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Euronaval 2016: French FTI and export version unveiled (video)

18th October 2016 - 16:11 by Richard Thomas & Grant Turnbull in Paris

The design for the planned 4,000t Frégate de Taille Intermédiaire (FTI) for the Marine Nationale was unveiled at Euronaval on Tuesday, the latest and expected step in its ongoing fleet regeneration programme.

At a ceremony attended by the French Minster of Defense, Jean-Yves le Drian, a scale model of the vessel was showcased for attending delegations and gathered media. Details of the vessel are scarce although it is suspected that the class will be fitted with a 76mm main gun and feature manned and unmanned rotary capability, with the first due for delivery in 2023. 

It is thought that the Captas-4 compact towed sonar array, manufactured by Thales, could be put forward as a possible FTI system.

Weighing around 4,200t the FTI, which is as yet unnamed, will carry a complement of approximately 125 personnel. Official investment into the programme was confirmed on 5 October this year.

Meanwhile DCNS revealed the export version of the FTI, which has been named the Belharra, and bears a vast range of identical systems, structure and capabilities.

In a statement the company said that the new frigates complete its product line ‘by positioning a latest-generation vessel between the 6,000-tonne FREMM multimission frigate and 2,500-3,000t Gowind corvettes.

A DCNS official said of the Beharra design that it is ‘a real multimission frigate and capable of the full range of operations from crisis management to full operations’, such as capital ship escort.

At around 4,000t and 121m metres in length, there is very little to set it apart from the FTI, and will be capable of approximately 27-29kt. It will also be fitted with the SETIS combat management system.

The vessels will also be built with a conventional CODAD power system comprising of four diesel engines with generators. A back up power system will also be integrated into the design.

Additionally, it will be hardened against the expected future challenges, particularly in the data transfer and cyber security, as outlined by DCNS CEO Hervé Guillou on Monday.

‘Information technology is a big concern for navies and that is what the Belharra takes into account,’ said the DCNS official.

The French Navy version will integrate the Thales Sea Fire four flat antenna radar and Aster 30 missiles from MBDA. 

The Belharra export model could see missiles systems such as the VL Mica, a capability currently operated by a number of navies around the world, including the Royal Navy of Oman’s Khareef-class corvettes.

For more from Euronaval 2016, see our dedicated news page.

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