The French Navy’s La Fayette Class multipurpose stealth frigates were developed by DCN International (now DCNS) and built at the DCN Lorient Naval Dockyard. The French Navy awarded DCN the contracts to construct the La Fayette (F710), Surcoef (F711) and Courbet (F712) frigates in 1988, and Aconit (F713) and Guepratte (F714) in 1992.
Ships of French Navy
|La Fayette class|
|F 710||La Fayette||DCN Lorient||13 June 1992||22 March 1996||In active service|
|F 711||Surcouf||3 July 1993||7 February 1997||In active service|
|F 712||Courbet||12 March 1994||1 April 1997||In active service|
|F 713||Aconit||8 June 1997||3 June 1999||In active service|
|F 714||Guépratte||3 March 1999||27 October 2001||In active service|
The lead ship, La Fayette, was commissioned in 1996 and the last, Guepratte, was commissioned in November 2001. DCN have also built an anti-submarine warfare version for Taiwan (Kang Ding) and an anti-air version for Saudi Arabia (F3000S) under the Sawari II programme. All three have been launched and the first, Al Riyadh, was commissioned in July 2002.
Kang Ding frigate
Chen De (承德, FFG-1208)
|Kang Ding class|
|FFG-1202||Kang Ding||DCN Lorient||In active service|
|FFG-1203||Si Ning||In active service|
|FFG-1205||Kun Ming||In active service|
|FFG-1206||Di Hua||In active service|
|FFG-1207||Wu Chang||In active service|
|FFG-1208||Chen De||In active service|
Al Riyadh class
Al Riyadh 812
|Al Riyadh class|
|812||Al Riyadh||DCN Lorient||2002||In active service|
|814||Makkah||2004||In active service|
|816||Al Damman||2004||In active service|
Singapore has ordered six Project Delta stealth frigates, also based on the La Fayette, called the Formidable Class, which entered into service by 2009. The first, RSS Formidable, built in France, was launched in January 2004 and commissioned in May 2007. RSS Intrepid was launched in July 2004, RSS Steadfast was launched in January 2005 and RSS Tenacious was launched in July 2005. All three were commissioned in February 2008. RSS Stalwart was launched in December 2005 and RSS Supreme in May 2006. Both were built by Singapore Technologies Marine and commissioned in January 2009.
|RSS Formidable||68||7 January 2004||5 May 2007|
|RSS Intrepid||69||3 July 2004||5 February 2008|
|RSS Steadfast||70||28 January 2005||5 February 2008|
|RSS Tenacious||71||15 July 2005||5 February 2008|
|RSS Stalwart||72||9 December 2005||16 January 2009|
|RSS Supreme||73||9 May 2006||16 January 2009|
The La Fayette Class incorporates a number of stealth features – the sides of the vessel are sloped at 10° to minimise radar cross section, surfaces have been coated in radar-absorbent paint and the profiles of external features have been reduced.
In January 2011, DCNS won a contract worth $80m to provide through-life support (TLS) services to five French frigates at Toulon naval base. The maintenance contract is for five years from 2011 to 2015.
French Navy La Fayette-class frigates to get upgrades: Here
The French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) has awarded DCNS a contract to renovate three of the five La Fayette-class frigates (FLF) currently in service with the French Navy.
The renovation work, which will start in 2020, will be performed in Toulon and synchronised with the scheduled overhauls of the frigates.
The first renovated FLF will be delivered in 2021.
Command and control
The combat data system is the Thales (formerly Thomson-CSF) TAVITAC 2000 system and the OPSMER command support system is also fitted.
Thales TAVITAC 2000 system
The main gun fire control system is DCNS’s CTM system which is supported by the Castor radar, an infrared tracking system and laser rangefinder. Sagem’s TDS 90 optronic target designation sight is also fitted.
Castor-IIJ fire control radar
DRBC 33F Castor IIJ [Radar]
Type: Radar Altitude Max: 9144 m Range Max: 29.6 km Altitude Min: 0 m Range Max: 29.6 km Range Min: 1.3 km Generation: Late 1990s
Properties: Moving Target Indicator (MTI), Pulse Doppler Radar (Full LDSD Capability), Weapon FCR (No CW Illumination) Sensors / EW: – DRBC 33F Castor IIJ [Radar] – Radar, Radar, FCR, Surface-to-Air, Short-Range, Max range: 29.6 km. Source cmano-db.com
DRBC 33F Castor IIJ (Group, Crotale NG FCR, CTM)
Sensors / EW: – Crotale TV Tracker – (Group, Crotale NG FCR, CTM) Visual, Visual, Target Tracking and Identification TV Camera, Max range: 74.1 km – DRBC 33F Castor IIJ [Radar] – (Group, Crotale NG FCR, CTM) Radar, Radar, FCR, Surface-to-Air, Short-Range, Max range: 29.6 km – Piranha [IR] – (Castor IIJ) Infrared, Infrared, Target Tracking and Identification Camera, Max range: 148.2 km. Source cmano-db.com
The ship’s surface-to-surface missile is the Exocet MM40 from MBDA (formerly EADS Aerospatiale). Two four-cell launchers are installed in a midship position between the two masts. The anti-ship missile has a range of 70km and approaches the target in sea skimming mode at high subsonic speed, approximately 0.95 Mach. The 165kg shaped charge warhead has time delayed impact proximity fuses.
The French Navy has awarded MBDA a contract for the Exocet MM40 Block 3 missile to be deployed on vessels from 2006. The Block 3 missile will have a new turbojet propulsion system which will give a range extended to 180km.
Exocet MM40 Block 3
The MM40 Block 3 missile, complete with a Microturbo TRI 40 turbojet engine, began development 2004 and was first tested from a ship in 2010. Improvements to the MM40 Block 3 include internal navigation and GPS upgrades. These updates, combined with a frequency modulated continuous wave radar altimeter, allows for control of the missile’s altitude over various types of terrain. This missile is armed with a 160 kg high explosive/semi-armour piercing warhead and an active radar terminal seeker 9 Additional upgrades include increased evasive capabilities such as the ability to make a 180 degree turn post-launch, allowing the MM40 to evade defense missile systems. These upgraded missiles will be both ship- and ground-launched and will be deployed first onto Forbin (Horizon)-class destroyers and then to La Fayette-class frigates.
Originated From: France
Possessed By: Numerous (see table below)
Class: Anti-ship Cruise Missile
Length: 4.69- 5.95 m
Diameter: 350 mm
Launch Weight: 655-870 kg
Payload: Single warhead
Warhead: 165 kg HE fragmentation or semi-armor piercing
Propulsion: Solid fueled (MM40 Block 3 uses a Microturbo TRI 40 turbojet)
Range: 40-180 km
In Service: 1975
|Variant||MM40||MM40 Block 2||MM40 Block 3|
|Basing||Ship-, Ground-launched||Ship-, Ground-launched||Ship-, Ground-launched|
|Range||70 km||70 km||180 km|
|Warhead||165 kg HE frag.||165 kg HE frag.||160 kg HE frag.|
|Users||Argentina, Bahrain, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Colombia, Cyprus, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Iraq, Ivory Coast, South Korea, Kuwait, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay||Brazil, Greece, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, South Africa||Greece, Indonesia, Morocco, UAE, Vietnam|
The ship’s surface-to-air missile system is the Thales Crotale Naval CN2. The system employs the VT-1 missile with a range of 13km and speed of Mach 3.6. The guidance is by command line of sight with radar and infra-red homing. 24 missiles are carried. The frigates may be upgraded with the vertical launch system (VLS) and Aster 15 missile from Eurosam and associated Thales Arabel fire control radar. Sixteen missiles will be carried.
Thales Crotale Naval CN2
The Crotale EDIR (Ecartométrie Différentielle InfraRouge, “InfraRed Differential Ecartometry”) is an all-weather short-range anti-air missile, which can be used to intercept low-flight anti-ship missiles and aircraft. It has been developed by Thomson CSF Matra and exists in two versions, a mobile land-based version and a ship-launched one.
|Place of origin||France|
|Used by||See Operators|
South African Border War
|No. built||6,000 missiles (R440)|
|Warhead weight||13 kg|
|VT-1: 11 km
Mk3: 16 km
|Flight ceiling||VT-1: 6,000 m
Mk3: 9,000 m
|semi-active radar homing
Infra-red search and track
SADRAL launcher (to replace Thales Crotale Naval CN2)
The SADRAL is a pedestal mounted six round launcher for naval use. SADRAL stands for Système d’AutoDéfense Rapprochée Anti-aérienne Légère, which is French for light short range anti-aircraft self-defence system. The SADRAL is a remotely operated system with three missiles on each side and optronics on top. Source weaponsystems.net
MISTRAL urface-to-air missile
The Mistral is a fire and forget, short range surface-to-air missile designed to engage air threats. The Mistral has been designed to be launched from a wide range of systems such as MCP, ALBI, MANPADS, SIMBAD, ATLAS, SIGMA, SADRAL, TETRAL and ATAM. The Mistral missile is able to engage a supersonic target flying at 3,000 meters of altitude. Mistral is being used for point defense, ship self-defense, defense of mobile units and air-to-air engagements (ATAM). It is provided with an imaging Infrared seeker and a blast fragmentation warhead detonated by a proximity laser fuze. The Mistral 1 is the baseline missile and the Mistral 2 is the improved, most recent, currently in production model. MBDA has produced more than 15,000 Mistral missiles for 25 countries.
Diameter: 90 millimeter (3.54 inch)
Length: 1,860 millimeter (73 inch)
Wingspan: 180 millimeter (7.09 inch)
Max Range: 6,000 meter (3.24 nautical mile)
Min Range: 500 meter (0.27 nautical mile)
Target’s Max Altitude: 3,000 meter (1.86 mile)
Top Speed: 2.44 mach (2,917 kph)
Launch Unit Weight: 22.5 kilogram (50 pound)
Warhead: 3 kilogram (6.61 pound)
Weight: 19.5 kilogram (43 pound)
The ship’s main gun on the bow deck is the DCNS 100mm which fires a 13.5kg shell to a range of 16km. The gun has a firing rate of 80 rounds a minute. Two 20mm model 20F2 guns from Giat are installed with a firing rate of 720 rounds a minute to a range of 10km.
French 100 mm naval gun
Modern French 100 mm naval guns are multipurpose artillery pieces (anti-air, anti-ship, ground), capable of a high rate of fire. Most modern French warships are equipped with one of its versions.
|Canon de 100mm|
100mm turret on the Lieutenant de vaisseau Lavallée
|Place of origin||France|
Belgium, Portugal, Turkey, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Bulgaria
|Designed||1953 — 1961|
|Produced||1961 — present|
modèle 100 TR
|Weight||22 metric tons|
|Barrel length||55 calibres|
|Crew||2 (modèle 68) ; later version entirely automatic|
|Rate of fire||78 round/min|
|Muzzle velocity||870 m/s|
|Effective firing range||17,000 m (elevation 40°)
Maximum practical range:
2 x 20F2 gun 20mm gun/90 cal modele F2 gun
The 20 mm F2 is a mounted monotube gun, with two 150-cartridge boxes on each side of the piece. An electrical control system allows for a choice of three modes of fire: single shot, eight-shot burst, or free fire. There is an electrical trigger in the right hand of the gunner. A manual selector allows the gunner to change the box feeding the weapon during the firing, making mixed firing available. After each shot, the empty cartridge is ejected from beneath the weapon.
The gun is manoeuvred by the body of the gunner, who is attached to the weapon. Firing is guided through the same optical visor as used with the Bofors 40 mm gun and the Oerlikon 20 mm cannon.
|WEIGHT||332 kg (732 lb) (without ammunition)|
|ACTION||Gas unlocked, delayed blowback|
|ELEVATION||−15° to + 65°|
|RATE OF FIRE||720 round/min|
|MUZZLE VELOCITY||1,050 m/s (3,400 ft/s)|
|EFFECTIVE FIRING RANGE||1,500 m (4,900 ft) against aerial targets|
The frigate has a flight deck at the stern with a single landing spot, for use by 10t helicopters such as AS 565 MA Panther, SA 321G Super Frelon or NH 90. The flight deck can be used up to Sea State 6.
AS 565 MA Panther: Details
NHIndustries NH90: Details
SA 321G Super Frelon
To meet a French armed services requirement for a medium transport helicopter, Sud-Aviation flew the prototype SE.3200 Frelon (hornet) on 10 June 1959. Powered by three Turmo IIIB turboshafts, the SE.3200 had large external fuel tanks that left the interior clear for a maximum of 28 troops, and a swing-tail fuselage to simplify cargo loading. However, development was terminated in favor of a larger and more capable helicopter designed in conjunction with Sikorsky and Fiat. What was to become Western Europe’s largest production helicopter emerged with a rotor system of Sikorsky design, and with a watertight hull suitable for amphibious operation. Two military prototypes of the Super Frelon were built, the SA 3210-01 troop transport, and the SA 3210-02 maritime version for the Aeronavale on 28 May 1963.
Four pre-production aircraft were built under the new designation SA 321 Super Frelon. These were followed in October 1965 by production SA 321G anti-submarine warfare helicopters for the Aeronavale. Apart from ship-based ASW missions, the SA 321G also carried out sanitisation patrols in support of Redoutable class ballistic missile submarines. Some were modified with nose-mounted targeting radar for Exocet anti-ship missiles. Five SA 321GA freighters, originally used in support of the Pacific nuclear test centre, were transferred to assault support duties. In 2003, the surviving Aeronavale Super Frelons were assigned to transport duties including commando transport, VertRep and search and rescue.
Six radar-equipped SA 321GM helicopters were delivered to Libya in 1980-81. The SA 321G was also modified for air force and army service. Designated SA 321H, a total of 16 was delivered from 1977 to the Iraqi Air Force with radar and Exocet missiles. These aircraft were used in the Iran-Iraq conflict and the 1991 Gulf War, in which at least one example was destroyed.
|Dimensions and weight|
|Main rotor diameter||18.9 m|
|Weight (empty)||6.86 t|
|Weight (maximum take off)||13 t|
|Engines and performance|
|Engines||3 x Turbomeca Turmo IIIC7 turboshafts|
|Engine power||3 x 1 610 hp|
|Maximum speed||248 km/h|
|Service ceiling||3.1 km|
|Range||1 020 km|
|Maximum payload||5 t|
|Typical load||27 troops or 15 stretchers|
|Cannon||provision for a 20-mm cannon or machine guns|
|Missiles||provision for 2 x Exocet anti-ship missiles|
|Torpedoes||provision for 4 x anti-submarine torpedoes|
The Thales ARBR 21 (DR 3000S) radar warning receiver, operating in D to K bands, is mounted at the top of the main mast. A Thales ARBB33 jammer operates at H, I and J bands.
Thales ARBR 21 (DR 3000S) radar warning receiver
This radar detector allows the user to be informed in real time of the tactical situation by the identification and precise range and bearing of electromagnetic emissions in the ship’s environment. Source ixarm.com
Thales ARBB33 jammer
|Role:||RWR, Radar Warning Receiver|
|Maximum Range:||120 nm|
Two Sagem Défense Sécurité (formerly EADS Defence & Electronics) Dagaie chaff and flare launching systems are installed on the gun deck aft of the bridge.
Dagaie chaff and flare launching systems
DAGAIE countermeasures system
The DAGAIE launcher comprises 6 or 10 munition containers, each of which is loaded with either IR or chaff rockets.
The firing sequence runs automatically and is triggered on a missile alarm from a variety of sources, such as radar, ESM systems, or optical sights, thus providing a very short reaction time. The firing direction is optimised in accordance with the threat bearing, wind-speed and direction, ship heading and speed data.
The launching of radar and IR decoys is so arranged that advanced mixed-guidance missile systems cannot discriminate between them and thus collocation of both decoys is achieved. The installation is a double mounting and comprises: (a) two trainable mountings carrying 10 replaceable containers (suitcases), each of which is loaded with either IR or I/J-band chaff projectiles.
A wide range of ammunition by Etienne Lacroix Défense provides seduction, distraction and
seduction/dissimulation modes. The electromagnetic decoys are normally based upon aluminised glass fibre chaff with rapid bloom time and they cover the I and J frequency bands. The infra-red decoys cover both the 3-5 and the 8-14 µm bands.
Traverse: 330º at 21º/s
Average reaction time: Within 4 s
REM rocket dimensions: 850 × 127 mm (33.5 × 5 in)
Rocket weight: 13 kg (28.66 lb)
Container dimensions: 900 × 130 mm (35.4 × 5.1 in)
Container weight: 20 kg (44.1 lb)
LIR/LEM container dimensions: 780 × 630 × 134 mm (30 × 24.8 × 5.3 in)
Container weight: 54 kg (119 lb)
The Sea Tiger mk2 air- and surface-search radar from Thales is mounted on the top of the second platform mast. Sea Tiger operates at E and F bands and the range is over 100km. The Thales Castor 2J, operating at J band, is a fire control radar with a range of over 15km (see above). The Crotale fire control radar operates at J band. Two model 1229 navigation and helicopter control radars from Thales Defence operate at I band.
Sea Tiger mk2 air- and surface-search radar
DRBV 15C Sea Tiger Mk2 – (Group, 1996, Detector) Radar, Radar, Target Indicator, 2D Surface-to-Air & Surface-to-Surface, Max range: 133.3 km. Source cmano-db.com
2 x model 1229 (DRBN 34) navigation and helicopter control radars
The landing DRBN 34 radar of the stealth frigate Surcouf – Image: commons.wikimedia.org
|Type: Radar||Altitude Max: 0 m|
|Range Max: 46.3 km||Altitude Min: 0 m|
|Range Min: 0.4 km||Generation: Late 1970s|
|Properties: Pulse-only Radar|
|Sensors / EW:|
|DRBN 34 [Decca 1229] – Radar
Role: Radar, Surface Search & Navigation
Max Range: 46.3 km
Vigiscan infrared panoramic surveillance system
VIGISCAN is a high sensitivity camera for real time infrared panoramic surveillance. The VIGISCAN captures a 360° image in azimuth at a speed of 1 Hz and is ideal for the following applications:
- Security perimeters control
- Day and night panoramic surveillance
- Coastal and border passive surveillance
- Airport traffic monitoring
- Detection of intrusion
- Early detection of forest fire
VIGISCAN provides a global and instantaneous vision of the whole security perimeter where an operator would have previously had to orientate cameras manually. Reduced operator burden and increased coverage area that is achieved through the VIGISCAN’s innovative design makes it a cost effective and practical solution for increasing security in any application. Source owenint.com.au
The propulsion system is a Combined Diesel and Diesel (CODAD) arrangement. The system is based on four SEMT Pielstick 12 PA6 V 280 STC diesel engines, rated at 21,000hp. Two shafts drive controllable pitch propellers. The ship is fitted with a bow thruster. The propulsion system provides a maximum speed of 25kt and, at an economical speed of 12kt, the range is 9,000nm.
SEMT Pielstick 12 PA6 V 280 STC diesel engines
S.E.M.T. Pielstick PA6-STC Marine Engine
|Cylinder bore||280 mm|
|Piston stroke||290 mm|
|Power per cylinder||324 kW|
|Specific fuel consumption||202 g/kWh|
|Engine type||Cycl. No.||Maximal continuous rating kW||Dimensions (mm)||Dry mass t|
|Modular design. Shape of hull and superstructures designed to lower radar cross section. Extensive use of alloy, reinforced plastic and kevlar to increase stealth. Provisions for installation of 16 Aster 15 missiles in VLS cells.|
|Anti-ship missiles: 8 Exocet MM40 blk II
Anti-air missiles: 24 Crotale
Guns: 1× 100mm Modèle 68 TR – 2× 20mm modèle F2 guns
|Sentry radar: DRBV 15C
Navigation radar: DRBN 34
Optronics: Sagem TDS 90
Jammers/Decoys: 2× Dagaie Mk2 chaff launcher – 1× AN/SLQ-25 Nixie – 1× Prairie-Masker – 1× ARBB 33
Communications: Syracuse II – Inmarsat
|4 diesel SEMT Pielstick 12PA6V280 STC2, 21000 hp (15 400 kW)|
|Light Stealth Frigate|
85 Petty Officers, 53 Sailors
|Top Speed: 25 knots
Range: 4,000 nm @ 15knots 9,000 nm @ 12 knots
Endurance: 50 days
|3,200 tonnes, 3,600 tonnes fully loaded|
|4 diesel SEMT Pielstick 12PA6V280 STC2
(15,400 kW – 21,000 hp)
|1 x Panther or NH90 helicopter|
|Dimension / Weight|
Technical data navyrecognition.com
Main material source naval-technology.com
Updated May 13, 2017