STUTTGART, Germany – The final French next-generation frigate has entered sea trials ahead of a scheduled delivery later this year, ship manufacturer Naval Group announced Tuesday.

The European Multi-Mission Frigate (or FREMM, for the French Frégate Européenne Multi-Mission) DA Lorraine began its trials on Feb. 22, off the coast of Brittany, Naval Group said in a press release. The initial session will test the ship’s propulsion and navigation systems, with additional systems tests to follow.

The Lorraine is scheduled to be delivered to the French navy in late 2022. It’s the tenth ship in the FREMM program, and the eighth for the French, following the deliveries between 2012 and 2021 of the Aquitaine, Provence, Languedoc, Auverge, Bretagne, Normandie, and Alsace. The other two FREMMs built under this program are in North Africa: Morocco took delivery of the Mohammed IV in 2014, while the Tahya Misr was delivered to Egypt in 2015.

Both the Alsace and the forthcoming Lorraine are air defense variants known as FREMM DA, for Frégate Européenne Multimissions de Défense Aérienne. The Lorraine will join the Alsace in Toulon, to provide air defense support for the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, and Mistral-class helicopter carriers, as part of a naval or amphibious strike group. The eight frigates were designed for anti-submarine warfare.

The Lorraine also features several improvements based on operational feedback from its predecessors, including enhanced cyber capabilities, an optimized mast, a stronger-range radar, and NATO’s Liaison 22 secure digital radio system, per Naval Group.

The FREMM program is a joint French-Italian program, being managed by the Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR), on behalf of the two countries’ militaries. Fincantieri manufactures the Italian FREMMs, along with its own export nations, which include Indonesia and the United States.

Vivienne Machi is a reporter based in Stuttgart, Germany, contributing to Defense News' European coverage. She previously reported for National Defense Magazine, Defense Daily, Via Satellite, Foreign Policy and the Dayton Daily News. She was named the Defence Media Awards' best young defense journalist in 2020.

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