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05 Sep 05. Among its news and latest developments being announced at DSEi (stand 1374), DML Group is unveiling its new frigate design – a concept known as FC65.

The FC65 is a high speed (35 knots), long range (circa 7,000 miles) surface combatant, offering high capability in both offensive and defensive roles. Fundamentally the concept is one of an affordable and capable warship for current and future missions. Crucially, with a design that deliberately focuses on rapid adaptability through-life it is able to accept changes in role to meet future, as yet unknown, requirements. Equally importantly, the ability for the platform to be reconfigured rapidly for specific role duties is key to the high cost-effectiveness of the FC65 concept.

The platform has been optimised to allow sustained global operations with high endurance, and has the ability both to undertake a wide range of tasks unsupported, and to command task group operations.

Central to the FC65’s high level of adaptability are the mission systems. Critically, all systems feature open architectures, and all weapons are selected on the basis of their versatility. Analysis of the weapons and sensor requirements against a range of scenarios has identified those systems that must be quickly and effectively embarked, and the optimum location for these systems. These key sites have been designed with standard interfaces to minimise reconfiguration time.

It is primarily through space, volume and payload capacity that the platform’s valuable adaptability is delivered. With a flexible internal cargo deck, the FC65 can be configured for any number of military or non-military tasks. At 40 metres long and 12 metres wide, the space is large enough to allow transportation of a wide range of vehicles, stores, boats, personnel or other cargo. It also has sea interfaces for delivery of autonomous vehicles into the battlespace.

Further, recognising that the high level adaptability of the ship cannot be delivered without the appropriate manning structures, the FC65 has been provided with flexible accommodation to allow the complement to swell or shrink, in line with the tasking requirements.

The resulting FC65 concept can be configured to undertake all military and non-military roles, from benign and constabulary to Task Group command and Land Attack/ASW functions.

Approaching 150 metres in length and with a displacement of 6,600 tonnes loaded, the vessel is powered by twin MT30 gas turbines, with four large waterjets that allow it to reach its speed capability of 35 knots while being sufficiently efficient to provide the over 7,000 nautical miles endurance. Two Merlin helicopters can be hangared, and the flight deck is big enough to land the largest rotorcraft comfortably.

The FC65 also features a highly versatile vertical launch system for both offensive and defensive stores, and has a five inch gun to provide shore bombardment support. Special Forces are catered for, along with any equipment requirements, in the flexible deck aft.

Further information on the new FC65 is available at DSEi from the DML Group stand, number 1374.

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