The Georges Leygues class once considered the backbone of the French Navy, now has only one active ship, the Latouche-Treville D-646.
The Georges Leygues class, also known as the Type C70 or Type F70, is a class of anti-submarine destroyers of the French Navy. The design was initially officially known as a “corvette” with the designation C70, but were internationally labelled an “anti-submarine destroyer” (hence the “D” in the hull numbers). Subsequently, the French referred to the ships as “frigates” with the designation F70.
The ships were built between 1974 and 1988. They are multi-role ships due to their Exocet and Crotale missile armament, making them especially suitable for the defence of strategic positions, show of force operations, or as high seas escorts. The ships have a full load displacement of about 4,500 tons, a length of 139 m, a beam of 14 m, and a draft of 5.7 m.
Propulsion system is Combined diesel or gas, consisting of two Rolls-Royce Olympus TM3B gas turbines, with 26,000 hp each. There are also two SEMT Pielstick 16PA6-V280 diesel engines, with 5,200 hp each. The ship can reach a maximum speed of 30 knots, a range of 7,400 nmi, with a crew of 235 men.
For their primary mission of engaging submarines, the Georges Leygues carry a comprehensive sonar fit and are armed with L5 anti-submarine torpedoes launched from two fixed tubes. With active/passive homing, these have a range of only 9 km which is uncomfortably close enough to raise concerns regarding fratricide. The ships carry two Lynx Mk.4 helicopters armed with Mk.46 or Mu 90 anti-submarine torpedoes, except Georges Leygues which carries no helicopters, its hangar being converted for training. The helicopters track and monitor submarine contacts.
In addition to its sturdy construction, this class of anti-submarine frigates was also specially built to withstand harsh weather conditions, it can navigate during heavy storms with unmatched stability.