Naval Group starts upgrading French Navy’s Courbet La Fayette-class frigate

According to a Tweet released by Naval Group on October 9, 2020, the French shipyard Naval Group has started the renovation and partial upgrade of the French Navy Courbet La Fayette-class frigate.

The French Navy’s La Fayette Class multipurpose stealth frigates were developed and built by DCNS. The French Navy awarded DCNS the contracts to construct the La Fayette (F710), Surcouff (F711) and Courbet (F712) frigates in 1988, and Aconit (F713) and Guepratte (F714) in 1992.

The “Courbet” FLF (Frégate Légère Furtive in French) is general purpose La Fayette-class frigates built by Naval Group previously named DCNS and operated by the French Navy. The ship was launched in March 1994 and commissioned in April 1997.

In May 2017, the French Procurement Agency (DGA) awarded to French shipbuilding group Naval Group (previously DCNS) the upgrade contract for three of the five La Fayette-class Frigates in service with the French Navy (Marine Nationale).

The modernization program of the La Fayette-class frigate includes the upgrade of the platform and the combat systems. It will include renovations to the structure and electronic and computer systems to manage the ship’s installations (propulsion, steering gear, power plant, etc.).

As regards the combat system, the combat management system, which manages the sensors and weapons, will be replaced by a version based on the one present aboard aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, the tactical data links will be modernized.

The CROTALE air defense system will be replaced by 2 overhauled SADRAL launchers. Finally, the three upgraded vessels will be equipped with an anti-submarine capability, with the integration of a hull-mounted sonar and anti-torpedo countermeasures.

The La Fayette Class frigate incorporates a number of stealth features – the sides of the vessel are sloped at 10° to minimize radar cross-section, surfaces are made of alloy, reinforced plastic and kevlar. The profiles of external features have been reduced. She was designed primarily to protect and enforce the interests of the French state in its maritime areas and overseas territories, to participate in the settlement of crises outside Europe, and to be integrated into a naval force. Secondary roles for this class include providing support for an intervention force or the protection of commercial traffic and special operations or humanitarian missions support. The frigate has a flight deck at the stern with a single landing spot.

The La Fayette class frigate is armed with 8 Exocet MM40 block II anti-ship missiles, one 100 mm TR automatic gun, two 20 mm modèle F2 guns and 1 Crotale CN2 all-weather short-range air defense missile system.

The is powered by four diesel SEMT Pielstick 12PA6V280 STC2 developing 21,000 hp. (16,000 kW). She can sail at a maximum speed of 25 kn (46 km/h; 29 mph) with a range of 4,000 nmi (7,400 km; 4,600 mi) at 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph) and 9,000 nmi (17,000 km; 10,000 mi) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph).

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