D650 Aquitaine is designed for anti-submarine warfare, she is equipped with Thales UMS 4249 CAPTAS4 towed sonar.

Introduce

With over 86 warships of all kinds, along with an ever-expanding navy, France is ranked as the country with the strongest naval potential in Europe, even surpassed the Royal Navy. Among the existing French Navy warships, the Aquitaine-class multi-purpose warships are considered to be the backbone of the future French Navy.

The Aquitaine-class frigate is part of the FREMM multi-purpose frigate program developed between France and Italy. Among them, the Aquitaine-class was built for the French Navy and Bergamini-class for the Italian Navy.

The French warships are designed with stealth, powerful firepower, and are one of the few warships in the world capable of operating at distances of over 1,000 km. France has ordered 8 of these ships to date, with the D650 Aquitaine as the lead ship, which was commissioned in 2012.

Aquitaine D650
Aquitaine D650

Aquitaine Design

The French frigate was designed with a characteristic superstructure, the front mast containing the main radar looks very majestic. The bridge allows operators to manage and control all platform systems, as well as to monitor safety and security and to coordinate other operations.

The frigate’s layout has been designed to provide sufficient size for operational effectiveness, maintainability and sustained upgrades. The layout incorporates increased headroom between decks, deeper and longer engine compartments and larger equipment pathways for access and maintenance.

Compared to the Italian frigates, the French Aquitaine has smaller displacement, 6000 tons compared to 6900 tons of the Bergamini class. Other parameters include: a length of 142m, a beam of 19.8m and a draft of 4.9m.

For quayside maintenance, the frigate is fitted with an aft side door for loading and unloading equipment, load handling equipment and a wide lower deck passage way. Consoles on the integrated bridge are for all main platform functions, including navigation, steering and communications.

D650 Aquitaine and her sisters are rated as powerful as advanced destroyers, though they are only classified as frigates, they are being called so for political reasons. Not only the most modern European multi-purpose frigate, but also around the world, the Aquitaine has a hydrodynamic design with high stealth capabilities, most weapons and radar systems are arranged inside to increase stealth capabilities.

Radar and sensor of Aquitaine

As the new generation French frigate, Aquitaine is equipped with the most advanced equipment, the ship’s main sensor is the Thales Herakles radar. Herakles is a passive electronically scanned array multi-function radar manufactured by Thales Group. It has a track capacity of 400 air and surface targets and is able to achieve automatic target detection, confirmation and track initiation in a single scan, while simultaneously providing mid-course guidance updates to the MBDA Aster missiles launched from the ship, effective range up to 250 km.

D650 Aquitaine is designed for anti-submarine warfare, she is equipped with Thales UMS 4249 CAPTAS4 towed sonar. According to the manufacturer, this sonar has a great ability to detect in all environmental conditions, the ability to operate automatically helps reduce the operator’s workload.

The Aquitaine’s anti-submarine capability is also supported by Thales UMS 4110 CL hull sonar and the French anti-submarine NH90 helicopter. There is a hangar and a landing deck for a single helicopter at the stern.

The ship’s Nato standard external communications include Link 11, Link 16, Link 22 and JSAT tactical data links, allowing full interoperability with Nato forces. Internal communications include messaging, conventional and wireless telephony, public address, closed-circuit television, as well as internet and intranet ports.

Aquitaine 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.

Aquitaine Armament

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 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 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.

Aquitaine Propulsion

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.

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