LAST UPDATE: June 6, 2012
SPECIFICATIONS PHOTOGRAPHS (Click on the pictures for an enlarged photo)

Designation: FFG
Length: 502 ft (153m)
Beam: 66 ft (20m)
Draft: 17 ft (5m)
Displace (Full Load): 6,800 tons
Propulsion: 2 GE LM2500, CODAG, two shafts
Speed: 29 knots
Range: 7,000 nautical miles (18 knots)
Crew: 206
Helicopter(s): 1 Merlin EH101 HAS
- Thales / Selex S1850M
- TMS 4110CL Sonar
- 48 cell Sylver VLS Aster 15, 30
- 1 X 6 cell SADRAL CIWS
- 8 X Exocet MM40 SSM
- 2 X 76mm DP Gun
- 2 X 25mm guns
- 4 X Mu 90 Torpedoes
Ships in class: 2 (+4)
D620 Forbin
D621 Chevalier Paul
In the late 1990s the major Euopean powerrs of France, Italy, and Britain identified a need for an escort to protect naval task forces or merchant shipping. The main missions would be to provide local area or extended cover against saturation missile attacks against these nation's aircraft carriers. A consortium was formed and the general name of Horizon was given to the development project. The UK government withdrew from the program in 1999, but France and Italy signed a new agreement in September 2000 continuing joint development of the vessel.

Ultimately, France and Italy each ordered two of the vessels in October 2000. The frigates are being built by a joint venture between Armaris (Thales and DCN) of France and Orrizonte Sistemi Navali of Italy.

The frigates depend on the Principle Anti Air Missile System (PAAMS) a consortium development between France, Italy, and Britain. This system uses an Active Phased Array Radar (APAR) system that is digitally controlled for the acquisition and tracking of targets and integrated into all fire control systems on the vessel. It is the European equivalent of the American AEGIS system. The frigates are true multi-role vessels with strong anti-submarine and anti-surface capabilities in addition to their very strong anti-air defenses. The weapons fit on the French vessels include French Exocet Missiles and the French SADRAL CIWS with six missiles.

The first French vessel, Forbin, was launched in March 2005. It began combat system sea trials in January 2006. The second French vessel, Chevalier Paul, was launched in July 2006.

These new French frigates will replace the Suffren and Duquesnes frigates as they are commissioned into service, providing much stronger and wider air, sub-surface, and surface coverage for the high value assets they protect.

Jeff Head is a member of the US Naval Insitute who has many years experience in the power, defense, and computer industries. He currently works for the federal government helping maintain regional infrastructure. He is the author of a self-published military techno-thriller called, "Dragon's Fury," that projects a fictional third world war arising out of current events. Learn more about that series by clicking on the picture of the novel cover below:

DRAGON'S FURY-World War against America and the West

Copyright © 2005-2012 by Jeff Head


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