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French frigate Vendémiaire

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Frigate Vendémiaire in 2013
NamesakeMonth of Vendémiaire
BuilderChantiers de l'Atlantique
Laid down17 January 1992
Launched23 August 1992
Commissioned21 October 1993
IdentificationPennant number: F 734
Statusin service
General characteristics
Class and typeFloréal-class frigate
  • 2,600 t (2,600 long tons)
  • 3,000 t (2,950 long tons) full load
Length93.5 m (306 ft 9 in)
Beam14 m (45 ft 11 in)
Draught4.3 m (14 ft 1 in)
Speed20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Range9,000 nmi (17,000 km; 10,000 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Troops24 marines
Sensors and
processing systems
  • DRBV-21C (Mars) air sentry radar
  • Racal Decca RM1290 navigation radar
  • Racal Decca RM1290 landing radar
Electronic warfare
& decoys
  • ARBG-1A Saïgon
  • 2 Dagaie decoy systems
Aircraft carried1 Panther or Eurocopter Dauphin N3 helicopters (the latter replaced the former Aérospatiale Alouette III in 2022).
Aviation facilitiesFlight deck and hangar

Vendémiaire is a Floréal-class frigate (French: frégate de surveillance) of the French Navy. She is the fifth ship of the class, and is named after Vendémiaire, the first month of the Republican Calendar. The ship was constructed at Saint-Nazaire, France, in 1992 and entered service in 1993. Vendémiaire is stationed in the French Pacific territories for patrol duties.

Design and description


The Floréal-class frigates were designed in response to a demand for a cheap warship capable of operating in low threat areas and able to perform general patrol functions. As a result, the Floréal class were constructed to mercantile standards in the areas of ammunition stowage, helicopter facilities and damage control, which significantly lowered the cost of the vessels. The Floréal class were designed for using modular construction which shortened their building times.[1]

Vendémiaire has a standard displacement of 2,600 tonnes (2,600 long tons) and 3,000 tonnes (2,950 long tons) at full load. The frigate measures 85.2 metres (279 ft 6 in) long between perpendiculars and 93.5 metres (306 ft 9 in) overall with a beam of 14 metres (45 ft 11 in) and a draught of 4.3 m (14 ft 1 in).[2][3] Due to the frigate's broad beam, the ship is equipped with fin stabilisers.[4]

The frigate is powered by a combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) system comprising four SEMT Pielstick 6 PA6 L280 BPC diesel engines driving two shafts each turning a LIPS controllable pitch propeller. The CODAD system is rated at 6,580 kilowatts (8,820 hp) The vessel is also equipped with one 203-kilowatt (272 hp) bow thruster. Due to the mercantile construction design, the four diesels are all located within one machinery room for ease of maintenance. Both diesel fuel and TR5 aviation fuel is brought aboard at a single location at the stern compared to naval-constructed vessels which sport two. The ship also has three 750 kW (1,010 hp) diesel-electric generators located just fore and aft of the machinery room.[4][5] Vendémiaire has a maximum speed of 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) and a range of 9,000 nautical miles (17,000 km; 10,000 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph).[2]

Vendémiaire was armed with two Exocet MM38 surface-to-surface missiles in launchers situated centrally atop the midships superstructure.[2] However, at the end of the missile's life cycle in 2014, the launchers were removed as the French Navy did not intend to replace the capability aboard the ships.[6] The ship also mounts one 100 mm CADAM turret with the Najir fire control system located forwards and two 20 mm modèle F2 guns situated in atop the aft superstructure. The ship is equipped with DRBV-21C (Mars) air sentry, Racal Decca RM1290 navigation and Racal Decca RM1290 landing radars along with ARBG-1A Saïgon communications intercept, CSF ARBR 16A radar intercept electronic surveillance systems and two Dagaie decoy systems.[2]

The frigate is equipped with a 30-by-15-metre (98 by 49 ft) helicopter landing pad located on the stern and a 10-by-15-metre (33 by 49 ft) hangar.[2][7] The ship is capable of operating the embarked Eurocopter AS565 Panther up to sea state 5.[2][4] However, as late as 2021, Aérospatiale Alouette III helicopters were also being embarked, notably in the Pacific region.[8][9] In 2022, the Eurocopter Dauphin N3 was earmarked to replace the Aérospatiale Alouette IIIs after the Alouette IIIs were withdrawn from service.[10][11] The ship has a complement of 90 including the aircrew and officers and 24 marines with capacity for a further 13 personnel.[2]

Construction and career

Vendémiaire alongside at Nouméa

Vendémiaire was ordered as part of the third pair in January 1991 from Chantiers de l'Atlantique for construction at their yard in Saint-Nazaire, France, and the keel was laid down on 17 January 1992. The frigate was built using modular construction methods, which reduced the vessel's construction time. Vendémiaire was launched on 23 August 1992 and commissioned into the French Navy on 21 October 1993.[1][2][note 1] Following sea trials, Vendémiaire sailed for Arsenal de Lorient, Lorient where the weapons and sensors were installed and underwent further trials.[4]

Vendémiaire was assigned to Nouméa, New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean.[2] The frigate was deployed to East Timor as part of the Australian-led INTERFET peacekeeping taskforce from 20 September to 17 November 1999.[12]

Vendémiaire alongside at Ocean Terminal, Hong Kong in 2011

The ship went on a tour of China in 2011, stopping at Hong Kong. Vendémiaire was opened to the public 17 April 2011 in Hong Kong.[13] The ship visited the city again from 26 February to 2 March 2018, being opened for public tours.[14] In October 2013 the vessel participated in the International Fleet Review 2013 in Sydney, Australia.[15]

From 1 to 3 June 2015, Vendémiaire performed French sovereignty missions to Matthew Island and Hunter Island.[16] In 2015, following Cyclone Pam France ordered Vendémiaire to sail from Nouméa to Vanuatu to conduct surveys along with aircraft from the island territory.[17]

After the Cyclone Pam operations, Vendémiaire sailed to Wellington, New Zealand in April 2016 to take part in the ANZAC commemorations.[18] In May 2016, the frigate stopped at Busan, South Korea for joint training with the Republic of Korea Navy.[19] On 27 July 2017, the ship intercepted 1.4 tonnes (1.5 tons) of cocaine from the sailing vessel Afalina off the coast of Tonga.[20] From 17–21 February 2018, the frigate visited Incheon, South Korea, performing joint operations with the Republic of Korea Navy.[19]

On 6 April 2019, Vendémiaire sailed through the Taiwan Strait, shadowed by Chinese naval forces.[21] China issued a diplomatic protest after Vendémiaire allegedly violated Chinese territorial waters; France holds that the Taiwan Strait is international waters and claimed a right to freedom of navigation.[22][23] Vendémiaire was subsequently absent at the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army Navy at Qingdao, which she had been scheduled to attend.[24][25] In September 2019, Vendémiaire joined naval units from the Royal Australian Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force for naval exercises off the coast of Australia.[26]

In early 2023, Vendémiaire spent three months in refit in New Zealand before returning to Noumea for the biennial international exercise Croix du Sud 2023.[27]

In April 2024, the ship was the first French vessel to participate in a multilateral maritime exercise as part of Exercise Balikatan in the Philippines. She participated alongside BRP Ramon Alcaraz, BRP Davao del Sur, USS Harpers Ferry and USS Somerset.[28][29][30]


  1. ^ Jordan has the ship launched on 29 August and commissioned on 20 October.


  1. ^ a b Jordan 1995, pp. 119–120.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Saunders 2009, p. 258.
  3. ^ Jordan 1995, p. 119.
  4. ^ a b c d Jordan 1995, p. 120.
  5. ^ Massicot 2010, pp. 53–54.
  6. ^ Groizeleau, Vincent (26 November 2015). "Les frégates de surveillance évoluent" [Surveillance frigates are evolving]. meretmarine.com (in French). Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  7. ^ Massicot 2010, p. 55.
  8. ^ Vavasseur, Xavier (24 May 2021). "Video Interview: The French Navy In The Indo-Pacific". navalnews.com. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  9. ^ "Prairial Stops in Cam Ranh Bay for Helicopter Repairs". Seawaves Magazine. 16 March 2021. Archived from the original on 25 June 2021. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  10. ^ Groizeleau, Vincent (30 June 2022). "Les Alouette III terminent leur carrière embarquée avec Corymbe et RIMPAC" [The Alouette IIIs end their on-board career with Corymbe and RIMPAC]. Mer et Marine. Retrieved 17 October 2022.
  11. ^ Groizeleau, Vincent (17 October 2022). "Un nouvel hélicoptère pour la frégate de surveillance Prairial en Polynésie" [A new helicopter for the surveillance frigate Prairial in Polynesia]. Mer et Marine (in French). Retrieved 17 October 2022.
  12. ^ Stevens, David (2007). Strength Through Diversity: The combined naval role in Operation Stabilise (PDF). Working Papers. Vol. 20. Canberra: Sea Power Centre – Australia. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-642-29676-4. ISSN 1834-7231. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
  13. ^ de Changy, Florence (18 April 2011). "Les Rameaux et la diplomatie franco-chinoise" [The Rameaux and Franco-Chinese diplomacy]. Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  14. ^ Yeung, Raymond (21 February 2018). "Hong Kong public will get chance to board French navy frigate Vendémiaire during coming port call". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  15. ^ "La frégate de surveillance Vendémiaire s'intègre à l'International Fleet Review (IFR) en Australie" [The surveillance frigate Vendémiaire joins the International Fleet Review (IFR) in Australia]. colsbleus.fr (in French). 2 October 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  16. ^ "Mission de souveraineté pour le Vendémiaire" [Sovereignty mission for the Vendémiaire]. colsbleus.fr (in French). 17 June 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  17. ^ Kuku, Joshua (14 March 2015). "Aid effort stepped up after monster Vanuatu cyclone". Suva, Fiji: ReliefWeb. Agence France-Presse. Archived from the original on 10 September 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  18. ^ "" Vendémiaire " to participate in ANZAC commemorations". Embassy of France in New Zealand. 25 September 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  19. ^ a b "Escale de la frégate de surveillance Vendémiaire à Incheon (17-21 février 2018)" [Surveillance frigate Vendémiaire in Incheon (February 17-21, 2018)]. Embassy of France at Seoul. 22 February 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  20. ^ Lagneau, opex360.com (2 August 2017). "Nouvelle-Calédonie : La frégate de surveillance Vendémiaire intercepte 1,4 tonne de cocaïne" [New Caledonia: The Vendémiaire surveillance frigate intercepts 1.4 tonnes of cocaine] (in French). Retrieved 28 December 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  21. ^ Ali, Idrees & Stewart, Phil (25 April 2019). "Exclusive: In rare move, French warship passes through Taiwan Strait". Yahoo News. Reuters. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  22. ^ Lefhaler, Vincent (28 April 2019). "Le Vendémiaire au coeur d'un incident diplomatique franco-chinois" [The Vendémiaire at the heart of a Franco-Chinese diplomatic incident]. franceinfo (in French). Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  23. ^ Guibert, Natalie & Pedroletti, Bruce (26 April 2019). "Tensions entre la France et la Chine après le passage de la frégate " Vendémiaire " dans le détroit de Taïwan" [Tensions between France and China after the passage of the frigate "Vendémiaire" in the Taiwan Strait]. Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  24. ^ Wadel, Joanna (25 April 2019). "Incident naval entre la France et la Chine dans le détroit de Taïwan" [Naval incident between France and China in the Taiwan Strait]. RTL (in French). Agence France-Presse. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  25. ^ "Détroit de Taïwan : incident naval entre la France et la Chine" [Taiwan Strait: naval incident between France and China]. La Croix (in French). Agence France-Presse. 25 April 2019. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  26. ^ "La frégate Vendémiaire au coeur de la coopération renforcée entre la France et ses partenaires de l'Indopacifique" [The frigate Vendémiaire at the heart of enhanced cooperation between France and its partners in the Indo-Pacific region]. colsbleus.fr (in French). 24 September 2019. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  27. ^ "FS Vendémiaire Completes Refit in New Zealand". Sea Waves Magazine. 3 May 2023. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  28. ^ Lariosa, Aaron-Matthew. "Balikatan 2024 Kicks Off with Maiden French Participation". Naval News. Retrieved 29 April 2024.
  29. ^ "Gunnery exercise conducted during end of multilateral maritime exercise". People's Television Network. 29 April 2024. Retrieved 29 April 2024 – via YouTube.com.
  30. ^ Cupin, Bea (26 April 2024). "In Photos: PH, US, French navies hold maritime drills during Balikatan 2024". Rappler. Retrieved 29 April 2024.


  • Jordan, John (1995). "France". In Chumbley, Stephen (ed.). Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1947–1995. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. pp. 95–131. ISBN 1-55750-132-7.
  • Massicot, Jean (2010). Navires de guerre et marine française (in French). Toulon, France: Desnoel. ISBN 978-1-4461-4597-5.
  • Saunders, Stephen, ed. (2009). Jane's Fighting Ships 2009–2010 (112 ed.). Alexandria, Virginia: Jane's Information Group Inc. ISBN 978-0-7106-2888-6.