Frégates Européennes Multi-Missions (FREMM)
European Multi-Mission Frigate
This program underscores the close cooperation between the French and Italian naval industries. Together, these two countries are developing and building warships which are among the most sophisticated in their fleets. Moreover, a new profile of the European naval industry is emerging: strong industrial cooperation, ranged around the major players.
The FREMM program has been drawn up with the same partners as the “Orizzonte” program; this comprises the construction of twenty seven multi-mission vessels, ten of which for the Italian Navy, to be built at Fincantieri’s shipyards in Riva Trigoso and Muggiano. The Horizon Program experience made it possible to create common tools and to develop conditions favorable to the launch of the new European Multi-Mission Frigate (FREMM) program: i.e. its necessary completion (both on the contractual and industrial levels), a pragmatic approach to ensure its execution, and a reigning attitude of confidence between the two partners.
Thus, during the summer of 2002, inspired by the French and Italian Defense Ministries, a new cooperative effort concerning Multi-Mission Frigates was launched and finalized at the end of 2002 by a defining contract; then in October 2004 by the Program’s confirmation by both Ministries during Euronaval 2004.
At the Italian-French Summit on 07 November 2002, the French and Italian defense ministers signed a declaration that made official the cooperation between the two countries on multi-mission European frigates (FREMM). This joint declaration also concerned the definition, development, construction and support service on the common Franco-Italian frigate.
Their combined effort, known as the FREMM program, was concentrated on the construction of a fleet of 27 ships -- 17 frigates for the French Navy and 10 frigates for the Italian Navy. The grand total for the fleet of 27 could cost between 945 million to 1.22 billion euros. Initially it was planned that by 2008 the first batch of frigates would be delivered, with an expectation of all ships being completed by 2017. The FREMM program represented the longest production run in Europe since the Second World War. The FREMM program represents the largest European naval program of all time. To be precise, within 15 years, 27 frigates were to be built, 10 of which for the Italian Navy (6 General Purpose type and 4 for Anti Submarine Warfare), the construction of which has been assigned by OSN to Fincantieri for the platform and Finmeccanica for the combat system. The Italian First of Class was to be delivered to the Italian Navy in 2011.
The prime contractors are the French firm Armaris (joint subsidiary of DCN and Thales) and its Italian partner Orrizante Sistemi Navale. The prime contractors finalized their offers as of June 2004 and then left the field open for decisions on subcontractors. All contract signing were handled by the DGA (Délégation Générale pour l'Armement), the French procurement agency. In addition, the creation of ARMARIS in 2002, as a joint venture of DCN and Thales, created the industrial and commercial conditions favorable to the realization of transnational industrial cooperation. At the same time, the setting up of ORIZZONTE SISTEMI NAVALI in Italy between FINCANTIERI and FINMECCANICA in 2003 permitted a complementary approach within the Italian industry. ARMARIS and ORIZZONTE SISTEMI NAVALI had from the very beginning played the role of co-prime-contractors in this program.
Other European countries are likely to associate themselves with the FREMM program since total European needs have been estimated at about 40 frigates. It is clear that programs like this will allow ARMARIS and ORIZZONTE to offer an especially innovative, modern and costefficient product for the export market. ARMARIS and ORIZZONTE are looking forward to perennial cooperative structures, like the OCCAR, the Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation (Organisation conjointe de coopération en matière d’armement) and the European Defense Agency to facilitate a shared commitment towards ambitious and long-term projects.
As of February 2008 anticipated orders were 28 ships: (17 France, 10 Italy, 1 Morocco). The new Sakozy team came into office in France in 2007, launching reflections on a new White Paper on Defense. At that time, the Navy was perceived as richly endowed with its new frigates Horizon's new nuclear submarine attack, the fourth submarine ballistic missile, and other building projects. It was therefore decided to reduce the number of ships to 9 frigates to replace the anti-submarine types F67 (Tourville) and F70 (ASM Georges Leygues). The FREMM version Action Vers la Terre (AVT - Action Towards Earth) was abandoned. In accordance with the conclusions of the White Paper, there will be 9 FREMM All ASM version (one more from the original draft - ASM 8 and 9 AVT). But the series will be extended by two units.
For DCNS, the FREMM program as of mid-2015 involved the construction of ten frigates, eight of them for the French Navy. Six of these were to be delivered by 2019 and the remaining two frigates, equipped with extended anti-aircraft capabilities, were to be delivered before 2022. Two other were sold for export clients: the Royal Moroccan Navy and the Egyptian Navy. The delivery of the FREMM Provence took place at a time when the FREMM program was powering ahead on the DCNS site in Lorient. To date, three FREMM frigates were under construction and one is being prepared before being delivered.
Export sales are more than possible as the FREMM consortium of DCNS, Finmeccanica, and Fincantieri was competing with other French (DCNS Lafayette Class variants), Spanish (Navantia’s AEGIS frigates), and Russian offerings in the global defense market.
Greece started bilateral talks with France to buy six FREMM frigates in 2009, in a potential deal is worth 2.5 billion euros ($3.45 billion). French warship manufacturer DCNS conceded in early 2010 that Greece's debt problems had dashed hopes of landing a contract to supply the Hellenic Navy with 6 FREMM frigates. "The debt crisis obviously complicates the picture," a DCNS official told Jane's on 22 February 2010. "Talks are still going on but we now see little chance of a positive outcome in the foreseeable future." Earlier in 2010 a senior DCNS official said that Greece was the strongest prospect for a sale worth an estimated EUR2.2 billion (USD2.9 billion), Deputy Defence Minister Panos Beglitis told Reuters on 10 February 2010 that Greece will go ahead with the purchase of the six FREMM frigates from France, despite its economic woes. "We will carry out the previous government's deal to purchase six Fremm frigates," Panos Beglitis said in a statement to Reuters.
DCNS has completed the sale to Morocco of a multi-mission frigate FREMM for an amount estimated at 470 million euros. The Shipyard Group (since January 2008) and Rabat (march 2008) have initialed the agreement, which must be formally announced at a Franco-Moroccan scheduled 18 April 2008 in the presence of Prime Minister François Fillon. As anticipated, the rate of production, apart from the prototype and the Moroccan FREMM interposed between the first and second French frigate, will be on ship every 10 months.
The newsletter Maghreb Confidential revealed the visit of Nicolas Sarkozy to Algeria in November 2007 paved the way for a huge arms contract for the purchase by Algiers of four copies of the FREMM frigate . But on September 18, 2009 Asharq Al-Awsat reported that starting in 2011 Algeria will receive warships equipped with modern missiles following the signing of Italy of a contract of € 4 billion. This contract replaced a similar agreement with France that Algeria has decided to cancel because of negotiations between Paris and Rabat to sell FREMM frigates. A high level delegation of the Algerian Ministry of Defense was in Italy to inspect the shipyard where the 6 frigates would be built that Algeria had requestedr after canceling a similar agreement with France.
Saudi Arabia is deciding to order replacements for three classes of frigate, corvette and fast attack craft (FAC) dating from the early 1980s. A requirement for up to eight new ships is anticipated, with the Franco-Italian FREMM frigate and the United States' Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) designs under consideration. The total price tag could reach US$6 billion. Saudi Assistant Defence Minister for Military Affairs Prince Khaled Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz received Delegate of the French Presidency and International Development Director at the French arms agency Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) Jacques de Lajugie in his office in Riyadh on February 17, 2010. Discussions were reported to include Saudi purchases of FREMM Frigates.
According to the Brazilian daily newspaper Folha de São Paulo, the Italian and Brazilian governments could conclude a far-sighted agreement for the sale of FREMM frigates. For the two governments, it is a question of discussing means of rebalancing a qualified alliance with France. Italy maintains very strong bonds historically with Brazil, taking into account in particular the presence of an important Italian community in the south of the country. President Lula and Prime-Minister Berlusconi would thus benefit from a forthcoming meeting to conclude the purchase in Italy of 10 ships intended for the Brazilian navy: FREMM frigates, patrol craft and a multi-use support ship.
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