A prototype of the export variant (designated BELH@RRA) of the French Navy’s future FTI (Frégate de Taille Intermédiaire) medium-size frigates was unveiled during the Euronaval trade show held in Paris in October.
The French Navy version is being developed by naval shipbuilding company DCNS in collaboration with the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA), under the FTI medium-size frigate programme.
Thales has been contracted to supply latest-generation navigation and communications equipment for the frigates.
The heavily armed frigates can be deployed in a wide range of missions such as anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-aircraft warfare, patrol, maritime security, control of exclusive economic zone (EEZ), asymmetric warfare, and special forces activities.
The French Navy plans to order up to five units with deliveries, beginning 2023.
French Navy orders 5 intermediate-sized frigates: Here
April 25 (UPI) — Five intermediate-sized frigates are to be constructed for the French Navy by DCNS under contract from the French defense procurement agency, DGA.
The ships are to be developed and built using the company’s new BELH@RRA frigate. The French version of the ships will enter into active service in 2025, the company said.
Thales is partnering with DCNS to supply the vessels with a new generation of radar and the frigates will carry Aster 30 missiles made by MBDA.
French Navy’s FTI frigate design and features
The FTI medium-size frigate will feature modular design with increased self-defence and long-range capabilities.
Overall length and midship beams of the ship are 122m and 17.7m respectively. With a displacement of approximately 4,200t, the frigate will carry up to 150 personnel, including 110 crew and 15 for helicopter detachment.
The ship will incorporate digital technologies for data processing and detection of evolving threats. Its wheelhouse will be positioned in the middle section.
A hangar and flight deck located at the stern will of the frigate will allow for the operation of a single unmanned rotorcraft system and / or NH-90 medium class military helicopter equipped with FLASH-based dipping sonar and MU90 lightweight anti-submarine torpedoes.
Single unmanned rotorcraft system and / or NH-90 medium class military helicopter
NH90 multi-role helicopter: Details
FLASH-based dipping sonar
Compact FLASH, which has been specifically developed for the AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300 and AW159 naval helicopters, uses the same FLASH Submersible Unit, Transmitter/Receiver unit and acoustic processing as installed in larger Anti-Submarine Warfare helicopters thus providing the same unrivalled ASW capability to smaller 5-6 tonne class helicopters.
Also under production in the Thales Brest facility is Compact FLASH Sonics, which integrates Compact FLASH with sonobuoy processing, it is also under contract with AgustaWestland for installation in the AW159 ASW helicopter being manufactured in Yeovil for the Republic of Korea Navy. Source navyrecognition.com
The medium-size frigate will additionally carry rigid hulled inflatable boats for patrolling and transportation.
Anti-aircraft and anti-submarine armament
The FTI will be armed with a variety of anti-aircraft and anti-submarine armament to attack aircraft and submarines and their crew.
An Oto Melara 76mm or 127mm naval gun will be mounted in a gun turret located in the bow deck to fight against enemy aircraft, submarines, missiles and ground-based threats.
Oto Melara 76/62 Stealth Shield
Caliber: 3 inches / 76,2 mm
Barrel lenght: 186 inches / 4,72 meters (= 62 caliber)
Weight: 7900kg, empty (Super Rapid)
Shell: 76 x 900 mm / 12,34 kilograms
Elevation: – 15° to + 85°
Rate of fire: Compact: 85 rpm / Super Rapid: selectable from single shot up to 120 rpm
Muzzle Velocity: 925 m/s (1100 m/s – DART)
Magazine: Compact: 80 rounds / SR: 85 rounds
16 kilometers with standard ammunition
20 km with extended range ammunition
up to 40 km with VULCANO ammunition
Le barillet de la tourelle de 76mm (© MER ET MARINE – VINCENT GROIZELEAU) – Image: meretmarine.com
– HE (high explosive) – 6,296kg / Range 16km / effective range 8km (4km vs. air targets at elev. 85°)
– MOM (multi-role OTO munition)
– PFF (pre-formed fragmentation) – anti-missile ammunition
– SAPOM (semi-armored piercing OTO munition) – 6,35kg / Range 16km
– SAPOMER (semi-armored piercing OTO munition, extended range) – Range 20km
– DART (driven ammunition reduced time of flight) – sub-calibre guided ammunition against multiple targets
(missiles and maneuvering targets at sea) 4,2kg in barrel / 3,5kg in flight / 660mm lenght / effective range >8km
– VULCANO (76mm unguided and guided extended range ammunition) – under development
DART (driven ammunition reduced time of flight)
VULCANO (76mm unguided and guided extended range ammunition)
Close up view of the FTI’s bow on the French MoD stand. Note the 76mm main gun, 16x VLS and the Narwhal 20mm RWS (right next to the bridge) – Image: navyrecognition.com
Otobreda 127 mm Vulcano
The upcoming Oto-Melara (now OtoBreda) 127/64 Lightweight (LW) naval gun is a rapid fire gun mount suitable for installation on large and medium size ships, intended for surface fire and naval gunfire support as main role and anti-aircraft fire as secondary role. The compactness of the gun feeding system makes possible the installation on narrow section crafts.
The gun can fire all standard 5 inch (127mm) ammunition including the new Vulcano long range guided ammunition.
Modular automatic feeding magazines allow the firing of up to four different and immediately selectable types of ammunition; the magazines (four drums, each with one shell ready to fire) can be reloaded while the mount is in operation.
An ammunition manipulator system is available to transport projectiles and propelling charges from the main ammunition store to the feeding magazines, which are automatically reloaded. Ammunition flow is reversible. Rounds can be automatically unloaded from the gun. Digital and Analog interfaces are available for any Combat Management System, also according to Corba protocol. The 127/64 LW Naval Gun Mounts includes a Vulcano module, which acts twofold:
– Programmer for ammunition’s fuse and guidance system.
– Mission Planning and Execution for Naval Fire Support Action (firing solutions, selection of ammunition, definition of trajectories and firing sequences, ballistic computations accounting for ammunition type, etc.), as a standalone or in interaction with ship’s Network Centric System.
Vulcano unguided projectile. Note how the projectile is carried down in the propelling cartridge. This will allow it to be used in the 54-caliber barrel. Picture courtesy of Ministero della Difesa. – Image: navweaps.comFuture Vulcano Projectile with Inertial and GPS guidance. Picture courtesy of Ministero della Difesa. – Image: navweaps.com
Caliber: 5 inches / 127 mm
Barrel lenght: 320 inches / 8,128 meters (= 64 caliber)
Weight: 33000 kg (without ammunition)
Elevation: -12° / +70°
Traverse: +/- 155°
Rate of fire: 32 rounds per minute
Range: 23000 meters, max. / 15000 meters effective / 8600 meters AA / up to 100 km with Vulcano ER/LR ammunition
Ammunition stowage: 56 rounds ready to fire in 4 loader drums / 500-600 in magazine
Ammunition: all standard 5-inch ammunition including the new Vulcano extended range / long range guided ammunition
OTO-Melara 127/64 LW source seaforces.org
Close up view of the Belh@arra frigate’s bow on DCNS stand. Note the 127mm main gun, 16x VLS andthe Narwhal 20mm RWS (right next to the bridge) – Image: navyrecognition.com
Defence against littoral and coastal land threats will be provided by eight Exocet MM40 Block 3 all-weather weapon systems, installed amidships.
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 frigate will also be fitted with two eight-cell A-50 type Sylver vertical launch systems for Aster 15 surface-to-air missiles in the bow, two 20mm remotely-operated weapons at the rear, 2×2 deck-mounted torpedo tubes for MU90, and an anti-ship missile decoy launching system.
2 x eight-cell A-50 type Sylver vertical launch systems
The Sylver (SYstème de Lancement VERtical) is a vertical launching system (VLS) designed by DCNS. The launcher comes in several variants, each distinguished by their height. A-35 and A-43 were developed for launching short range surface-to-air missiles, the A-50 for the long-range PAAMS air defense system, and the A-70 launcher for larger missiles such as the SCALP Naval land attack cruise missile. The numbers refer to the approximate length of the missile which can be accommodated, in decimetres, i.e. the A-43 can hold missiles which are up to 4.3 metres long whilst the A-70 can accommodate missiles up to 7 metres long.
The launchers come in eight-cell modules, except A-35 available in four-cell modules, with each eight-cell module occupying six square metres of deck space. Inner size cell is 60 cm long and 56 cm wide, and each cell has its own exhaust vent. Crotale NG (VT1) missiles can be quad-packed in one cell.
The primary application of the launcher has been the MBDA Aster missile. The Sylver, together with the Aster, is the primary component of the PAAMS naval anti-air warfare system. Using PAAMS, up to eight missiles can be launched in 10 seconds.
The French Navy has initiated studies to convert the SCALP EG missile to be capable of launch from the Sylver. This missile, the SCALP Naval, would give France a land attack capability in the mould of the U.S. Tomahawk missile. It would also be attractive to the British Royal Navy, whose Type 45 destroyers will be equipped with the Sylver launcher, although the A50 type cannot take this missile at present.
The basic unit of Sylver VLS is an eight-cell module fitted with two rows of 22-inch missile cells surrounding the uptake for exhaust gas.
Models / Measures:
Sylver A-35 (lenght = 2,6 meters / width = 2,3 meters / height = 3,5 meters)
Sylver A-43 (lenght = 2,6 meters / width = 2,3 meters / height = 4,3 meters)
Sylver A-50 (lenght = 2,6 meters / width = 2,3 meters / height = 5 meters)
Sylver A-70 (lenght = 2,6 meters / width = 2,3 meters / height = 7 meters)
Aster 15 and 30 surface-to-air missiles
The ASTER 15 is a short range missile intended for self-defense (point defense) purposes against highly maneuverable threats. The ASTER 15 is integrated on the SAAM and beginning in 2006 in the PAAMS system. The SAAM is installed on French-built frigates and the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. The PAAMS will be provided to the Horizon frigates (France and Italy) and the Type 45 destroyers (United Kingdom).
Diameter: 180 millimeter (7.09 inch)
Length: 4.20 meter (165 inch)
Max Range: 30,000 meter (16.2 nautical mile)
Min Range: 1,700 meter (0.92 nautical mile)
Target’s Max Altitude: 13,000 meter (8.08 mile)
Top Speed: 1,000 mps (3,601 kph)
Weight: 310 kilogram (683 pound)
ASTER 15 data deagel.com
Number of Stages: 2
Diameter: 180 millimeter (7.09 inch)
Length: 4.90 meter (193 inch)
Max Range: 120 kilometer (65 nautical mile)
Min Range: 3,000 meter (1.62 nautical mile)
Target’s Max Altitude: 20,000 meter (12.4 mile)
Top Speed: 1,494 mps (5,380 kph)
Weight: 450 kilogram (992 pound)
ASTER 30 data deagel.com
2 x 20mm remotely-operated weapons at the rear
Nexter 20mm Narwhal remote weapon systems (© MER ET MARINE – VINCENT GROIZELEAU) – Image: meretmarine.com
NARWHAL® combines the impressive firepower of Nexter’s 20M621 20mm gun – used by more than 25 countries – with a set of high-performance day/night electro-optic cameras and a moving target monitoring function. It is the ideal system for a broad range of critical missions. It is perfectly suited to surveillance and maritime police operations, but also interception and self-defence operations in the face of constantly evolving asymmetric threats.
NARWHAL® provides short-range self-defence for French and Egyptian FREMM frigates, for French MISTRALclass vessels and for Lebanese navy patrol boats. It will be also in service on patrol boats (Guyanese PLG light patrol craft) and on the HORIZON class frigates of the French Navy. Source nexter-group.fr
2 x 2 deck-mounted torpedo tubes for MU90
The MU90/IMPACT Advanced Lightweight Torpedo is the leader of the 3rd generation of LWTs. Designed and built with the most advanced technology, the weapon is of fire-and-forget type conceived to cope with any-task any-environment capability requirements and meet the ASW operational needs of the 21st century.
The weapon has been designed to counter any type of nuclear or conventional submarine, acoustically coated, deep and fast-evasive, deploying active or passive anti-torpedo effectors
|Main Dynamic Features|
|Linearly Variable speed||……………………||29 to >> 50 kts**|
|Range||……………………||>10,000 m at max. speed**
> 23,000m at min. speed**
|Minimum depth for launching||……………………||< 25 m|
|Max. operating depth||……………………||>> 1000 m**|
|Agility and manoeuvrability||…………………….||Extreme|
|Diameter (NATO Standard)||……………………||323,7 mm|
|Main Acoustic Features|
|Acoustic coverage||……………………||120°H x 70°V|
|Simultaneous targets||……………………||Up to 10|
|Main Counter-Counter Measures|
|Stationary target detection capability|
(**) = real value classified
FTI Naval Gun System – EURONAVAL 2016
The FTI mid-size frigate scale model on the French MoD stand at Euronaval 2016 – Image: navyrecognition.com
The Euronaval FTI scale model is representative of the FTI design being currently proposed by the French defense procurement agency (DGA) to the French Navy (Marine Nationale) but Navy Recognition learned from a number of sources that several systems are still being debated, one of these systems being the main naval guns.
The FTI model at Euronaval featured a 76mm by Leonardo (formerly known as Oto Melara). This solution makes perfect sense since this gun type is already fitted on the two Horizon destroyers and the Aquitaine-class FREMM frigates. However, as we’ve reported before, some sailors in the French Navy have been (and are still) advocating a larger gun system able to provide longer range and increased lethality. This need could be answered by a 127mm main gun. Two companies have such a gun in their portfolio: The 127/64 by Leonardo-Finmeccanica’s Defence Systems Division of Italy and the Mark 45 Mod 4 by BAE Systems Inc. from the United States.
The FTI was designed to accommodate the 127mm gun (from both companies): At the show, DCNS was showcasing a scale model of the export variant of the FTI, the Belh@rra, with a 127mm gun. Both the 127/54 and the Mark 45 Mod 4 can deploy smart, precision munitions (the Vulcano ammunition for the Italian gun, and the Hyper Velocity Projectile and Standard Guided Projectile for the American gun) which is of interest to the French Navy as well.
A key factor will be the whole life cost of the system. We learned at the show that this is the reason why the Bofors 57mm Mk 3 has recently started to be considered as well. In addition to being more affordable than a 127mm or 76mm gun, the 57mm offers other advantages: While this gun doesn’t offer the range and lethality of the 127mm guns, some of its performances are comparable to the 76mm. This is particularly true when you take factors such as the rate of fire and the amount of explosive per shell into account (the Bofors gun achieves a higher amount of “explosive fired per second” compared to the 76mm. This is explained in more details in this video). In addition, the 57mm shells being smaller, a greater number may be stored aboard the ship. Finally, we believe that a smaller main gun (such as the 57mm) because of its lighter weight could allow the installation of larger remote weapon stations (than the 20mm Narwhal). This is pure speculation on our end, but an FTI fitted with a 57mm main gun at the bow and two Thales RAPIDSeaGuardian 40mm CIWS on top of the helicopter hangar at the stern (for a 360° coverage) could make sense. The gun comes with smart ammunition as well: The 3P all-target programmable ammunition and the ORKA “one shot one kill” round currently under development.
The area around the bridge of the FTI may still evolve. Our understanding is that it looks the way it is right now mainly because of a requirement to fit a Narwhal remote weapon station just forward of the bridge (with another one on top of the helicopter hangar for 360° coverage).
We also learned that space provisions have already been set on and in the foredeck for future growth. While the French Navy FTI is shown with 16x A50 VLS (for MBDA Aster 30 SAM), there is a requirement to increase this number to a total of 32x VLS “if the need arises some time in the future”. We could not learn the reason behind this requirement, however our wild guess is that it could have something to do with the Future Cruise and Anti-Ship Weapon (FCASW) (known as Future Missile Antinavire/Future Missile de Croisière in France). It is intended to replace the Exocet anti-ship missile in the far future (as well as the air launched SCALP/Storm Shadow) and it may well be vertically launched from surface vessels. Source navyrecognition.com
Anti-ship missile decoy launching system
Navigation and communication systems aboard FTI
The frigate will be equipped with efficient countermeasures, navigation and communications equipment manufactured by Thales.
They include Sea Fire 500 multi-function active fixed-array antenna radar, Kingklip Mark II hull-mounted sonar, Aquilon integrated naval communication system, radar and communications electronic support measures for electronic warfare, jammers, and a compact version of the combined active passive towed array sonar (CAPTAS-4).
Sea Fire 500 multi-function active fixed-array antenna radar
The Thales Sea Fire 500 is a new family of multifunction radars relying on a solid-state four-panel phase array antenna and smart management of radar resources to fit into large surface combatants. It consists of four solid-state active fixed panels that can be located at different points on the vessel. Each panel offers high power, 90-degree coverage and high detection and tracking performance. Working together for four panels offer 360-degree coverage in azimuth and 90-degree coverage in elevation. The Sea Fire 500 leverages the knowledge gained during the Herakles radar development and is being designed to meet evolving naval mission profiles and threats. It is a multifunction radar capable of performing missile fire control and guidance as well as target detection, identification and tracking. The modular architecture of the new radar family and different antenna sizes will enable to fit into a variety of ships and perform several mission types. Thales launched the Sea Fire 500 multifunctional radar at Euronaval exhibition in October 2014.
Thales expects the Sea Fire 500 radar to conduct ship self-defense and extended air defense missions against fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft and missiles. Besides, it will provide protection against emerging asymmetric threats such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and anti-ship ballistic missiles even in heavy clutter and jamming scenarios as well as the complex conditions of the littoral environment. Source deagel.com
Kingklip Mark II hull-mounted sonar
KINGKLIP is particularly efficient to detect submarines in rough sea states and coastal/littoral waters, where difficult reverberation conditions prevail.
It complements a CAPTAS Variable Depth Sonar to provide good coverage above & below the thermal layer.
- Designed for medium size Surface Combatant
- Cylindrical array installed inside an acoustically transparent dome (keel mounted)
- ASW all-round surveillance
- Several transmit configurations allowing operation with two ships in the same area
- Integrated On-Board-Training capability
- Embedded bathythermograph & performance prediction function for sonar optimisation
• Comprehensive Built-in Test capability
- Can be operated either from CMS consoles or stand-alone
- Directional/sectorial transmission
- Underwater telephone capability
- Powerful ASW Sonar Suite when integrated with CAPTAS VDS and sonobuoys
Array (Weight/Height/Diameter): (1.4t / 0.7m / 1.2m)
Active frequency range: 5250 to 8000 Hz
Pulse types: Hyperbolic FM, CW and COMBO
Pulse length: 60 ms to 4 s
Range scale: 1 to 72 kYds
– ASW: all-round surveillance
– Obstacle Avoidance: ± 90° off the ship’s bow
FM bandwidth: Wide bandwidth (2 kHz) against reverberation effect
Passive frequency range: 1000 to 8000 Hz.
Passive functions: All around broadband surveillance, LOFAR, DEMON & audio channels
Aquilon integrated naval communication system
Fully Integrated Communication System (FICS)
– Internal communications
– External communications
– Security management
– User management
– Radio management
The Combined Active and Passive Towed Array Sonar (CAPTAS) is a family of long-range, Low Frequency Active Sonar (LFAS) systems developed by Thales Underwater Systems to support surface ship’s anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability. The CAPTAS towed Variable Depth Sonar (VDS) is well suited for detection of modern diesel-powered submarines in the littoral, deep and shallow water environments. Its range of performance levels, defined by the power of acoustic transmission and the gain of the receiver subsystem, enables integration onto a wide range of surface ships such as corvettes, frigates and/or destroyers. CAPTAS family also features a faired tow cable for optimum Towed Body (TB) depth control, COTS processing architecture and port-starboard non ambiguous discrimination on receive array.
The Captas 4 (© MER ET MARINE – VINCENT GROIZELEAU) – Image: meretmarine.com
The CAPTAS 4 Compact is a smaller version of the CAPTAS 4 towed array sonar especially well suited to provide anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities onboard medium-size frigates. The new sonar system is 20-percent lighter and 50-percent smaller than its parent system making possible to move the sensor package from ship to ship. Source deagel.com
A non-rotating IFF (identification friend or foe) antenna system will equip the frigate to provide surveillance and monitoring at sea.
Combat management system
The FTI frigate will be equipped with DCNS’ ship enhanced tactical information system (SETIS) combat management system, which provides the operator with improved decision-making and battle management capabilities.
Featuring man-machine interface, the SETIS system integrates onboard combat systems, command support modules and planning tools.
SETIS combat system
CO of Aquitaine (© MARINE NATIONALE) – Image: meretmarine.com
The combat system of the ships is the DCNS SETIS (Ship Enhanced Tactical information System), an integrated combat system for networked multi-mission operations. SETIS features advanced algorithms to detect, identify and react immediately to threats with the most appropriate weapon system. SETIS combines a large range of equipment, sensors and long-range weapons for detection, identification and engagements in extreme conditions such as multiple attacks. The Thales SIC21 is a Command and Control Information System. According to Thales, SIC21 is a mission management capability to support all types of naval operations. It increases interoperability & information security within operational Command & control in National, Joint & multinational environments. Sea and Land continuum with deployment on all naval platforms, whether equipped with a Combat Management System or not, and land-based command sites. Source navalanalyses.blogspot.com
Propulsion and performance of French medium-size frigates
Propulsion for the multi-mission frigate will be provided by a 32MW combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) propulsion system.
The mid-size frigate will have a maximum speed of 27kts and a range of 5,000nm at a speed of 15kt.
Original post naval-technology.com