FREMM multipurpose frigate
Italian first FREMM Carlo Bergamini (F590)
|In commission:||Since 2012|
|Planned:||49 (Italy: 10, France: 17, Morocco: 1, Egypt: 5, US: 10, Indonesia: 6)|
|Active:||19 (Italy: 8, France: 7, Morocco: 1, Egypt: 3)|
|Type:||Frigate or destroyer|
|Sensors and |
The FREMM ("European multi-purpose frigate"; French: Frégate européenne multi-mission; Italian: Fregata europea multi-missione) is a class of multi-purpose frigates designed by Fincantieri and Naval Group for the navies of Italy (10 frigates) and France (8 frigates). The lead ship of the class, Aquitaine, was commissioned in November 2012 by the French Navy. In France the class is known as the Aquitaine class, while in Italy they are known as the Bergamini class. Italy has ordered six general purpose variants and four anti-submarine variants. France has ordered six anti-submarine variants, and two air-defense variants.
Three original variants of the FREMM were proposed; an anti-submarine variant (ASW) and a general-purpose variant (GP) and a land-attack variant (AVT) to replace the existing classes of frigates within the French and Italian navies. A total of 27 FREMM were to be constructed (17 for France and 10 for Italy) with additional aims to seek exports. However, budget cuts and changing requirements saw this number drop significantly for France, while the order for Italy remained unchanged. The land-attack variant (AVT) was subsequently cancelled.
A third anti-air warfare variant of FREMM was proposed by DCNS in response to French requirements for a new air-defence frigate, the new variant became known as FREDA ("FREgates de Défense Aériennes", "Air defence frigate"). This new French requirement was due to the third and fourth Horizon-class frigates being cancelled after the first two cost €1.35B each, but this decision left French Navy still in-need of replacements for its ageing Cassard-class air-defence frigates.
As of 2009, the FREDA design features a more powerful version of the Héraklès passive electronically scanned array radar and 32 cells of SYLVER A50 vertical launch system in place of the 16 cells of A43 and 16 cells of A70. The SYLVER A50 would allow it to fire the 120-kilometre (75 mi)-range Aster 30 missile. While at one point it was determined that the towed array sonar would not be fitted, this has subsequently been retained on the FREDA design.
At Euronaval 2012 DCNS showed a new concept called FREMM-ER for the FREDA requirement, again based on the FREMM, but specifically mentioning the ballistic missile defence mission as well as anti-air. FREMM-ER has a modified superstructure replacing Héraklès with the new Thales Sea Fire 500 radar, whose four fixed plates resemble those of the US Navy's AN/SPY-1. However, unlike the Héraklès and the SPY-1 (both using passive electronically scanned array technology), the Sea Fire 500 has active electronically scanned array antennas.
Planning assumptions for the Italian Navy are ten FREMM-IT (four ASW variants and six GP variants) at a cost of €5.9 billion. FREMM-IT will replace the Maestrale and Lupo-class frigates in service with the Italian Navy.
In the 2013 Italian budget, the Italian government laid out the necessary financing for two more GP variants (FREMM-IT 7 & 8) and the contract was awarded in September 2013. On 15 April 2015, the Italian Parliament confirmed the deal between OCCAR and Orizzonte Sistemi Navali Spa (Fincantieri and Finmeccanica, since 2017 Leonardo) to begin building units 9 and 10, for 764 million Euros.
As of 16 April 2015, the Italian government has approved funding for all ten FREMM-IT to be delivered to the Italian Navy (four ASW variants and six GP variants). FREMM-IT 9 & 10 will have undisclosed enhanced capabilities. All ten Italian FREMM-ITs have extended AAW capabilities, with SAAM-ESD CMS, Aster 30 and Aster 15 missiles for extended area defence. SAAM-ESD CMS use Leonardo MFRA, a 3D active radar (AESA), an evolved version of the Leonardo EMPAR PESA radar (previously embarked on Horizon-class destroyers and the Cavour). Since the seventh FREMM-IT, there will be updates, such as new conformal IFF antenna and much more stealth response. Since the ninth FREMM-IT, SCLAR-H was replaced with Leonardo ODLS-20. In 2017 the Italian FREMM refit started with the installation on each of two SITEP MS-424 acoustic guns.
In 2020 it was reported that Italy would sell its last two FREMM-class frigates in the current production line (Spartaco Schergat and Emilio Bianchi) to Egypt. Spartaco Schergat was in the final stage of her sea trials while Emilio Bianchi would follow within one year. The deal reportedly also involved other military equipment and was worth 1.2 billion Euros. It was reported that Italy would then order two additional FREMM frigates to replace those transferred to Egypt with the anticipated delivery of the replacements by 2024.
Original plans were for 17 FREMM to replace the nine D'Estienne d'Orves-class avisos and nine anti-submarine frigates of the Tourville and Georges Leygues classes. In November 2005 France announced a contract of €3.5 billion for development and the first eight hulls, with options for nine more costing €2.95 billion split over two tranches (totaling 17).
Following the cancellation of the third and fourth of the Horizon-class frigates in 2005 on budget grounds, requirements for an air-defence derivative of the FREMM called FREDA were placed – with DCNS coming up with several proposals. Expectations were that the last two ships of the 17 FREMM planned would be built to FREDA specifications; however, by 2008 the plan was revised down to just 11 FREMM (9 ASW variants and 2 FREDA variants) at a cost of €8.75 billion (FY13, ~US$12 billion). The 11 ships would cost €670 million (~US$760m) each in FY2014, or €860m (~US$980m) including development costs.
The 2013 White Paper on Defence and National Security committed France to 15 front-line frigates, which was initially interpreted as 2 Horizons, 5 La Fayettes and a reduction in the FREMM fleet down to 8 ships. The 2014/2019 defence plan restated a target of 11 frigates; of which six ASW FREMM variants would be delivered to replace the Georges Leygues-class frigates by 2019, followed by two anti-air variants to replace the ageing Cassard-class frigates and a decision will be taken in 2016 on what version the remaining three will be. In 2014, the French Navy's Chief of Staff, Admiral Bernard Rogel, confirmed that 11 FREMM frigates had been ordered but in 2015 the order was cut to 8 in order to allow the purchase of five FTI mid-Size frigates from 2023. The FTI will replace the La Fayette class in "first-rank" roles, with three of the La Fayettes also being fitted with active sonar as an interim measure.
On 16 April 2021 the French Navy received Alsace, the first of the two air defence FREMM frigates ordered. The primary role of the naval vessel is planned to be conducting the anti-aircraft defense of critical units such as the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and PHA-type landing helicopter docks. Besides being equipped with Aster 15 and Aster 30 surface-to-air missiles, the ship holds Excocet MM 40 anti-ship missiles and the MU 90 torpedo system.
On 10 July 2017, it was reported that the United States Congress was interested in foreign designs such as the Fincantieri FREMM for the US Navy's FFG(X) Program. According to Representative Rob Wittman, chairman of the United States House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, the US Congress was comfortable with models such as Fincantieri's partnership with Lockheed Martin to build the Freedom version of the littoral combat ship (LCS). If the Italian FREMM design is selected, the Marinette Marine shipyard in Wisconsin, part of the Fincantieri group, would build the guided-missile frigates. Marinette Marine is best known for the US Navy Freedom-class LCS. On 16 February 2018, Fincantieri Marine was one of five companies awarded a $15 million contract for conceptual design of FFG(X), which the Navy would evaluate over 16 months ahead of a final request for proposal in 2019 and contract award in 2020.
On 30 June 2017, it was announced that Leonardo and BAE Systems will collaborate to provide the US military forces with a wide range of upgraded munitions for advanced, large-calibre weapon systems such as the Leonardo Vulcano and Strales/DART guided munitions.
From late May to early June 2018, the Italian Navy deployed Alpino on a good will visit to the United States along the Eastern seaboard, making port calls in Norfolk, Baltimore, New York City, and Boston. She was visited by several US Navy officials who toured her as a potential FFG(X) candidate. Among the visitors was the Italian Ambassador to the United States, Armando Varrichio.
On 30 April 2020, the US Navy announced that Fincantieri had been awarded a $795 million contract for the first FFG(X), to be built at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin. The contract includes options for an additional nine ships, which, if all options were exercised, would value the contract at $5.5 billion. On 7 October 2020, US Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite announced that first FFG(X) frigate would be named Constellation.
Egypt ordered two Italian FREMM frigates in 2020 and one French FREMM frigate in 2015. The initial Italian sale might be followed by the subsequent acquisition of two additional FREMM frigates by Egypt.
On 16 February 2015, the Egyptian Navy ordered one FREMM vessel to enter service before the opening of the New Suez Canal, as part of a larger deal (including 24 Dassault Rafale aircraft and a supply of missiles) worth US$5.9 billion (€5.2 billion). In order to keep to Egypt's deadlines, France offered to send Normandie, originally intended for the French Navy. The SYLVER A70 VLS and NETTUNO-4100 jamming equipment were removed due to export limitations for such sensitive equipment. The crew will be around 126 sailors compared to 108 in the French Navy. The SATCOM antenna for the French Syracuse satellites was also taken down; however, Egypt will use its own military telecommunications satellite, supplied by Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space, in conjunction with its naval vessels. From March 2015, DCNS trained the Egyptian crew in the technology of the ship and DCNS and its partners accompanied the crew for a period of 15 months. On 23 June 2015, French naval shipbuilder DCNS transferred the FREMM frigate Tahya Misr (ex-Normandie) to the Egyptian Navy. A ceremony took place to transfer Normandie, renamed Tahya Misr ("Long Live Egypt") to Egypt, in the presence of General Sedki Sobhy, the Egyptian Minister of Defense, Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Minister of Defense, Admiral Osama Rabie, Egyptian Navy Commander in Chief, Admiral Bernard Rogel, the French Chief of Navy and Hervé Guillou, Chairman & CEO of DCNS. In April 2021, the second FREMM Bergamini-class frigate, ENS Bernees, joined the Egyptian Navy. The first one joined on 31 December 2020.
On 24 October 2007, it was announced that the Royal Moroccan Navy had ordered one FREMM to replace its Descubierta-class corvette. The contract was signed on 18 April 2008 and construction of the Moroccan FREMM began in the summer 2008 with delivery expected in 2012 or 2013; Mohammed VI was launched in September 2011 and handed over on 30 January 2014. The Moroccan ship is similar to the French anti-submarine version, without SYLVER A70 tubes for SCALP Naval, and cost €470m.
On 10 June 2021, Indonesia signed a contract with Fincantieri for the order of six FREMM frigates and two Maestrale-class frigates and other logistical support. There may be collaboration between PT-PAL Shipyard on Java Island and Fincantieri.
In September 2017, a variant of the FREMM was offered directly to the Ministry of Defence, in an attempt to protect intellectual property. This direct bid included delivery of the first ship in 2019 if accepted within the year and a fixed price of $30 billion for all 15 ships, versus the $62 billion estimated for the government's prime-contractor ship building plan. In December 2017 the offer was rejected by the Public Services and Procurement Canada, citing the unsolicited nature of the bid as undermining the fair and competitive nature of the procurement".
In April 2016, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed that the Italian FREMM class was one of three frigates shortlisted for the Royal Australian Navy's Anzac-class frigate replacement. In September 2016, Fincantieri signed a contract to participate in the Competitive Evaluation Process, conducted by the Department of Defence for nine Future Frigates for the Royal Australian Navy. In June 2018, the contract was awarded to BAE Systems to produce nine Hunter-class frigates.
In January 2019, the Italian government made an offer of two Bergamini-class frigates to the Brazilian Navy. The frigates Spartaco Schergat and Emilio Bianchi under construction for the Italian Navy, would be transferred to Brazil for €1.5 billion (R$6.37 billion).
On 22 January 2009 the Hellenic Navy announced an order for six FREMM to replace an equal number of Elli-class frigates. After the Greek government-debt crisis this was cut down to between two and four ships equipped with SCALP Naval, with France alleged to have offered them to Greece at no cost for the first five years. Germany objected to this deal in October 2011 and no deal has been signed. In February 2013 though and during the formal visit of the President of France, François Hollande, in Athens, according to press reports an agreement which includes the long-term leasing of two FREMM frigates (Normandie and Provence according to initial reports) to the Hellenic Navy has been reached. On 12 January 2018 the Greek daily newspaper Kathimerini reported that the Greek government was set to enter talks with France regarding the procurement of two FREMM frigates, with an option for an additional two. Contacts between Greece and France were to begin initially at a military level, starting in February 2018. In April 2018, Greek deputy Minister for National Defence Fotis Kouvelis stated that an agreement between France and Greece was reached for a five-year lease of two FREMM frigates, which could had been handed over as early as August 2018. After a few days, on 25 April 2018 the Greek minister of Defense Panos Kammenos denied any information regarding the purchase of two frigates from France. Eventually, Greece abandoned all plans for the purchase of FREMMs in 2019 and steered all attention to the new FDI Belharra multi-purpose frigates, offered by Naval Group.
- Leonardo OTO Melara 76 mm (3.0 in)/62 calibre gun (compact for FR-ASW/Super Rapid gun with Davide/Strales guided ammunition for IT-ASW)
- 2 × torpedo launchers Eurotorp/WASS B515/3 for MU 90 torpedoes with Calzoni AHS (Automatic Handling System)
- 1 × Leonardo NA-25 DARDO-F fire control system for the 76 mm cannon
- 2 × SLAT (Systeme de Lutte Anti-Torpille) anti-torpedo system (into Italian Navy only for ASW version) ASW DLS (Anti Submarine Weapon Decoy Launcher System) based on Thales ALERT sonar system, DCNS RATO command system and WASS CMAT weapon system (with 12 tube launcher for 127 mm's WASS C-310 decoy and jammers)
- NH90 helicopter, with capability for AW101, Cougar and Caracal
- Thales UMS 4110 CL hull sonar
- Thales UMS 4249 CAPTAS4 towed sonar (Italian anti-submarine versions only; fitted to both French ASW and air defence variants)
- Thales TUUM-6 Underwater Telephone
- 2 × Sigen MM/SMQ-765 EW system: with JASS (Jamming Antenna Sub System) ECM, Nettuno 4100, by ELT Elettronica and Thales ESM (Communications and Radar ESM)
- 2 × SOFRESUD Quick Pointing Devices "QPD"
- 16-cell MBDA SYLVER A43 VLS for MBDA Aster 15 missiles (in first four ASW variants)
- The last two ASW variants have been fitted with a 16-cell MBDA A50 VLS for MBDA Aster 30 to be used if deemed necessary. The two AAW variants fitted with 32-cell A50 VLS.
- 16-cell MBDA SYLVER A70 VLS for MBDA SCALP Naval cruise missile with a range up to 1,000 km (620 mi) or Aster 30 anti-air missile (not fitted to AAW variants)
- MBDA MM-40 Exocet block 3, for naval and land attack
- 2 × Nexter 20 mm (0.79 in) Narwhal remote weapon systems
- NGDS decoy launcher
- Héraklès radar
- Terma Scanter 2001 radar
- Thales Artemis IRST
- SETIS combat system
- Sagem Najir fire control system for the 76 mm gun (on French ASW variants)
- Thales STIR EO MK 2 fire control radar for 76 mm gun (on French AAW variants)
- 4 × torpedo launchers Eurotorp/WASS B515/3 for MU 90 torpedoes
- Samahé helicopter handling system
- 16-cell MBDA SYLVER A50 VLS for MBDA Aster 15 missiles and MBDA Aster 30 missiles
- Space reserved for MBDA SYLVER A70 launchers for 16 MBDA SCALP Naval or similar cruise missile, but not fitted
- Leonardo IRST SASS
- another one Leonardo NA-25 DARDO-F fire control system for the second cannon (76 mm/62 calibre or 127 mm (5.0 in)/54 calibre gun)
- Leonardo Kronos Grand Naval (MFRA) AESA, 3D, C band radar
- Leonardo RASS (RAN-30X-I) surface radar (OTH)
- Leonardo SPS-732, 2D LPI Surveillance X band radar (surface and air surveillance at low level); since the seventh FREMM-IT replaced by more powerful Leonardo SPS-732(V2)
- Leonardo SPN-730 LPI navigation radar and two navigation radar GEM-Elettronica MM/SPN-753
- Leonardo SPN-720 radar for helicopter precision approach
- Leonardo IFF SIR M-E; since the 7th FREMM-IT replaced with Leonardo IFF SIR M5-PA with phased array antenna
- Leonardo Athena combat system (CMS), with 21, three displays, MFC (Multi Functional Consolle): 17 into COC, 2 in backup COC, 1 on bridge and 1 into Command Planning Room
- Leonardo SAAM-ESD extended area AAW combat system (for Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles)
- 2 × Leonardo (OTO Melara) SCLAR-H DLS Multipurpose Rocket Launcher; from the ninth vessel replaced with Leonardo ODLS-20
- 8 × MBDA Teseo\Otomat Mk-2/A block 4, for naval and land attack
- 2 × OTO Melara - Oerlikon KBA 25 mm (0.98 in)/80 calibre remote weapon system, controlled by close CMS
- Curtiss-Wright TC-ASIST helicopter handling system (for both helicopters)
- Leonardo (WASS) SNA-2000-I mine avoidance sonar
- L-3 ELAC Nautik SeaBeam 3050, multi-beam echo sounder (only on ASW version)
- 1 × 7 m (23 ft) rigid-hulled inflatable boat release and recovery lateral systems (Stemar 6.8 m (22 ft), FNM HPEP 225 hp (168 kW) engine, 38 knots (70 km/h; 44 mph), 6 crew)
- 1 × 11 m (36 ft) rigid-hulled inflatable boat release and recovery lateral systems (Zodiac Hurricane)
- 1 × 11 m rigid-hulled inflatable boat fast, stern release and recovery system (only on GP version, for CABI Cattaneo CABAT boat)
- ASW version: 2 × Leonardo OTO Melara 76 mm/62 calibre Davide/Strales CIWS guns, one on the hangar (both with Strales guided ammunition) and 4 MBDA MILAS ASW missile
- GP version: 1 × Leonardo OTO Melara 127 mm/64 calibre gun with Vulcano guided ammunition, with a range up to 120 km (75 mi), and AAHS (Automated Ammunition Handling System) with 350 rounds + 56 in turret and a second Leonardo (OTO Melara) 76 mm/62 calibre Davide/Strales CIWS gun on the hangar (with Strales guided-ammunitions)
- 2 × acoustic guns / LRAD SITEP MASS CS-424: since year 2017, on update works
Ships of the class
|Pennant no.||Builder||Variant||Role||Name||Laid down||Launched||Commissioned||Homeport|
|F 590||Fincantieri, Muggiano and Riva Trigoso||IT‑GP||General purpose||Carlo Bergamini||4 February 2008||16 July 2011||29 May 2013||Taranto|
|F 591||IT‑ASW||Anti‑submarine warfare||Virginio Fasan||12 May 2009||31 March 2012||19 December 2013||La Spezia|
|F 592||Carlo Margottini||21 April 2010||29 June 2013||27 February 2014|
|F 593||Carabiniere||6 April 2011||29 March 2014||28 April 2015||Taranto|
|F 594||Alpino||23 February 2012||13 December 2014||30 September 2016|
|F 595||IT‑GP||General purpose||Luigi Rizzo||5 March 2013||19 December 2015||20 April 2017||La Spezia|
|F 596||Federico Martinengo||5 June 2014||4 March 2017||24 April 2018||Taranto|
|F 597||Antonio Marceglia||12 July 2015||3 February 2018||16 April 2019|
|F 598||Unnamed||25 February 2021||2024||February 2025||La Spezia|
|F 599||Unnamed||2021||2024||August 2025||Taranto|
|D650||DCNS, Lorient||FR‑ASW||Anti‑submarine warfare||Aquitaine||2007||29 April 2010||23 November 2012||Brest|
|D651||Normandie||2014||1 February 2018||3 June 2020|
|D652||Provence||2010||18 September 2013||12 June 2015||Toulon|
|D653||Languedoc||2011||12 July 2014||4 July 2017|
|D654||Auvergne||2012||2 September 2015||14 February 2018|
|D655||Bretagne||2013||16 September 2016||20 February 2019||Brest|
|D656||FR‑AAW||Anti‑air warfare||Alsace||2016||18 April 2019||16 April 2021||Toulon|
|D657||Lorraine||2019||13 November 2020||2022|
|United States Navy|
|FFG-62||Fincantieri, Marinette, Wisconsin||IT‑ASW||Anti-submarine warfare||Constellation||TBC|
|FFG-1001||DCNS, Lorient||FR‑ASW||Anti‑submarine warfare||Tahya Misr
|2009||18 October 2012||17 March 2016||Alexandria|
|FFG-1002||Fincantieri, Muggiano and Riva Trigoso||IT‑GP||General Purpose||Al-Galala
|February 2017||26 January 2019||23 December 2020|
|January 2018||25 January 2020||13 April 2021|
|Royal Moroccan Navy|
|701||DCNS, Lorient||FR‑ASW||Anti‑submarine warfare||Mohammed VI||2008||14 September 2011||30 January 2014||Ksar es Seghir|
- List of naval ship classes in service
- Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate
- De Zeven Provinciën-class frigate
- Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate
- Nilgiri-class frigate
- MKS 180 frigate
- Type 26 frigate
- Type 31 frigate
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