The frigate that brought the Marquis de La Fayette to America in 1780 was a technological marvel of its time and the pride of the French fleet. Thanks to its copper-clad hull, the Hermione could sail faster than any ship that it could not outgun. Its design so impressed the English that they captured and reversed engineered her sister ship.
At the time, the Hermione was the jewel of the French Navy, built by the predecessors of Naval Group. Naval Group’ expertise in frigates continues to this day. The La Fayette-class frigate was the world’s first operational stealth warship, and the FREMM multi-mission frigate can execute a wide range of roles thanks to system integration and naval interoperability. Let’s set sail with the FREMM and see it in action.
Designed for any mission
FREMM is a front-line warship designed from the keel up to handle a multitude of missions and respond to threats from sea, air or land. On its own, it is ideal for maritime surveillance, escort and gunfire support duties, and launching commando operations. As part of a task force, it is capable of hosting fleet operations duties and directing military operations thanks to its C4ISR capabilities.
In 2015, FREMM Aquitaine was fully integrated into the Carrier Battle Group’s operational deployment (CVBG) and performed a vital function as part of the aircraft carrier’s protective screen. The FREMM’s versatility made her a vital component of Force’s overall protection capabilities: from air defense to anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, reinforced whith the NH90 helicopter. FREMM Provence also operated with the CVBG over several weeks. She continued her long term deployment, trialling other military capabilities in a variety of physical environments and operational domains. Prior to that, Provence proved her high-value operational capabilities operating alongside the American strike carrier, USS Harry S. Truman.
Powered by hybrid propulsion
With a maximum speed in excess of 27 knots, the FREMM’s COmbined Diesel eLectric Or Gas (CODLOG) power plant can get the warship on-station quickly. In silent mode, the shafts and propellers are driven by electric motors ensuring the acoustic discretion required to track and attack submarines. This advanced propulsion system also complies with current MARPOL marine pollution requirements.
Protected by stealth
Despite its size and speed, FREMM is an elusive target. The shape of the hull, the angles of the superstructures, and the use of special materials all contribute to the vessel’s very low radar signature. Cooled exhausts and heat shielding reduce the ship’s infrared signature. A new degaussing system protects it against magnetic mines. The propulsion systems and the high level of automation contribute to a low acoustic signature.
Gifted sight and hearing
At every moment, the FREMM’s multifunction radar ensures situational awareness, thanks to simultaneous long-range air and surface surveillance that protects fleet ships over a wide area and defends against air and seaborne threats. For asymmetrical threats, it uses passive panoramic surveillance to detect and track infrared signatures of low elevation air and surface threats.
Packs a punch
FREMM is a lethal combat package. Its remote-controlled canons make quick work of asymmetric threats. Aster missiles secure the skies, while land-based attacks are waged with the 127mm canon and naval cruise missiles. A mix of on-board artillery and missiles are used for surface engagements. FREMM conducts anti-submarine operations with a mix of towed and hull sonar, a NH90 helicopter and MU90 torpedoes. It protects itself against torpedo attacks using Canto® countermeasures.
Proven combat skills
During engagement, the DCNS’ SETIS® multi-mission combat system manages all anti-surface, anti-air and anti-submarine weaponry. It also performs intelligence gathering, land attacks and special operations. SETIS® was operationally proven during “Arromanches 2” mission in the fight against terrorism with two FREMM frigates into the French Carrier Battle Group’s operational deployment (CVBG). SETIS® is fully interoperable with national and international data links, and includes an extensive command support system.