Forbin D620 is the sixth vessel of the French Navy named after the 17th century admiral Claude Forbin-Gardanne.

Introduce

France is one of the great powers in military science and technology. Many powerful military powers like Russia also have to be outdone in some areas of weapons production, especially French shipbuilding capabilities. With over 86 warships of all kinds and a constantly expanding naval scale, France is ranked as the country with the most powerful naval potential in Europe, even surpassed the British Royal Navy. Their ships have excellent performance, Horizon-class frigate is one of them. Currently, the French Navy owns only two Horizon-class frigates, Forbin and Chevalier Paul, of which Forbin with the hull number D620 is lead ship.

The Horizon-class frigate project originated from the Common New Generation Frigate project under the cooperation of three countries, France, Italy and the United Kingdom since the 1990s. However, due to differences in military doctrine, Britain withdrew from the project in 1999, after which they developed their own Type 45 Daring.

Only France and Italy were left, not discouraged and determined to complete this project. In 2005, the first Horizon-class frigate, Forbin, was launched and a year later was commissioned for the French Navy.

Horizon is the name that France calls this frigate class, while the Italians call it Orizzonte. In total, the project cost France 1.08 billion euros equivalent to about 1.25 billion dollars, while the cost of Italy was 1.5 billion Euros equivalent to 1.87 billion dollars. Initially, the two countries planned to build eight frigates of this type, but due to financial difficulties, only four were completed, equally divided for both countries.

Unlike the American Aegis or Sachsen air defense destroyers, all of Horizon’s electronic systems and weapons are manufactured in Europe.

Forbin D620 Frigate
Forbin D620 Frigate

Design

Forbin D620 is the sixth vessel of the French Navy named after the 17th century admiral Claude Forbin-Gardanne. Forbin has a full load displacement of 7,050 tons with a length of 152.9m, a beam of 20.3m and draft of 7.6m.

The ship is configured for rapid deployment and extended range and endurance and can carry sufficient fuel, water and stores for an endurance of 45 days at sea between replenishments. In terms of the size and powerful weapons of the ship, the Forbin is clearly a destroyer. She is called a frigate purely for political reasons.

The ship was designed to be as little detectable by radar as possible, by using stealth technology for the hull and superstructure. Sea-keeping in unfavorable weather conditions is granted by two pairs of stabilizers. T

he acoustic signature was also reduced with an appropriate choice of machinery and engineering solutions and verifying the intensity of the radiated noise, since the design phase. Equal attention has been directed in the infrared signature branch, by lowering the temperature of engine gases through coaxial exhausts.

Propulsion

The ship’s propulsion system is configured in a combined diesel or gas arrangement with two GE LM2500 gas turbines with a capacity of 31,280 horsepower each and two SEMT Pielstick diesel engines rated at 5,875 horsepower each. The engines drive two shafts with constant-pitch propellers.

The ship’s complement consists of 230 staff including Security and Flight teams, it can house up to 255 personnel.

The ship can reach a maximum speed of 29 knots, a range of 3,500 nautical miles at 25 knots and up to 7,000 nautical miles if running at 18 knots.

Sensor and Electronic systems

The main radar is the EMPAR phased array multi-purpose radar operating at G-band, it is arranged at the top of the forward mast in a large round radome. It counters different threats such as high diving and sea skimming missiles, aircraft and helicopters and any kind of vessels. The maximum range of the radar is about 150km.

There is also Thales S1850M air and surface search radar, operating at D-band is mounted at the top of the aft mast. The Selex RASS surface search radar, covering E and F bands, is mounted on the forward face of the mast.

The Selex SPN753 navigation radar operates at I-band from 8GHz to 10GHz.

The ship is also equipped with the hull-mounted TMS 4110CL sonar which operates at medium frequency in active search and attack mode. This is a high performance sonar that provides effective anti-submarine capability together with self-protection against torpedo threats and underwater obstacles.

The electronic warfare suite is 2 Radar Jammers, 2 Oto Melara SCLAR-H decoys launcher system for chaff and flares. The radar electronic support measures component features very high sensitivity, very high accuracy direction finding and broadband digital receivers. The vessle is also equipped with a SLAT torpedo defence system.

Armament

The ship’s armament consisted of two OTO Melara 76 mm Super Rapid guns are installed as a pair on the foredeck immediately forward of the bridge. Also there are three 20 mm Narwhal remotely-operated guns for engaging small surface targets, are installed at the rear of the superstructure.

The close-in weapon system is provided by a SADRAL launcher with six Mistral short-range surface-to-air missiles. The frigate is armed with 2 twin launchers for Eurotorp MU90 lightweight torpedoes. MU90 has a directed energy warhead and a range of 12,000m at maximum speed, and 25,000m at minimum speed.

The Forbin is fitted with a 48-cell Vertical Launch System for a mix of Aster-15 short range and Aster-30 medium range surface-to-air missiles. This system is installed immediately forward of the two guns towards the bow deck.

Anti-ship capability comes from two quadruple launchers for the Exocet MM40 surface-to-surface missile, which has a range of up to 180 km.

Helicopter

The French frigate is designed with a helicopter deck and a hangar with full service for a single helicopter, it could be AgustaWestland AW101 or NHIndustries NH90. This helicopter can be used for long-range anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, utility and other roles.

Conclusion

Overall, the French Forbin is a capable frigate, focusing primarily on air defense. Her main task is to protect the French aircraft carriers, capital ships or civilian ships from supersonic missile attacks. She is also capable of monitoring and controlling operations carried out from the sea by friendly aircraft.

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