DCNS conducts FREMM Aquitaine helicopter deck landing trials
DCNS has announced formal qualification of the FREMM frigate Aquitaine's flight deck for operations with the Lynx helicopter. The milestone follows a successful deck landing campaign at sea, organised by the French defence procurement agency (DGA) in early February. Trials were conducted with a Lynx helicopter operated by the French Navy.
The French FREMM programme calls for 12 ships: 11 for the French Navy and one for the Royal Moroccan Navy. FREMM frigates are among the most technologically advanced and competitively priced on the world market. These heavily armed warships are being built under DCNS prime contractorship to carry state-of-the-art weapons and systems including the Herakles multifunction radar, MdCN cruise missiles, Aster anti-air missiles, Exocet MM40 anti-ship missiles and MU90 torpedoes.
Trials to qualify the flight deck of the first-of-class FREMM frigate were conducted in early February and supervised by the DGA. French Navy test pilots completed several series of approaches and as many as 50 deck landings with a Lynx five-tonne class helicopter. The operations were a complete success. In particular, the pilots appreciated the absence of turbulence above the flight deck in all landing positions.
As well as the high quality of the safety, communication and navigation systems used for helicopter approach, landing and handling operations, the DGA teams and French Navy crew appreciated the intuitive layout of the flight deck control room used to coordinate helicopter operations. The control room was designed with the aid of 3D tools and offers unprecedented levels of comfort and usability.
The trials conclude that FREMM frigate Aquitaine has demonstrated its ability to launch and land Lynx helicopters. The vessel's hangar area is designed to accommodate one of the NH90 Caiman heavy lift (10-tonne class) helicopters now in service with the French Navy. The first deck landing trials with a Caiman will be conducted in the coming weeks.
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