17 Nov 05. The Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) today awarded ARMARIS and Orizzonte Sistemi Navali the first phase of the contract for the development and building of a new generation of European multi-mission frigates (the FREMM program). This initial phase covers the development, building and in-service support for the first eight frigates destined for the French Navy: six in an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) version, and two in a land-strike version. The contract, to be apportioned equally between DCN and Thales, both shareholders in ARMARIS, is valued at 3.5 billion euros. The vessels will be delivered in stages from 2011 to 2015. Under an inter-governmental Memorandum of Understanding signed on 15 November 2005 by the French and Italian Ministries of Defense, Italy has committed itself to order the development and building of its two first frigates no later than May 2006. This program thus confirms the principle of European defense procurement collaboration by extending French-Italian partnership on the Horizon anti-air frigate program, which was launched in October 2000.
“With a total of 27 frigates planned, the FREMM program is set to become the most extensive series of warships ever built in Europe,” affirmed Pierre Legros, Executive Chairman of ARMARIS. Jean-Marie Poimbœuf, Chairman & CEO of DCN, and Jean-Georges Malcor, Senior Vice-President and General Manager of Thales Naval Division, have commended all the teams involved, and particularly the teams of their joint subsidiary ARMARIS, for the efforts they expended to obtain the contract. Under the contract, ARMARIS and its Italian partner Orizzonte Sistemi Navali will act as co-prime contractors for the FREMM program. The two companies will also act as co-contractors for part of the design study and development phases. A large part of the major sub-systems for the platform and of the combat system will be specified and developed in common by the two companies.
DCN and Thales will jointly develop the new-generation combat management system (CMS) which will be installed on all French frigates. DCN and Fincantieri will work together on the overall design of the frigates. After that stage, DCN will be responsible for the development and building of the French vessels, as well as providing operational support during their first years in service. Thales will supply surveillance and communication solutions for the new ships, including communication systems, infrared surveillance systems, the Herakles radar for anti-air fire control, sonars, and the integrated electronic warfare system. Finally, MBDA will supply the missile system for the frigates which will include, in particular, ASTER 15 and SCALP naval missiles.
“With a total of 27 frigates planned, the FREMM program is set to become the most extensive series of warships ever built in Europe,” affirmed Pierre Legros, Executive Chairman of ARMARIS.
The FREMM frigates will serve as front-line vessels with autonomous strike capabilities. They will allow the French Navy to carry out multiple missions linked to deterrence, crisis mitigation, maritime security, force projection, and deep land strikes with superior effectiveness based on a wide range of combat systems permanently installed onboard rather than for specific missions. The French frigates will be equipped with the Exocet anti-ship system, the Aster 15 vertically-launched air defense missile system, and torpedoes guided by a full suite of sonars. All systems were initially designed to be fully integrated with the naval cruise missile system developed by MBDA.
Jean-Marie Poimbœuf stressed the fact that “this ambitious project is a major industrial challenge for DCN which will allow it to consolidate its position in the execution of large-scale programs within European naval procurement.”
For Jean-Georges Malcor, “the FREMM contract is a further illustration of Thales’ key role in coordinating and managing international cooperativ