The French Navy is planning to build a new class of frigates, identified as the Amiral Ronarc’h class, also known as FDI frigates.

The Amiral Ronarc’h class will include 5 frigates. The first ship, the Amiral Ronarc’h, was laid down on 17 December 2021, and is expected to be commissioned in 2024.

These ships will replace the La Fayette class frigates, and will provide the service with a compact intermediate-sized multimission frigate to augment its two Horizon anti-air warfare frigates and the eight Aquitaine-class vessels. This is a class with a moderate size, which will better meet the needs of the export market and can also maintain the development and production capacity of French shipyards.

Amiral Ronarc’h
Amiral Ronarc’h

Amiral Ronarc’h will have a displacement of about 4,460 tons, a length of 122 m and a beam of 17.7 m. The Propulsion will be a Combined diesel and diesel arrangement with a total capacity of 43,000 horsepower. The maximum speed can be up to 27 knots, the operating range reaches 5,000 nmi.

The main gun will be an Oto Melara 76 mm Super Rapid gun mounted in stealth cupola, in addition to 2 × 20 mm remotely operated guns. Anti-ship weapons are eight Exocet MM-40 Block 3 missiles. To counter air threats, there are 16 Sylver A50 vertical launch cells for MBDA Aster 15/30 surface-to-air missiles. Anti-submarine weapons will be 2 × dual torpedo tubes with EuroTorp MU90 Impact torpedoes.

The ships will be equipped with avionics and sensors developed by Thales. The SEA FIRE all-digital multi-function radar with four fixed antennas, which will meet the requirements of a broad range of missions, from ship self-defence to extended air defence.

In order to speed up manufacturing and meet the tight handover deadline, the ship’s mast with its radars, cameras, and battle system, will be manufactured separately from the rest of the vessel and then mounted onto the almost-finished hull. The Sea Fire multifunction 4 fixed panel radar, the digital RESM (radar electronic support measure) and the CESM (communications electronic support measure), the 360-degree observation and surveillance system and the new version of Naval Group’s SETIS combat system can all be tested and integrated into the mast long before the hull itself is finished. Admiral Ronarc’h is the first ship to be equipped with this new SETIS system.

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