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French frigate Normandie validates combat system during sea trials

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FREMM frigates Normandie and Aquitaine. A DCNS photo

TOULON, FRANCE (BNS): The second multi-mission frigate for the French Navy FREMM Normandie has succesfully completed intensive sea trials during which it has effectively validated its combat system.

The five-week long extensive sea trials off the Toulon coast in the Mediterranean involving the French Navy and the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) besides the DCNS team, was principally aimed at the verification of the vessel's combat system.

"These trials have allowed the validation of the frigate's combat system performance before its delivery to the French Navy at the end of 2014," DCNS said.

During the trial, the frigate was integrated into numerous scenarios, allowing progress in the setting up of its capacities in all areas of warfare, including anti-aircraft and anti-submarine warfare.

The French Navy and the DGA provided various support resources, including radar beacons, fighter aircraft, maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters, surface ships and submarines, which aided in the deployment of the frigate's electronic warfare system (interception, decoys and jamming) or the establishment of tactical data links.

"In total, we performed around fifty trials on the FREMM Normandie, thanks to the active involvement of all the DCNS, French Navy, DGA and OCCAR teams. These trials contribute to the proper integration of the frigate's different sensors and weapons into the latest-generation SETIS combat management system developed by DCNS," said Anne Bianchi, Director of the FREMM programme.

The presence of the frigate in Toulon also allowed the completion of certain trial relating to the vessel's platform with the first deck landing of the French Navy's Caišman NH90 helicopter.

After a final test performed with the support of the FREMM Aquitaine on June 24, and allowing the verification of the interoperability between the two frigates, the Normandie has now sailed to DCNS's Lorient facility.

Final finishing work will be carried out on the vessel over the summer before its delivery to the French Navy, expected over the course of the last quarter of 2014, the shipbuilder said.

Construction of Normandie began in October 2009.

The FREMM frigates are being built under DCNS's prime contractorship. These heavily armed warships carry state-of-the-art weapons and systems including the Herakles multifunction radar, Aster anti-air missiles, Exocet MM40 anti-ship missiles and MU90 torpedoes.

The FREMM programme represents twelve units, 11 for the French Navy and one for the Royal Moroccan Navy.

In November 2012, DCNS delivered FREMM Aquitaine to the French Navy. The second unit in the programme, FREMM Mohammed VI, was handed over to the Royal Moroccan Navy on January 30, 2014.

The shipbuilder at present is building five more such frigates at its Lorient facility.

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