FREMM multipurpose frigate

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Nave Bergamini 3.JPG
Italian first FREMM Carlo Bergamini (F590)
Class overview
Builders: France and Italy
Preceded by:
  • €670m/unit[1](FY 2014)(France)
  • €598m/unit[2] (FY 2016)(Italy)
  • €470m/unit[2] (Morocco)
Built: 2007-present
In commission: 2012-present
Planned: 20 (Italy 10, France 8, Morocco 1, Egypt 1)
Cancelled: 9 out of originally 17 for the French navy
Active: 14 (Italy 8, France 4, Morocco 1, Egypt 1)
General characteristics
Type: Frigate or Destroyer
  • France: 6,000 tonnes[3]
  • Italy: 6,700 tonnes[4] (light displacement 5,500 tonnes)
  • France: 142 m (466 ft) LOA
  • Italy: 144.6 m (474 ft) LOA
  • Italy: 132.5 m (435 ft) LPP [5]
  • France: 20 m (66 ft)
  • Italy: 19.7 m (65 ft)
  • France: 7.6 m (25 ft)
  • Italy: 8.7 m (29 ft)
  • France: max +27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph); max cruise speed 15.6 knots (28.9 km/h; 18.0 mph)
  • Italy: max +30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph); max cruise speed +17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph) [6]
  • France: 6,000 nmi (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
  • Italy: 6,800 nmi (12,600 km; 7,800 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
  • France: 145
  • Italy: 199 GP version / 201 ASW version
Crew: Italy: 131 GP version / 133 ASW version; add 14 crew for one helo on board or add 23 crew for two helicopters on board
Sensors and
processing systems:
Aircraft carried:
Aviation facilities:
  • France: single hangar
  • Italy: double hangar

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 Naval Group and Fincantieri for the navies of France and Italy. 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-defence variants. The class is one of the five finalists for the U.S. Navy’s FFG(X) program.[8]


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 has seen this number drop significantly for France, while the order for Italy remained invaried. 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.[9]

As of 2009, the FREDA design features a more powerful version of the Herakles (radar) passive electronically scanned array radar and 32 cells of SYLVER A50 in place of the 16 cells of A43 and 16 cells of A70. The SYLVER A50 would allow it to fire the 120 kilometres (75 mi)-range Aster 30 missile; the towed array sonar would not be fitted.[10]

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.[11] 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.[12]


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.[13] 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)[9] at a cost of €8.75 billion (FY13, ~US$12 billion).[1] The 11 ships would cost €670 million (~US$760m) each in FY2014, or €860m (~US$980m) including development costs.[1]

The 2013 White Paper on Defence and National Security committed France to 15 front-line frigates,[14] 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;[15] the current[when?] plan is to deliver six ASW FREMM variants 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.[1] In 2014, the French Navy's Chief of Staff, Adm. Bernard Rogel, confirmed that 11 FREMM frigates had been ordered[16] but in 2015 the order was cut to 8 in order to allow the purchase of five FTI Mid-Size frigates from 2023.[17] The FTI will replace the La Fayette-class class, which will be fitted with a sonar as an interim measure.[17]


Planning assumptions for the Italian Navy are 10 FREMM-IT (4 ASW variants and 6 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 (4 ASW variants and 6 GP variants).[18]

FREMM-IT 9 & 10 will have undisclosed enhanced capabilities.

All 10 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 aircraft carrier Cavour).

Since the 7th FREMM-IT, there will be updates, such as new conformal IFF antenna and much more stealth response. Since the 9th FREMM-IT, SCLAR-H replaced with Leonardo ODLS-20. In 2017 the Italian FREMM refit started with the installation on each of 2 SITEP MS-424 acoustic guns.


Operators of the FREMM frigates.

United States[edit]

On 10 July 2017 it was reported that the US Congress is pushing foreign designs such as the Fincantieri FREMM for the FFG(X) Guided-Missile Frigate Program.[19] According to Representative Rob Wittman, chairman of the United States House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, the United States Congress is comfortable with models such as Fincantieri's partnership with Lockheed Martin to build the Freedom version of the LCS.[20] 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 littoral combat ship. On 16 February 2018 Fincantieri Marine was one of five companies which were each awarded a $15 million contract for conceptual design of the frigates, which the Navy will evaluate over 16 months ahead of a final request for proposal in 2019 and a contract award in 2020.[21]

As of January 2019, 7 Freedom-class littoral combat ships have been commissioned for the US Navy, 2 more ships are being fitted out, 4 more are under construction and 3 are on order.

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.[22]

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.[23] She was visited by several US Navy officials who toured her as a potential candidate for the US Navy's FFG(X) program. Among the visitors, was Italian Ambassador to the United States, Armando Varrichio.[citation needed]


On 24 October 2007 it was announced that the Royal Moroccan Navy had ordered one FREMM to replace its Descubierta-class corvette.[24] 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;[25] Mohammed VI was launched in September 2011 and handed over on 30 January 2014.[2] The Moroccan ship is similar to the French anti-submarine version, without SYLVER A70 tubes for SCALP Naval, and cost €470m.[2]


On 22 January 2009 the Hellenic Navy announced an order for six FREMM to replace an equal number of Elli-class frigates.[26] 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[27] 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.[28] On 12 January 2018 the Greek daily newspaper Kathimerini reported that the Greek government is 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 will begin initially at a military level, starting in February 2018.[29][30] In April 2018, Greek deputy Minister for National Defence Fotis Kouvelis stated that an agreement between France and Greece has been reached for a five-year lease of 2 FREMM frigates, which could be handed over as early as August 2018.[31] After few days, on 25 April 2018 the Greek minister of Defense Panos Kammenos denied any information regarding the purchase of two frigates from France.[32]


In April 2013, the French government showcased the FREMM class in Halifax with the hope of selling to the Royal Canadian Navy for the Single Class Surface Combatant Project.[33] Canada's Defence Minister at the time, Peter MacKay, commented "I have never seen… such an impressive vessel". DCNS is widely considered one of the leading bidders towards the Single Class Surface Combatants.[34]

In September 2017, a variant of the FREMM was offered directly to the Ministry of Defence, outside of the preferential contractor; in an attempt to protect intellectual property & technology. This direct bid includes fast-delivery of 2019 for the 1st ship if accepted within the year and a fixed price of just $30 billion for all 15 ships, versus the $62 billion estimated for the government's prime-contractor ship building plan.[35]

In December 2017 however, it became clear that 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".[36]


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 Rafales and a supply of missiles) worth US$5.9 billion (€5.2 billion).[37][38] In order to keep to Egypt's deadlines, France offered to send Normandie, originally intended for the French Navy.[39] 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.[40] 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.[41] 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[40][42][43]


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.[44] 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.[45] In June 2018, the contract was awarded to BAE Systems.


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).[46]

Country-specific equipment[edit]

Common equipment[edit]

  • Leonardo OTO Melara 76/62 mm (compact for FR-ASW / Super Rapid gun with Davide/Strales guided-ammunition for IT-ASW)
  • 2 x torpedo launchers Eurotorp/WASS B515/3 for MU 90 torpedoes with Calzoni AHS (Automatic Handling System)
  • 1 x Leonardo NA-25 DARDO-F fire control system for the 76mm cannon
  • 2 x 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 (anti-submarine versions only)
  • Thales TUUM-6 Underwater Telephone
  • 2 x 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 x SOFRESUD Quick Pointing Devices "QPD"

French-specific equipment[edit]

French version of the FREMM

The last two ASW variants have been fitted with 16 cells MBDA A50 VLS for MBDA Aster 30 to be used if deemed necessary.

  • 16 cells MBDA SYLVER A70 VLS for MBDA SCALP Naval cruise missile with a range up to 1000 km or Aster 30 anti air missile.
  • MBDA MM-40 Exocet block 3, for naval and land attack
  • 3 x Nexter 20mm Narwhal remote weapon systems
  • NGDS decoy launcher
  • Héraklès radar
  • Terma Scanter 2001 radar[47]
  • Thales Artemis IRST
  • SETIS combat system
  • Sagem Najir fire control system for the 76mm gun
  • Samahé helicopter handling system

Italian-specific equipment[edit]

Italian ASW FREMM Carabiniere
Italian ASW FREMM Virginio Fasan
  • 16 cells MBDA Sylver Vertical Launching System 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 (76/62 mm or 127/54 mm)
  • 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 7th 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 & Aster 30 missiles)
  • 2 x Leonardo (OTO Melara) SCLAR-H DLS Multipurpose Rocket Launcher; from the ninth vessel (F598) replaced with Leonardo ODLS-20
  • 8 x MBDA Teseo\Otomat Mk-2/A block 4, for naval and land attack
  • 2 x (OTO Melara)/(Oerlikon) KBA 25/80 mm, 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 x 7 m rigid-hulled inflatable boat release and recovery lateral systems (Stemar 6,8 m, FNM HPEP 225 HP engine, 38 knots, 6 crew [48])
  • 1 x 11 m rigid-hulled inflatable boat release and recovery lateral systems
  • 1 x 11 m rigid-hulled inflatable boat fast, stern release and recovery system[49] (only on GP version, for CABI Cattaneo CABAT boat)
  • ASW version: 2 x Leonardo OTO Melara 76/62 mm Davide/Strales CIWS guns, one on the hangar (both with Strales guided-ammunitions) and 4 MBDA MILAS ASW missile
  • GP version: 1 x Leonardo OTO Melara 127/64 mm gun with Vulcano guided ammunition, with a range up to 120 km, and AAHS (Automated Ammunition Handling System) with 350 rounds + 56 in turret and a second Leonardo (OTO Melara) 76/62 mm Davide/Strales CIWS gun on the hangar (with Strales guided-ammunitions)
  • 2 x acoustic guns / LRAD SITEP MASS CS-424: since year 2017, on update works

Ships of the class[edit]

Pennant no. Builder Variant Role Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
Aquitaine class
 French Navy
D650 DCNS, Lorient FR‑ASW Anti‑submarine warfare Aquitaine 2007 29 April 2010 23 November 2012[50] Brest
D652 FR‑ASW Anti‑submarine warfare Provence 2010 18 September 2013 12 June 2015 Brest
D653 FR‑ASW Anti‑submarine warfare Languedoc 2011 12 July 2014 16 March 2016 Toulon
D654 FR‑ASW Anti‑submarine warfare Auvergne 2012 2 September 2015 14 February 2018[51][52] Toulon
D655 FR‑ASW Anti‑submarine warfare Bretagne 2013 16 September 2016 18 July 2018 Brest
D651 FR‑ASW Anti‑submarine warfare Normandie 2014 1 February 2018[53] 2019 Brest
D656 FR‑AAW Anti‑air warfare Alsace 2016 18 April 2019[54] 2021 Toulon
D657 FR‑AAW Anti‑air warfare Lorraine 2022 Toulon
 Royal Moroccan Navy
701 DCNS, Lorient FR‑ASW Anti‑submarine warfare Mohammed VI 2008 14 September 2011 30 January 2014[2] Ksar es Seghir
 Egyptian Navy
FFG-1001 DCNS, Lorient FR‑ASW Anti‑submarine warfare Tahya Misr
(ex-Normandie) [55]
2009 18 October 2012 17 March 2016 [56] Alexandria [57]
Bergamini class [58]
 Marina Militare
F 590 Fincantieri, Riva Trigoso and Muggiano IT‑GP General purpose Carlo Bergamini 4 February 2008 16 July 2011[59] 29 May 2013[60] La Spezia
F 591 IT‑ASW Anti‑submarine warfare Virginio Fasan 12 May 2009 31 March 2012[61] 19 December 2013[62] La Spezia
F 592 IT‑ASW Anti‑submarine warfare Carlo Margottini 21 April 2010 29 June 2013[63] 27 February 2014[64] La Spezia
F 593 IT‑ASW Anti‑submarine warfare Carabiniere 6 April 2011 29 March 2014[65] 28 April 2015 [66] Taranto
F 594 IT‑ASW Anti‑submarine warfare Alpino 23 February 2012 13 December 2014[67] 30 September 2016[68] Taranto
F 595 IT‑GP General purpose Luigi Rizzo 5 March 2013 19 December 2015[69] 20 April 2017[70] La Spezia
F 596 IT‑GP General purpose Federico Martinengo 5 June 2014 [71] 4 March 2017[72] 24 April 2018[73] Taranto
F 597 IT‑GP General purpose Antonio Marceglia 12 July 2015[74][75] 3 February 2018[76] 16 April 2019[77] Taranto
F 598 IT‑GP General purpose Spartaco Schergat February 2017 [78] 26 January 2019 [79] March 2020 La Spezia
F 589 IT‑GP General purpose Emilio Bianchi January 2018 January 2020 April 2021 [80] Taranto

See also[edit]

Similar ships[edit]


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