DCNS has launched the third of 12 FREMM multi-mission frigates on its books. Normandie was floated out at the Group’s Lorient facility on 18 October, with the 15-minute operation attended by both the Minister for Defence and Minister for Economy and Finance, underlining the significance of having the ships built in France rather than being outsourced to shipyards in countries with cheaper labour.

A collaborative project with Italy, the French FREMM programme consists of 12 ships, 11 for the French Navy and one for the Royal Moroccan Navy. The export order, to be named Mohammed VI, is the second unit of the class to be built, with delivery due in 2013.

The lead vessel, Aquitaine, is scheduled to be handed over to the French Navy by the end of 2012. The French-built warships will be equipped with the Herakles 3D multifunction radar, Aster anti-air missiles, Exocet MM40 anti-ship missiles and MU90 torpedoes. The 6,000-tonne ships will eventually replace the anti-air warfare and anti-submarine warfare roles of the Cassard, Georges Leygues and Tourville class destroyers.


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