The French Navy’s politically-driven budget woes seem to be uncannily similar to those faced by the Royal Navy. The early decommissioning of the surface combatants and a reduced number of replacement vessels is the most obvious example. If we look at the future strength of the French Navy (Marine Nationale) as proposed in the 2013 Defence White Paper (livre blanc sur la défense et la sécurité nationale) the leaner forces will be expected to do as much, if not more.
Les forces navales reposeront sur la FOST avec ses 4 SNLE, des capacités de combat de premier plan pour les opérations de haute intensité et de gestion des crises majeures, avec un porte-avions, 6 SNA, 3 Bâtiments de projection et de commandement et 15 frégates de premier rang, comprenant les frégates de défense aérienne, les frégates multi-missions et des unités de combat moins puissantes, notamment les frégates de type Lafayette adaptées avec sonar. Elles seront complétées par des unités plus légères aptes au contrôle des espaces maritimes : 15 patrouilleurs, 6 frégates de surveillance, des bâtiments d’assistance. Elles comprendront également des avions de patrouille maritime ainsi qu’une capacité de guerre des mines apte à la protection de nos approches et à la projection en opérations extérieures.
Let’s translate that into English.
The naval forces will rely on the FOST (strategic oceanic force), with its four nuclear-powered, ballistic missile-carrying submarines (SSBN), high-level combat capabilities for high-intensity operations and major crisis management missions, with an aircraft carrier, six nuclear-powered attack submarines, three combined support and command vessels (BPC) and 15 frontline frigates, including air defence frigates, multi-mission frigates and less powerful combat units, notably Lafayette-type frigates with sonar capabilities. They will be supplemented by lighter units capable of controlling maritime spaces: 15 patrol boats, six surveillance frigates and support vessels. They will also include naval patrol aircraft and a mine-laying capability to protect our approaches and for deployment in external operations.
That politicians experience no cognitive dissonance is remarkable.
The Russian Navy has been decommissioning its Soviet-era Sovremenny class (Project 956) destroyers since 1998 and the Steregushchy class (Project 20380) corvettes seems to be an adequate replacement. These are multi-mission vessels that are powerful enough to be designated as frigates by NATO, comparable in rôle to the FREMM, LCS and Type 26… although the Russians insist they are merely corvettes.
Whether or not the BrahMos-equipped Project 21956 destroyer ever goes into a production run is still to be seen. It would seem to be the logical replacement for the aging Udaloy (Project 1155) class.
Russia’s Pacific Fleet to Receive New Warships in 2014
Mistral-class helicopter carrier
MOSCOW, July 19 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian Pacific Fleet will start receiving new warships in 2014 for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the fleet’s commanders said.
“Rather large-scale deliveries of new equipment, new warships to the Pacific Fleet will start in 2014,” Rear Admiral Sergei Avakyants said in an interview with Rossiya 24 television on Thursday.
Avakyants emphasized the fact that the fleet received a new warship last time in 1991.
According to the Russian military, at least one of the two Mistral-class helicopter carriers, being built in France for the Russian navy, is intended for the Pacific Fleet, which has already prompted concerns in Japan.
Several Project 20380 Steregushchy-class corvettes are being built for the Pacific Fleet at the Amur shipyard in Russia’s Far East with estimated delivery in 2014-2015.
In addition, one of the first Borey-class ballistic missile submarines will be put in service with the fleet after the much anticipated commissioning by the end of 2013, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
The Pacific Fleet currently consists of the Varyag missile cruiser, four Udaloy-class destroyers, a Sovremenny-class destroyer and dozens of submarines, including five Delta III-class ballistic missile submarines.
The FREMM multipurpose frigate is a joint French-Italian design for a frigate capable of anti-submarine warfare and anti-ship warfare. France’s Marine Nationale will acquire 8 ASW frigates with options for 9 more, Italy’s Marina Militaire will acquire 4 ASW and 6 GP frigates, and the Royal Moroccan Navy is acquiring 1 French-built ASW frigate.
Sea trials validate frigate’s combat systems
LORIENT, France, July 11 (UPI) — French shipbuilder DCNS has completed a third series of sea trials on a FREMM frigate for the Royal Moroccan Navy.
The trials were to check the performance of the ship’s combat systems and were performed off the coast of Brittany.
“This third series of sea trials represents a major milestone for the overall program and more particularly for the ship’s combat system,” said Gilles Raybaud, DCNS’s FREMM program manager for Morocco. “Our crews thoroughly tested the full suite of combat system hardware and software that makes FREMM frigates among the most versatile and advanced on the world market.”
DCNS said specific tests included target engagement sequences using Aster anti-air missiles and MM40 anti-ship missiles, fire control tests for the 76-mm main gun and testing of the frigate’s multi-function radar.
Other tests involved helicopter approach control and the deployment of various towed devices.
Initial sea trials on the ship – the future Mohamed VI – took place in April, during which the frigate’s propulsion and navigation systems were evaluated.
DCNS is building a total of 12 FREMM frigates. Eleven are for the French Navy.
FREMM frigates have a maximum speed of 27 knots and a range of 6,000 nautical miles at 15 knots.