Surface Forces: FREMM Battered By Nasty Fiscal Weather


June 11, 2015: French has decided to cut its orders for FREMM (Frégate Européen Multi-Mission) Frigates from eleven to eight. In 2008 the original order for 18 was cut to 11. In both cases the cuts were made because the Defense budget had been reduced and something had to go. Meanwhile France has decided to buy five new FTI frigates (Frégate de Taille Intermédiaire), but these will not begin to arrive until 2023. It was also announced that one FREMM built for France is instead going to an export customer (Egypt). France is expected to have six FREMMs by 2019 and the final two by 2022. 

France held sea trials of its first FREMM frigate, the Aquitaine, in 2011. FREMM is a joint France-Italy project. As of 2011 seven FREMMs were under construction. Italy ordered ten FREMMs, Morocco one and Egypt two.  Greece ordered six but because of tie 2008 financial crises this has been reduced to long-term lease of two FREMMs. Each FREMM frigate costs about a billion dollars.

The 6,000 ton FREMMs are 142 meters (440 feet) long. Top speed is 50 kilometers an hour and range is 11,000 kilometers. The ships are highly automated, with a crew of only 108 sailors. Equipment and weapons varies a bit as each nation prefers to arm the vessels with locally produced stuff. But typical armament is half a dozen Mu-90 torpedoes, eight Otomat Mk2A anti-ship missiles (for Italian FREMMs) or The French FREMMs use Exocet MM40 anti-ship missiles. All FREMMs use Aster 15 and 30 anti-aircraft missiles (max range 30 kilometers for model 15 and 100 kilometers for model 30). There are two 25mm autocannon and two EH101 helicopters. The Italian FREMMs are equipped with towed sonar, so that they can specialize in anti-submarine operations. France also plans to produce two or more FREMM that are optimized for air defense. France also plans equip its FREMMs so that some of the Aster missiles can be replaced with Scalp cruise missiles (range over 1,000 kilometers).

All FREMMs have the Eurotorp MU 90 Impact torpedo. MU 90 has a directed energy warhead and a range of 12 kilometers at maximum speed and 25 kilometers at minimum speed.  French FREMMs use one OTO Melara 76mm Super Rapid gun while Italian FREMMs have two OTO Melara 127mm (Vulcano system) + 76mm with guided ammunition.

FTI is a more recent design. This is a 4,000 ton multi-role frigate. FTI could be an evolution of the FM400 halted project for a 3,500 to 4,500 tons modular frigate from early 2000s. ---  Przemys&&22;aw Juraszek




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