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This week, French defence giant DCNS delivered the FREMM multi-mission frigate Auvergne to the French Navy.

Nicolas Gaspard, director of the FREMM programme at DCNS said:

“The delivery of the FREMM Auvergne represents an opportunity to applaud the industrial and technological prowess of DCNS and its subcontractors.

The frigate Auvergne illustrates our capacity to produce and deliver on time a series of front-line combat vessels to satisfy the needs of our client navies.”

Overview of the FREMM programme

• Aquitaine, first in the series, delivered in 2012
• Mohammed VI, delivered to the Royal Moroccan Navy in 2014
• Provence delivered in June 2015
• Tahya Misr, delivered to the Egyptian Navy in June 2015
• Languedoc delivered on 16 March 2016
• Auvergne, delivered today
• Bretagne and Normandie, to be delivered in 2018 and 2019
• Alsace and Lorraine with strengthened anti-aircraft capacities to be delivered in 2021 and 2022

DCNS is currently completing the FREMM Bretagne, which was floated in September 2016.

22 COMMENTS

  1. This is interesting for a couple of reasons.

    1: The French commit to a production schedule and get assets at a decent price.
    2. They are happy to sell mid production ships and the customer does not have to wait.
    3. The French have a clear export strategy and it seems to work.

    Maybe something for the uk to consider.

  2. It will be interesting to see how these compare with the type 26’s, both in capability and cost, but we won’t know that for a long time.

    The FREMM seem to be about the same size as the type 26’s, with the 26 having design for more silos but costing more, although this is just paper, who knows what the 26’s will actually be armed with or how much extra it will cost.

    • Steve

      The Fremm is the French version of the T45 having been developed as part of the same programme. It is an exceptionally capable vessel and probably better than the T45 at it is equipped with a side range of offensive and defensive systems. This is what the T45 should have been and is a very cost effective product.

      • Wrong comparison Pacman.

        The Type 45 is analogous to the ‘Horizon’ class air defence frigates, France & Italy have two of these each.
        The UK split from the consortium and so the T45 was born, but they share the same radar & Aster missiles.

        FREMM is something different.

  3. Does make you think. By cutting the type 26 order to just 8 vessels the government have hardly given a ringing endorsement to the type 26. Going to be difficult to get export orders for a ship design that our own government are prepared to order in the numbers needed to bring back a polyvalent unit to the RN.
    seem to be making same mistakes as the type 45 programme all over again.
    oh well i keep hoping something will change before there is a massive disaster and our armed forces are slaughtered by a better equipped and funded opponent. Maybe the type 31 design will go better…. .

  4. Inevitable to compare FREMM with T26, but the T26 would be bigger, a bit more specced including the decoy system. It’s annoying but the T26 should be worth waiting for.

    But in comparison, the FREMM has a ready market, the T26 more difficult – who will pay for quality, and who for quantity? And who will wait?

  5. It’s the bit more specced part that probably answers the question. Because of the stupid decision to cut the numbers, yet again, the unit cost will increase massively to cover the fixed costs of the design etc and so the question will be who will pay for a ship that costs massively more but has marginally more capability. If the 26 was significantly more powerful then value for money could kick in. Already there are more FREMM’s in service than there will likely be t26’s and so i suspect their unit cost is already dropping a little.

    • We can’t know for sure until T26 actually gets built but on paper I would say that your phrase “significantly more powerful” is probably a closer to how the T26 will compare to FREMM than “a bit more specced”. As long as T26 doesn’t end up being built with half of it claws and teeth pulled, i.e. lots of “fitted for but not with” weapons systems as in MK41 (or rather the lack of it) on T45, then I concur with dadsarmy; it should be worth waiting for.

      One lesson that I hope we pick up from FREMM is how they are planning to build the final two as AAW-optimised variants. If we’re investing all this design effort in a very big, spacious and quiet military-grade hull with world-wide reach and good seakeeping capabilities (i.e. everything one needs from a hull) that would seem a good starting point for T45 replacement. Then again, with the speed we do everything, by the time we get there technology might have overtaken us and the next generation AAW vessels might look more like oil tankers needing that much space to pack in enormous amounts of energy storage devices to feed a few deck-mounted lasers.

  6. HMG need to reverse the decision in the ill thought through SDSR 2015 and admit post Brexit that there is a new security review needed. 14 type 26s needed now/ urgently.
    Buy them in large numbers and unit price should drop down.
    Take £3 billion off foreign aid budget to pay for 6 more type 26s.
    Interestingly even the pencil necks at the NAO are critical of the MOD stating that Royal navy force levels are so low that most of the available fleet will be used up guarding HMS QE as part of her carrier strike group. Thus we simply need to get on and build more ships and submarines now.

  7. MoD has plenty to answer for but the real villains of the piece are Gordon Brown, George Osbourne & now Philip Hammond.

    • The reasons the politicians of all parties starve the military is because it’s an issue that most of the electorate have quite low down on their priorities and so is a place where corners can be cut without undue risk of lost votes. A war changes that equation dramatically, i.e. Thatcher was looking likely to lose power if it hadn’t been for the Falklands, but in general the public don’t know much about our military capabilities and actually fall for the sound bites most of us here deride such as £178bn (or is it £173bn?) equipment budget.

      A vast percentage of the population though only focuses its attention on things that it sees in the media so maybe the real villians in this piece are the mainstream media who do very little in-depth analysis, run very few headline stories on capability gaps, and the few defence stories that they do run are often woefully inaccurate and clearly written by journalists who know next to nothing about their subject matter.

      Rant over!!!

      • Mostly agree Julian, although I would say media complicit and or equally ignorant. IMHO decision makers have to be accountable for their decisions, not those who report.

  8. Guys

    The FREMM is a fantastic vessel and better than anything we have. The T26 is a similar size to the T45 and for me is the logical replacement long term. What we do need is to order 13 over 25 years (allied to 25 T31 over same period) and get the cost down to £750m or less per ship. All doable but as discussed on the ocean thread this will need to be at the expense of the OPV’s and minehunters when they become end of life.

    We could just use the same hull for the T31 and reduce the aft as I am not sure why any frigate needs to be able to land a chinook on it.

    As for the £178bn – I have been looking at the MOD budget and it would seem actual equipment is £4bn p.a. Or 40bn over 10 years, the rest is support and facilities, so actually the truth is less than 25% is being spent on new equipment and the remainder is on outsource contracts and the like.

    I dont agree with outsourcing the military, but there you go..

    Sourced from SDRS15 and NAO documentation.

  9. The 178b number includes a lot of stuff that has already been accounted for / in the pipeline, its a bit of figure fudging to take credit of something already done by the previous government. Effectively put yourself at the time of the SDSR2015 and look at everything that was promised but not yet delivered and include it.

    So to start with, looking at the Navy,

    2 carriers
    48 ish F35b’s
    8 type 26
    5 type 31
    4 tides
    3-4 Astute, depending if you count artful
    4 Dreadnought
    5 river batch 2
    Crowsnest

    Which is a lot of hardware, but its mainly replacing what is going out of service.

    • Steve, not sure this is correct as the £178bn is supposedly a 10 year figure and we are unlikely to get 4 dreadnoughts in this figure. It does however pose a great example of costing, as dreadnought is often quoted at 30-40bn, but I am sure the subs themselves will probably cost £2-3bn each dependant upon how much tech transfer there is from the astute class. Likewise, are we going to have 13 T’s in the next 10 years, again unlikely, but this shows how misleading the govt is about this.

      Unfortunately I would question whether the £35bn we supposedly spend on UK defence is actually even being spent, if it is people should be fired and stripped of their knighthoods etc. As we are certainly being wasteful at best.

      • We don’t have to have the equipment in the 10 years, we just have to have the orders. The work has already started on the 1st dreadnought, so that’s in the bank towards the figure.

        • Steve, then that really doesn’t make sense, as if that’s the case then we shouldn’t be accounting for the astute or carriers as these will already have been accounted for in a previous iteration of this budget. And that is the main problem here the whole thing is nebulous and imprecise (deliberately in my opinion) you either account for something when you pay for it or plan to pay for it or upon order, not both.

          This is simple fiscal planning and it is just not clear how the MOD do this – what is clear from their own data is that they are spending about £4bn on actual equipment across all forces per annum and not 17.8bn which they should be.

          For me we should be spending approx £9bn p.a. On equipment and reduce the infrastructure and support costs as we shouldn’t need as much maintenance on newer equipment.

  10. I think all this discussion of the £178bn figure is proving my point. Without a 50 page white paper that defines what is and isn’t included it’s trite sound bite that is meaningless but none the less is HMG’s favourite tool used to bat away criticism re capability gaps or any other defence shortfalls. What we should really be looking at is outputs, what is actually being delivered, rather than falling into the “we spend a lot of money so we must be great” trap.

    • Couldn’t agree more Julian!!

      BTW – still waiting for Fallon’s answer to the National Ship Building Strategy….. response was due last month and nothing….. surprise, surprise…

    • Couldn’t agree more Julian.

      It’s about time the govt clearly state what is being spent where as I just do not believe the £178bn over 10 years figure anymore.

      If we really were spending this much on equipment then we would clearly have far better kit than what we actually have.

      40+ year old tanks and IFV’s, a navy on its last legs and an Air Force that has less fighters than Saudi Arabia. I dont blame the government as much as I do the senior military leadership who have mismanaged the budget over a long time. Their Exceptionally poor track record in delivery Has led to a credibility deficit with our politicians which I for one can understand. This needs to be corrected urgently and the military need to start delivering against its commitments and its budget and start to build credibility and at some point trust.

  11. Nice ship. From the you tube video it looks like the land attack version of Fremm with 16 silos for Scalp and 16 for Aster 15. Like shelling peas for DCNS.

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