The steel-cutting ceremony of the first defence and intervention frigate (FDI) took place at the Naval Group site of Lorient, located in north-western France, on Thursday.
The first of the five warships ordered by the French navy in April 2017 will be delivered in 2023. The boat will be the navy’s first digital frigate.
“This program will increase to fifteen the number of first-rank frigates of the French Navy, as planned in the French military spending plan (LPM),” Sylvain Perrier, Naval Group Director of the FDI program declared during the event.
The FDI anti-surface, anti-air, anti-submarine frigate has a displacement of 4,500 tonnes, length of 122 meters and maximum speed of 27 knots. The boat is armed with Exocet MM40 B3C anti-surface missiles, Aster 15/30 anti-air missiles, MU90 antisubmarine torpedoes, artillery, and more. It can simultaneously house a helicopter and an unmanned aerial vehicle(UAV).
According to the company, the FDI will be the first French frigate natively protected against cyber threats, with a Data Centre accommodating a great part of the ship applications. The FDI introduces the concept of a dedicated system for asymmetric threats warfare, distinct from the operation room. Located behind the bridge, it will lead asymmetrical warfare against air and surface threats such as mini-UAVs or tricked boats.
The design and production of the FDI build on the experience of the France’s FREMM program.
The ceremony was led in the presence of the Minister for Armed Forces, Florence Parly, the Head of the French Armament Directorate (DGA) Délégué général pour l’Armement, Joël Barre, the Chief of Staff of the French Navy Christophe Prazuck, and the Chief of the Hellenic Navy Nikolaos Tsounis among others.
This October 10, Letter of Intention was signed by the Greek Minister of Defence, Nicolaos Panagiotopoulos and the French Minister for Armed Forces, Florence Parly, for the sale of FDI frigates.
The deal is in line with the French government’s recent push for increased cooperation with Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean region. French President Emmanuel Macron recently told former Greek Prime Minister that he was ready to send frigates to patrol in the Eastern Mediterranean where Cyprus has large gas fields in its EEZ and where Turkey has commenced drilling with a naval ship in tow.