Aquitaine, lead ship of the FREMM multi-mission frigate project, put to sea for the first time on 18 April, a month ahead of schedule. The 6,000-tonne frigate conducted initial sea trials off the Brittany peninsula lasting several weeks. Key among the extensive testing programme was the performance of the first of class’s hybrid CODLOG (COmbined Diesel eLectric Or Gas) propulsion system.

The CODLOG configuration comprises a single LM 2500+ gas turbine for high-speed mechanical propulsion and electric motors powered by four diesel-alternator sets for low-speed propulsion. The system was tested in all configurations from low-speed silent-mode all-electric propulsion to high-speed gas turbine-powered mechanical propulsion, including runs at her maximum speed of 27.5 knots. A second set of sea trials focussing on the combat system is scheduled for June.

The French FREMM programme will build 12 ships, 11 for the French Navy and one for the Royal Moroccan Navy. The first nine ships will be optimised for anti-submarine warfare and the last pair for anti-air warfare. They will be equipped with the Herakles 3D multifunction radar, Scalp-Naval cruise missiles and Aster anti-air missiles.

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