Frigates of the digital age


Adapting to a new world

Designed as a multi-mission frigate, the 4000t-displacement Belh@rra® frigate positions itself between the 2500t corvette-class Gowind® and the 6000t FREMM. This state-of-the-art frigate is a versatile addition to Naval Group’ catalogue and completes the Group’s range of frigates with what is a truly innovation-ridden vessel.

The Belh@rra® was designed by Naval Group for the French Navy’s needs, but was above all designed to be the most customisable–and therefore the most easily exportable–of frigates. With every navy around the world having their own particular requirements in terms of equipment, software, crew size, weaponry and so on, Naval Group saw the opportunity to design a versatile frigate that can be easily upgraded and that answers the particular needs of navies from across the world.

The Belh@rra® is a product-line frigate, implying that it can be, to a certain extent, custom-built. This unique feature means that its ‘customisation’ for export is not only swift but also affordable.

The Belh@arra® frigate, successor to the La Fayette-class, gets its name from Europe’s only giant wave, ‘la Belharra’, off the southern west coast of France. Between 8 and 15 metres tall, the wave is the ocean’s true show of force.

Innovation on every front

The Belh@rra® frigate provides a number of innovative design variabilities inspired by lessons learned from other frigates such as the 6000t-displacement FREMM. The Belh@rra®’s ship length is one such design variability that allows, as an example, for additional on-board space, thereby giving foreign navies added flexibility when it comes to on-board crew and/or equipment.

Thanks to its flexible design, the Belh@rra® can be proposed in different versions with adapted combat payload and platform arrangement. The on-board modularity of the Belh@rra® gives potential clients the opportunity to acquire a vessel that truly fits their current needs; all whilst keeping the door open to future upgrades.

In addition to maximised capacities for active/passive self-defence and attack in all warfare areas, the Belh@rra® addresses asymmetric warfare through a dedicated short-range protection centre providing full 360° coverage and action against close targets, whilst the SETIS® combat system features shipborne and third-parties UAV operating directly from the Combat Information Centre (CIC).

Riding the digital wave

In a day and age when almost everything is moving towards digital, Naval Group has embraced this new era and has made the digital shift an integral part of the design process. In what is the first truly digital frigate, the Belh@rra® comprises the most advanced integrated digital architecture capable of powering a wide range of parallel functions, including the all-important on-board combat system. The Belh@rra®’s on-board processing power gives the vessel an added edge insomuch as it may carry out a number of different functions in parallel; functions such as optimising equipment-maintenance processes or even detecting cyber-attacks.

Once again, the modularity of the digital architecture itself contributes to the vessel’s easy ‘upgradeability’ thereby ensuring its long-term operation capacity. A vessel’s ability to evolve with today’s ever-evolving technology makes it a lasting powerful asset for any navy around the world!

Digital, the new front line

Though digital is often synonymous with optimisation and efficiency, it also represents a new dimension of vulnerability in the form of cyber-attacks. Naval Group fully recognises this new battlefield and proactively leads the way in cyber-security. As such, the Belh@rra® frigate was designed keeping in mind the importance of cyber-security and delivers a new digital architecture capable of managing and controlling the threat.

Staying one boat length ahead

The Belh@rra® boasts wide-ranging operational capabilities and fits the bill for the full extent of the French navy’s range of missions. Naval Group also addresses the needs of the navies from around the world. Beyond the vessel itself and its strong customisability both before and after acquisition, Naval Group’ offer also includes transfer of technology (ToT), logistical advice and various training services aimed at assisting and enhancing the capabilities of navies around the world.