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France unveils first FREMM frigate 'Aquitaine'

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French Navy's new Aquitaine frigate. A French Navy Photo

PARIS (BNS): France has officially unveiled its new-generation Aquitaine frigate with President Nikolas Sarkozy honouring the occasion.

The new vessel for the French Navy was unveiled during a ceremony at the DCNS shipyard in Lorient, France on May 4, 2010.

The multi-mission Aquitaine is the first of 11 new FREMM frigates being built for the French Navy at DCNS's Lorient facility.

DCNS will build the FREMM frigates with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2012 and continue until 2022, the company said.

France had signed a contract for eight FREMM frigates in 2005 followed by another contract for three more such frigates in 2009.

The FREMM family of frigates with technically advanced features is being designed to counter all threats emanating from air, sea or land.

Each vessel will be equipped with naval cruise missiles and MU90 torpedoes with a range of several tens of nautical miles. The sensor suite of the frigate is designed around the Herakles multifunction radar with a range of more than 250 kilometres.

The FREMM programme, led by France in partnership with Italy, is Europe’s largest naval programme. Italy plans to acquire ten such frigates and has placed firm orders for six, DCNS said.

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