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
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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