France upgrades La Fayette-class frigates

by Nicholas Fiorenza

The DGA received the first upgraded FLF, Courbet, on 13 September. (Ministère des Armées)

Upgrade work on the first-of-class Frégate de type La Fayette (FLF) La Fayette-class frigate began on 4 October, the Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA), the French defence procurement agency, announced on its website on 15 October.

Three of the French Navy's five FLFs are being upgraded: Courbet, La Fayette, and Aconit. The DGA received the first upgraded FLF frigate, Courbet, on 13 September after the ship completed sea trials. The trials took place in the Mediterranean beginning in mid-June after Courbet underwent a nine-month refit. The agency expects the third upgraded FLF, Aconit, to be delivered in 2023.

The EUR400 million (USD465 million) upgrade includes the installation of a KingKlip Mk 2 hull-mounted sonar to provide the three FLFs anti-submarine warfare capabilities. Workalso involves upgrading the frigates' combat systems and optronic surveillance capabilities, as well as reinforcing their structure and stability. The Crotale CN2 point defence missile system is being replaced by two reconditioned Sadral sextruple launchers armed with Mistral infrared-guided very-short-range surface-to-air missiles.

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Russia unveils naval doctrine amid Navy Day celebrations

by Prathamesh Karle & Manash Pratim Boruah

The Russian Navy's Project 22350 frigate Admiral Gorshkov is set to be the first vessel to be equipped with the 3M-22 Tsirkon hypersonic missile in the coming months. (Michael Nitz/Naval Press Service)

Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a new naval doctrine on 31 July that offers a glimpse of Russia's global maritime ambitions.

The doctrine, which was unveiled during Russia's annual Navy Day celebrations, replaces the Maritime Doctrine of the Russian Federation (2015) .

It reiterates Russia's stance on advancement of NATO's military infrastructure close to Russian borders. In addition, the doctrine lists increasing NATO exercises in waters adjacent to Russia, attempts to weaken Russia's control over the Northern Sea Route, and the buildup of foreign naval forces in the Arctic as some of the main challenges and threats to Russia's national security.

The doctrine also acknowledges shortcomings that pose a risk to Russia's maritime activities, including the lack of overseas outposts for Russian naval vessels, and a small share of the Russian merchant fleet for international transportation.

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Japan, US deploy assets near Taiwan amid Chinese military buildup

by Ridzwan Rahmat

An E-2D Hawkeye launches from USS Ronald Reagan on 2 August in the Philippine Sea. (US Navy)

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the US Navy (USN) have deployed several military assets in the Philippine Sea near Taiwan amid the recent build-up of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) forces around the island.

The deployments include the flagship of the USN's Carrier Strike Group 5, USS Ronald Reagan , and the JMSDF's Murasame-class destroyer, JS Yudachi .

The JMSDF has also deployed an unspecified number of P-3C maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) to monitor the movement of a PLA Navy (PLAN) Jiangdao (Type 056/056A)-class corvette, Xiaogan (615), that was said to be in close proximity of Japanese maritime territories near Taiwan.

The PLA announced on 2 August that it would be conducting an expansive series of military drills around Taiwan. The announcement came after a highly controversial visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her delegation to the island, which Beijing views as a violation of its sovereignty.

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Dutch MoD deploys newly leased RoRo ship for first time

by Kate Tringham

The Dutch MoD's newly leased RoRo ship, New Amsterdam , is readied for its first deployment to Lithuania on 25 July. (Dutch MoD)

The Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) has officially put into service its newly leased medium Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) ship, named New Amsterdam.

The ship, which will be operated by the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) and used to secure strategic sea transport on a permanent basis, departed Eemshaven, bound for the port of Klaipeda in Lithuania, on 25 July, the MoD said in a statement. The ship was loaded with Dutch soldiers participating in NATO's enhanced forward presence (eFP) battalion as well as containers of supplies for the next rotation of the eFP, it said.

New Amsterdam is being leased for ten years from TransProCon, part of the Swedish Orient Line, under a contract signed on 14 January 2022.

The MoD had previously opted to rent RoRo ships on an ad hoc basis. However, an increasing scarcity of such ships on the market since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic led to the decision to lease a ship on a longer-term basis to reduce uncertainty.

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Upgrade work on the first-of-class Frégate de type La Fayette (FLF) La Fayette-class frigate began o...

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