Italy and France Launch First Phase of Newest European Warship Program

Released on Thursday, November 17, 2005
Aster 15
Aviso Type A69
F70 AA
Otomat Mk2 Block IV
Sylver A-70
ASW - Anti Submarine Warfare
CMS - Combat Management System
OCCAR - Organisme Conjoint De Cooperation En Matiere D'Armament
PAAMS - Principal Anti-Air Missile System
SAAM - Surface-to-Air Anti-Missile
Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) today awarded ARMARIS and Orizzonte Sistemi Navali the first phase of the contract for the development and building of a new generation of European multi-mission frigates (the FREMM program). This initial phase covers the development, building and in-service support for the first eight frigates destined for the French Navy: six in an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) version, and two in a land-strike version. The contract, to be apportioned equally between DCN and Thales, both shareholders in ARMARIS, is valued at 3.5 billion euros ($4.7 billion). The vessels will be delivered in stages from 2011 to 2015.

Under an inter-governmental Memorandum of Understanding signed on 15 November 2005 by the French and Italian Ministries of Defense, Italy has committed itself to order the development and building of its two first frigates no later than May 2006. This program thus confirms the principle of European defense procurement collaboration by extending French-Italian partnership on the Horizon anti-air frigate program, which was launched in October 2000.

With a total of 27 frigates planned, the FREMM program is set to become the most extensive series of warships ever built in Europe. FREMM frigates will replace F67, F70 and A69 frigate types currently in service with the French Navy.

Under the contract, ARMARIS and its Italian partner Orizzonte Sistemi Navali will act as co-prime contractors for the FREMM program. The two companies will also act as co-contractors for part of the design study and development phases. A large part of the major sub-systems for the platform and of the combat system will be specified and developed in common by the two companies.

DCN and Thales will jointly develop the new-generation combat management system (CMS) which will be installed on all French frigates. DCN and Fincantieri will work together on the overall design of the frigates. After that stage, DCN will be responsible for the development and building of the French vessels, as well as providing operational support during their first years in service.

Thales will supply surveillance and communication solutions for the new ships, including communication systems, infrared surveillance systems, the Herakles radar for anti-air fire control, sonars, and the integrated electronic warfare system.

Finally, MBDA will supply the missile system for the frigates which will include, ASTER 15 surface-to-air missiles integrated with SAAM air defense system and SCALP naval vertical launch cruise missile. French Navy's frigates will be armed with Exocet Block 3 anti-ship missile while Italian Navy's frigates will feature OTOMAT/TESEO anti-ship missile and MILAS anti-submarine weapon in lieu of Exocet.

The contract also covers the development and production of the range of onboard equipment required for SCALP NAVAL, namely the A-70 vertical launcher and the electronic fire control system to be delivered for the first FREMM. Regarding the A-70 launch system, derived from the Sylver family of launchers that currently comprises the A-43 and A-50 developed for the Aster SAAM and Aster PAAMS naval air defence systems respectively, MBDA is the prime contractor with French naval ship builder DCN expected to supply the launch module.


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