Horizon is a joint program between France and Italy. The aim is to develop and build a common new-generation AAW frigate. The Horizon frigate will also have anti-surface and anti-submarine capabilities to conduct an extensive range of missions: air defence as part of an aircraft carrier group, support of lightly armed or unarmed vessels or operations as a single unit.
The Horizon frigate is predominantly an AAW vessel for zone defence and local defence against saturation missile attacks. She is being designed for rapid deployment and extended range and endurance so she can quickly reach distant crisis zones. The stabilization system allows the ship's helicopter to be deployed and her combat system to be operated in rough seas. The Horizon benefits from the La Fayette family's advanced survivability. Her highly automated combat and platform management systems ensure high availability and crew efficiency, plus fast response to all emergencies. The combination of Aster missiles and Sylver vertical launchers ensures high-level protection for both crew and ship. Horizon frigates will also feature a state-of-the-art electronic warfare suite.
The anti-air frigates were designed to control the airspace over the battle zone to support military operations, provide command for air defense, or directly protect special units. Their missions could include anti-air cover for an aero-naval convoy, or for a group of vessels unequipped for attack and defense. They could also be used to intervene in the aero-maritime theater of action, or participate in public service civil operations. Horizon frigates will be equipped with the main PAAMS anti-air missile system, developed by France, Italy and Great Britain.
HORIZON-class frigates are warships specialized in anti-air defense. Their main mission is to escort an aero-naval combat force supporting an aircraft carrier, or a group of lightly armed vessels, like a Projection and Command Ship (BPC/Bātiment de Projection et de Commandement). These frigates are being built as a cooperative effort between Italy and France to assure the protection of a convoy of vessels against high levels of threat, and massive attacks by anti-naval missiles. They can also fulfill command and control functions of aero-maritime space within a coalition force.
To accomplish their missions, these frigates are equipped with a modern and powerful combat system. The Principal Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS) based on ASTER missiles is in itself a major breakthrough. This anti-missile protection system, which was the outcome of a cooperative effort between Italy, the UK and France, is equipped with 48 verticallylaunched missiles. This system will allow Horizon frigates to intercept salvos of incoming missiles. For self-protection, the Horizon frigates will also be outfitted with multiple anti-naval and anti-submarine capabilities and a modern electronic warfare system.
The ship has a displacement at full load of 7,050 tonnes, a length of 152.87 m, a maximum beam of 20.3 m, a maximum speed of 29 knots and a crew of only 230, thanks to the high degree of automation of the platform and the combat system. These ships, equipped with PAAMS, Principal Anti Air Missile System, developed by Italy, France and the UK, will be mainly tasked with escorting naval vessels for anti-air purposes, although the ship will also carry out missions of a civilian nature and will ensure air traffic control in critical zones. Vessels in the "Orizzonte" class, thanks to their high technological content and their potential for high profile performance, will guarantee safety and security with an excellent level of operating efficiency.
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