Frégates Européennes Multi-Missions (FREMM)
European Multi-Mission Frigate
The 8 first French frigates were registered by the Military Expenditure Act of 2002. The first draft budget in France was in the winter of 2003. The financial strategists in the Rue Saint Dominique had launched a tender among banks with the heading "operating lease". Clearly, the FREMM were purchased and leased the time of repayment, banks becoming owners. This option provoked a sharp dispute and was finally rejected by the European Commission. In autumn 2004 the Ministry unveiled plan B in case a "wealth acquisition deferred payment," a barbarous name for a very simple system: A consortium of banks and industrial would buy the ships that State paid for at time of delivery. The idea was interesting, but the interest was deemed excessive by the State, which finally decided to abandon the "innovative financing" to return to conventional financing and a lot of uncertainties. There was, in effect, no payment appropriations provided for FREMM in the 2005 budget in France.
Initially, France anticipated that four frigates of the Horizon type would be made, but these vessels, armed and extremely powerful, have also been very expensive. Delivered by DCNS in 2007 and 2008 (and put into service shortly thereafter), Forbin and Chevalier Paul cost to themselves alone, 2.7 billion euros (design and construction of platforms and weapons systems included). Due to a lack of funds, their two sister ships were abandoned. Since 2005, DCNS engineers worked on an adaptation of the FREMM to air defense missions. This solution is less costly, led to FREDA as the 10th and 11th FREMM frigates. The design of these new vessels uses the same platform as the 9 ASM oriented ships. The equipment of air defense frigates are more expensive (more powerful radar, missiles Aster 30).
These first eight frigates in the series (Aquitaine, Normandie, Provence, Bretagne, Auvergne, Languedoc, Alsace, Lorraine) were ordered in November 2005. The last frigate was due for delivery before 2020. The financial value of this Program is 8 billion euros, and the first warships will be delivered by 2010, which makes the FREMM Program the most important European naval defense program to take place in Europe in the next two decades, and also the most important in terms of innovative technologies.
DCNS signed an order supplement for three new vessels under the European FREMM multimission frigate program. This brought France’s total order to 11 vessels, scheduled for delivery from 2012 to 2022. Contract confirmation was announced 08 October 2009 by the French Minister for Defence, Mr Hervé Morin, at the production launch of France’s second multimission frigate in the series, the Normandie. This amendment to the FREMM multimission frigate contract called for the development and construction of three additional vessels, two in air defence configuration, as well as capability enhancements for all frigates in the series and a delivery schedule of one vessel every 10 months. It also called for operational support for these state-of-the-art vessels in their first years of service.
With one vessel delivered every 10 months, the program represents a significant increase in workload for DCNS and its industrial partners. The Brittany region of France will be the main beneficiaries in terms of employment. The FREMM project provides 3 million hours of employment each year and almost 50 million hours over the duration of the programme, which runs from 2006 to 2022. Each frigate is equivalent to the construction of two Millau viaducts.
When the Frégate Européen MultiMission (FREMM) program was launched, a total 17 ships were planned by France at a unit price of 388.5 million euros ($574 million), totaling 8.51 billion euros. Under financial pressure, the government cut the FREMM orders to 11 and dropped a planned surface attack version. Even at the reduced number of ships, DCNS describes the FREMM as Europe's largest naval shipbuilding program. Italy's FREMM program comprises 10 frigates. The two air defense ships replace two planned Horizon frigates, leaving the French Horizon fleet at the present two units, the Forbin and Chevalier Paul.
On September 30, 2009, the Organization for Joint Cooperation in Armaments (JACS) reported, on behalf of the General Delegation for Armaments (DGA), DCNS at the command of a frigate in Multi-version Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and two multi-mission frigates version of Air Defense (FREDA). This acquisition brought to eleven the number of FREMM ordered for the French Navy, eight frigates having already been ordered in November 2005. The Franco-Italian program provides for the delivery of 21 frigates for the 2 countries.
At that time, the French budget was 7 billion euros, with spares but without maintenance in operational condition. The bill is large compared to the original contract. The latter, reported November 16, 2005, focused on 17 FREMM a total cost of 6.5 billion euros, studies included. With six boats less, how can France pay 500 million euros more? In 2005, the FREMM would not only replace the current nine anti-submarine frigates, but also the nine type A69 avisos. The idea was to renew these resources by a single multi-purpose building, built in large numbers and with a production rate very high. At the time, the MoD stated that the first 8 frigates would be delivered between 2011 and 2015. The scenario did not happen, however, as expected, primarily to funding problems.
On 12 June 2015 in Brest, DCNS delivered the FREMM multi-mission frigate Provence to the French Navy, as stipulated in the contract. This frigate is the second of the series ordered by OCCAR* on behalf of the DGA (French armament procurement agency). Delivery of the FREMM multi-mission frigate Provence is the result of a design and construction process managed by DCNS in close cooperation with the French Navy, DGA and OCCAR teams. All DCNS sites, its partners and subcontractors took part to this technological and industrial success to ensure compliance with the industrial milestones, in particular the launching in September 2013 and the first sea outing in September 2014.
> On 12 June 2015 in Brest, DCNS delivered the FREMM multi-mission frigate Provence to the French Navy, as stipulated in the contract. This frigate is the second of the series ordered by OCCAR* on behalf of the DGA (French armament procurement agency). Delivery of the FREMM multi-mission frigate Provence is the result of a design and construction process managed by DCNS in close cooperation with the French Navy, DGA and OCCAR teams.
All DCNS sites, its partners and subcontractors took part to this technological and industrial success to ensure compliance with the industrial milestones, in particular the launching in September 2013 and the first sea outing in September 2014.
DCNS floated the French Navy’s FREMM multi-mission frigate Auvergne in Lorient. The achievement took place on 02 September 2015. The FREMM Auvergne is the sixth frigate in the program and fourth of the series ordered by OCCAr[i] on behalf of the DGA (the French defence procurement agency) for the French Navy.
With three FREMMs currently under construction in DCNS’ Lorient site, DCNS is accelerating the production speed in order to deliver six FREMMs to the French Navy before mid-2019. Two additional frigates equipped with strengthened anti-aircraft capacities will be delivered before 2022. Two further units have also been sold to international clients; The Royal Moroccan Navy and the Egyptian Navy.
The Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) on March 16, 2016 authorized the hand-over of the frigate “Languedoc,” the third multi-mission frigate (FREMM) to be delivered to the Navy. The new ship will continue the renewal of the French navy’s frigate component with eight ships that will form the backbone of the surface fleet. The first two frigates already delivered, “Aquitaine” and “Provence,” accompanied and escorted the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle during Operation Chammal operation.
On February 14, 2018, the Chief of the Naval Staff admitted to active service D654 Auvergne, the 4th multi-mission frigate (FREMM). Now declared fit for combat by the Navy, she joins D650 Aquitaine, D652 Provence and D653 Languedoc, her three sister-ships in the FREMM class. The last four FREMMs will have been delivered in 2025, the final two with enhanced air defense capabilities.
The French Navy was looking to establish a force of at least 15 surface combatants (first rank) Frigates, that would enhance French Naval power projection and capability. However, in 2016 the original order for 11 Aquitaine Class Frigates was reduced down to 8, with orders transferred to cheaper FTI Frigates.
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