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Naval Group completes La Fayette frigate modernisation programme

The La Fayette modernisation programme will extend the frigates' service lives out to around 2030. (Naval Group)

Naval Group has officially concluded the French Navy's La Fayette-class frigate (Frégates de type La Fayette: FLF) modernisation programme following redelivery of the third and final refurbished frigate to the fleet.

Announcing the milestone on 12 February Naval Group said that FS Aconit (F 713) was redelivered to the French Navy after completing a six-month refit followed by a series of dockside and sea trials.

Naval Group was awarded a contract worth around EUR400 million (USD465 million) in 2017 to carry out the modernisation of three of the French Navy's five La Fayette-class frigates, with the aim of extending their service lives to around 2030.

The scope of work – carried out on FS Courbet (F 712), FS La Fayette (F 710), and FS Aconit (F 713) – has included platform upgrades, replacement of the original Thales TAVITAC combat management system (CMS) with a scaled version of the SENIT 8 CMS, the implementation of Link 22, replacement of the Thales Crotale Naval CN2 point defence missile system with two reconditioned MBDA Sadral sextuple launchers (armed with Mistral infrared-guided very-short-range surface-to-air missiles), installation of MBDA's Exocet MM40 Block 3C anti-ship missiles, and installation of the Thales Kingklip Mk 2 hull-mounted medium-frequency sonar and Naval Group CANTO torpedo countermeasures – providing the frigates with anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities for the first time.

Work on Courbet was carried out from September 2020 to September 2021; the second ship ( La Fayette ) was modernised from October 2021 to mid-2022; and work on the final ship ( Aconit ) was carried out from February 2023.

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