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Second French FREMM air-defence frigate starts sea trials

FREMM DA Lorraine, the eighth and final FREMM multimission frigate on order for the French Navy, starts its first sea trials. (Naval Group)

The second of two Aquitaine-class FREMM multimission frigates enhanced with air-defence capabilities on order for the French Navy has started sea trials off the coast of Brittany.

Lorraine is the eighth and final FREMM frigate being built by Naval Group for the French Navy and the second of two to be built to a modified FREMM DA (défense aérienne) standard.

The first six ships in the programme delivered by Naval Group from 2012 to 2019 were built as anti-submarine warfare (ASW) variants. Alsace, the first FREMM DA to be built, was delivered in April 2021. Lorraine was launched in November 2020 and is expected to be delivered by the end of 2022.

The FREMM DA frigates retain the core ASW sensor fit of the first six vessels, including the UMS 4110 CL hull-mounted sonar and Combined Active Passive Towed Array Sonar (CAPTAS)-4 low-frequency active and passive variable depth sonar.

Notable changes for their enhanced air-defence role include the addition of four eight-cell Sylver A50 vertical launch systems in place of the A43/A70 short/long mix found on the ASW variants to accommodate up to 32 Aster 15/30 anti-air missiles, an extended-range variant of the Thales Herakles E/F-band multifunction radar, and Naval Group's SETIS combat management system equipped with specific air-defence functions. Lorraine is also the first FREMM DA to be fitted with a Thales Nederland STIR 1.2 EO Mk 2 radar/electro-optical tracker, and this is planned to be retrofitted to Alsace in due course.

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