France’s Aquitaine class is designed with stealth capability and powerful firepower, one of the few warships in the world capable of operating at a range of over 1,000 km.
The Aquitaine-class frigate is part of the FREMM multi-purpose destroyer program, developed between France and Italy. In particular, Aquitaine class manufactured for the French Navy and Carlo Bergamini for the Italian Navy.
The flagship Aquitaine has a hydrodynamic design with high stealth capabilities. France was one of the first countries to adopt stealth technology in its construction. Most weapons systems, radars are arranged inside to increase the stealth ability.
The ship’s main sensor is the Thales Herakles Active Electronically Scanned Array radar (AESA). The radar has a reconnaissance range of 250 km with aerial targets, 80 km with surface targets.
The most powerful weapon on board is 16 cells MBDA SYLVER A70 VLS for MBDA SCALP Naval cruise missile with a range up to 1000 km or Aster 30 anti air missile. Other weapons include 8 anti-ship MM40 Exocet anti-ship missiles with a range of 200 km. The vertical launch system uses an Aster-15 air defense missile with a range of 30 km, A total of 16 missiles are carried.
The ship is armed with a single OTO Melara Super Rapid 76 mm dual-purpose gun. The gun has a rate of fire of up to 120 rounds per minute, effective range of 15 km, effective against surface ships, air targets and bombard land targets. Also there are three 20mm cannons to engage close-in surface threats.
The two sides of the ship are arranged with two twin 324mm tubes for EUROTORP MU90 lightweight torpedoes to destroy submarines or surface warships.
The ship is equipped with state-of-the-art marine electronics with high automation. In particular, the SETIS combat system is designed to deal effectively with many different threats.
The stern has a flight deck and hangar for NH-90 anti-submarine helicopters. The vessel has a length of 142 m, a beam of 20 m, a draft of 5 m, displacement of 6,000 tons.
The propulsion system of the ship is equipped combined diesel-electric or gas system with two shafts driving fixed-pitch propellers. This propulsion system is rated to run very quiet, reducing the likelihood of being detected by enemy submarines. Maximum speed of 27 knots, maximum cruise speed can reach 15.6 knots, the operating range is up to 6000 nautical miles at 15 knots. The ship can hold 108 officers and crew.
The French navy plans to build eight Aquitaine-class frigates. The first one was put into service in 2012, the last one is expected in 2022. These 8 frigates will form the backbone of the French naval combat power in the near future.