replacements for the Cassard and Jean Bart, a pair of destroyers first commissioned in 1988 and 1991.
The two Forbin-class destroyers that will be purchased, are replacing the Suffren-class destroyers. The Suffren-class destroyers displaced 5,335 tons, had a top speed of 63 kilometers per hour. They were equipped with the Masurca surface-to-air missile, which is a Mach 3 missile with a range of 55.5 kilometers. The Suffrens also carried six Exocet anti-ship missiles, two 100-millimeter guns, and a launcher for the Malafon anti-submarine missile.
The Jean Bart and Cassard displace 3900 tons and have a top speed of 55 kilometers. These ships have a single launcher for the SM-1 surface-to-air missile, eight Exocet anti-ship missiles, one 100-millimeter gun, and two Sadral launchers for the Mistral surface-to-air missile. These ships are anywhere from 14 to 17 years old at present, and replacements are not an urgent matter as they are for the Suffren-class destroyers.
The Forbin-class destroyers will displace 5600 tons, will have a vertical-launch system carrying 48 ASTER-15 or ASTER-30 missiles. The ASTER-15 has a range of 20 kilometers, while the ASTER-30 has a range of 70 kilometers. The Forbin-class destroyers will also carry two 76-millimeter guns, two six-round Sadral launchers, and eight Exocet anti-ship missiles. These ships have cost about $900 million each.
France is not going to stand pat with just two Forbin-class destroyers. One thing being looked into is a plan to purchase two additional European Multi-Mission Frigates (known as FREEM). These ships also displace 5600 tons, but will only cost $320 million each due to the fact that current plans call for the purchase of 17 ships (eight ASW variants and nine land-attack variants) to replace the Tourville and Georges Leyuges-class destroyers. French plans for this frigate already include the ASTER-15 missile and a 127-millimeter gun. France will have a modern force of destroyers, one of the best in the world. - Harold C. Hutchison (firstname.lastname@example.org)
France has decided to not build a second pair of Forbin-class destroyers. These are the French variant of the Franco-Italian Horizon class. This is the second time the two destroyers have been cancelled (the first time was in 1996). This leaves France without