FTI Frégate de Taille Intermédiaire]
The Frégate de Taille Intermédiaire [FTI – Intermediate Frigate] was to supplement FREMM Frigates (Aquitaine Class) currently on order for the French Navy and Horizon Destroyers. France had not yet been present on this segment medium (4,000 tons), halfway between the Gowind corvettes (2,500 tons) and the FREMM (6,000 tons) multi-mission frigates. It was hoped that this vessel of 4,000 tons will be more attractive to exports than the FREMM (6,000 tons). The prime contractors on the new Frigates is DCNS with Thales supplying CAPTAS-4 Compact sonar array, SEA Fire Radar, Sentinel Electronic Warfare System and Aquilion Integrated Naval Communication System.
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, the original order for 11 Aquitaine Class Frigates was reduced down to 8, with orders transferred to cheaper FTI Frigates. Current French Naval Strategy calls for 2 Horizon Class Destroyers, 8 Aquitaine Class Frigates, 5 FTI Frigates with 6 Floeral Frigates and 5 La Fayette Class Frigates set to act as 2nd Rank combatants. Giving French Navy a total of 26 surface combatants, excluding OPVs, significantly more than Royal Navy, currently largest western European naval force. TFI Frigates will replace some La Fayette Frigates currently in service when they enter service in early 2020s. However, Floreal Class which are also coming to their end of service life will need replacing. FTI might also replace Floreal Class as well.
On the occasion of the 2016 Euronaval fair, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced that the Intermediate Size Frigate (FTI) program will be launched from the first quarter of 2017. "I decided to launch the FTI program from the beginning of 2017. The realization will start next year," explained Jean-Yves Le Drian by unveiling the ship's model at the Euronaval show in Le Bourget (Seine-Saint-Denis). "This will allow France to maintain its fleet of 15 first-class frigates," he said, stressing "the need to renew (buildings) heavily used in operations." Five Frigates of Intermediate Size should be ordered, for an amount estimated between 3.5 and 4 billion euros in total (including development costs). And this meant reducing the number of multi-mission frigates (FREMMs) expected by the French Navy from 11 to 8.
This contract would have a positive impact on several hundred jobs at Thales industrial sites. The SEA FIRE radar is developed and integrated on the Rouen and Limours sites; compact CAPTAS-4 sonar is produced in Brest and Sophia-Antipolis; the engineering of the Aquilon communications system is carried out in Gennevilliers; the SENTINEL electronic warfare system is produced at the Cholet and Brest sites. The Laval and Brive-La-Gaillarde sites were involved respectively in the identification of friend-foe (IFF) and the development of naval V / UHF radios.
Five TFI Frigates were set to cost €3.8 billion or €760 million per unit. First ship was set to be delivered in 2023 with further 4 being delivered by 2028. The first of the five frigates of this program led by the Directorate General of Armament (DGA) will be delivered in 2023 for an entry into active service in 2025.
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