PARIS — Naval Group has delivered the FREMM Alsace, the first multimission frigate with enhanced air defense capabilities, to the Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation, which received it April 16 in the Mediterranean port of Toulon on behalf of the French Navy.
OCCAR is a European intergovernmental group that manages cooperative defense equipment programs. It is managing the FREMM program for the French and Italian navies.
The on-schedule delivery comes in the framework of the French Navy’s plan to renew its frigate fleet and have 15 front-line frigates by around 2030 to better protects its vast maritime economic exclusion zone, the biggest in the world due to overseas territories and departments it has in every ocean.
Alsace’s role will be to provide anti-aircraft defense around the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle or around the Mistral-class helicopter landing docks as part of a naval air and amphibious group.
The first six FREMMs (Aquitaine, Provence, Languedoc, Auvergne, Bretagne and Normandie) were delivered between 2012 and 2019. They were designed for anti-submarine warfare. Alsace and the eighth frigate, Lorraine, which is scheduled for delivery next year, will have exactly the same anti-submarine warfare tools as the first six, but with the addition of strengthened anti-aircraft capabilities. Both frigates have an enhanced combat system, an optimized mast and a radar with greater range; they can also carry 10 extra crew members.
Like her sister ships, Alsace is armed with the 32 Aster 15 and 30 vertically launched missiles; eight Exocet MM40 Block 3 anti-ship missiles; 19 MU90 torpedoes; one 76mm main naval gun; four 12.7mm machine guns; two Narwhal 20mm remotely operated weapons; and one NH90 Caiman naval warfare helicopter.
Unlike the other FREMMs, however, the vessel has a new radar and an electro-optical fire control system; increased radar and communication capabilities; and Naval Group’s SETIS combat management system equipped with specific air defense functions.
The 6,000-ton FREMM frigate is 142 meters (466 feet) long and 20 meters wide. It can reach a maximum speed of 27 knots and has a range of 6,000 nautical miles at 15 knots.
Florence Parly, the French armed forces minister, presided the handing-over ceremony.
Christina Mackenzie was the France correspondent for Defense News.