PARIS - The French defense minister is due to be briefed in a few weeks about number of designs for the planned intermediate frigate, defense procurement official Laurent Sellier said.

"In the next few weeks" several designs will be presented to the minister, Sellier told journalists Sept. 19 ahead of a press trip linked to the Euronaval trade show.

The French navy, Direction Générale de l'Armement procurement office, DCNS and Thales have worked together in a closed network to design the five intermediate frigates, which will make up the 15 first rank frigates set out in a defense white paper. The minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, will meet with the navy chief of staff and DGA to pick the design for the program.

At the Summer Defense University, on Sept. 5, there was a live video link with defense officials, Navy officers and executives working on the frigate study, setting out a close government and industrial cooperation in determining the design.

A first intermediate frigate is due for delivery in 2023, which is considered an aggressive schedule. The warships, designed for antisubmarine, air defense and anti-surface capabilities, will weigh about 4,000 tons.

The eight multimission frigates which are being built and entering service weigh 6,000 tons.

Among the options for the intermediate frigate are a Thales Sea Fire radar, 76 mm or 127 mm gun, and MBDA Aster 15 missile.

The light warship is also aimed at export clients, as the multimission frigate is too complex for many navies.

France launched the multimission frigate program with a plan to build 17 units before trimming the numbers back to eight, of which the last two will be adapted to the air defense mission. The eight multimission, five intermediate frigates and two Forbin-class air defense frigates will make up the 15-strong first rank fleet.

The Euronaval trade show runs Oct. 17 to 21.