar and hit the target with a MU90 torpedo. Two firsts on the same day!

According to Capitaine de Vaisseau Ferragu, the main strength of the Aquitaine class frigate is the MdCN (Missile de Croisiere Naval, Naval Cruise Missile) which provides the ship with a pre-strategic capability. Compared to the existing Leygues class, the FREMM has much more powerful sonars and therefore will be an even more potent platform in anti-submarine warfare roles.


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