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  • FREMM News/thoughts

    "EUROPEAN FRIGATE PROGRAMMES - FREMMs and neighbours: Europe seeks benefits of consolidation
    Without doubt the largest and arguably the most significant frigate-building effort in Europe is the EUR11 billion (USD14 billion) Franco-Italian FREMM (Frégate Européenne Multi-Mission) programme. The largest, because if all options are exercised no less than 27 of the 6,000-tonne FREMM ships are to be built for the navies of France and Italy, with the first export possibility (Greece) already identified."

    It seems abit strange that while the Europeans build ever larger frigates the USN focus's on building LCS.

    While it may that the USN has plenty of larger warships still in the French case, in particular, they apparently are replacing much smaller ships such as the nine aprox 1300ton full load A-69 class along with six F 70 class( As I understand not the first which will be decommissioned w/o new construction replacement.) and the two surviving F 67 class(one other retired in 1999).

    Any thoughts?

  • #2
    Interesting. Hadn't heard of these guys before. Looks like they're supposed to do a whole lot more than LCS. As I understand it, LCS isn't really designed with blue water operations in mind. The F70 was a deep water ASW frigate, similar to the Type 22. If the FREMMs are gonna replace those, they're gonna need some size. Why they would replace the A-69s with these guys is beyond me. I thought the D'Orves class were basically colonial patrol frigates, meant for overseas low level operations. A 6000 ton ship seems kind of overkill for that kind of mission. In fact, from what Galrahn's been saying about the LCS, it sounds like exactly the kind of mission where the LCS is supposed to shine.

    Just speculation, but perhaps the French found themselves pressing the A-69s into roles they weren't designed for, like deep water ASW, or battlegroup escort? Maybe they decided that they needed more versatility in the replacement ships?
    I enjoy being wrong too much to change my mind.

    Comment


    • #3
      ACG you understand the underlying reasoning quite well.

      However my point (I may not have been clear enough) was more on how the USN first tried to arrest the ever upward spiraling size of frigates culminating eventually with the decision in the 1980's to never build anothre ship of this type.

      Then subsequently in this decade builing a sort of cross between the late 1990's "streetfighter" (quite small)and a conventional frigate (quite large).

      While the Europeans have not only continued to build frigtaes but also continue with the ever spiralling upward trend in the size of frigates.

      And again it is true that the USN has not been able to arrest the ever increasing size of destroyers.

      Not to mention the fact that some European nations have been able to arrest that growth albeit, like the USN with frigates, by virtually discontinuing the destroyer designation in favor of the frigate designator.

      Or in the case of some almost completely blending the size and capabilities of the two designations so that it doesnt really matter what you designate them.

      This was first done in the 1970's for ASW/GP type emphasised warships but now appears to have extended to AAW emphasised warships as well.

      Although the UK may well have started the trend in the late 1950's with the Type 12 Whitby/Rothesay/Leander series and culminating later with the Type 22 series.

      Not to mention the not quite as a direct line of Tribal(Type 81), Amazon(Type 21) and Duke(Type 23) class frigates.

      LOL

      Maybe Im over analysing this or trying to analyse something that doesnt or shouldnt have to be.

      LOL

      Nevermind.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by ArmchairGeneral View Post
        Why they would replace the A-69s with these guys is beyond me. I thought the D'Orves class were basically colonial patrol frigates, meant for overseas low level operations. A 6000 ton ship seems kind of overkill for that kind of mission. In fact, from what Galrahn's been saying about the LCS, it sounds like exactly the kind of mission where the LCS is supposed to shine.

        Just speculation, but perhaps the French found themselves pressing the A-69s into roles they weren't designed for, like deep water ASW, or battlegroup escort? Maybe they decided that they needed more versatility in the replacement ships?
        The A-69's role - as I understand it - was a combination of coastal ASW and (as you suggest) overseas flag waving.
        The coastal ASW role is being taken over by the FREMMs, the "presence" missions by the La Fayettes. The A-69s are also out-of-date and under armed...

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by rickusn View Post
          ACG you understand the underlying reasoning quite well.

          However my point (I may not have been clear enough) was more on how the USN first tried to arrest the ever upward spiraling size of frigates culminating eventually with the decision in the 1980's to never build anothre ship of this type.

          Then subsequently in this decade builing a sort of cross between the late 1990's "streetfighter" (quite small)and a conventional frigate (quite large).

          While the Europeans have not only continued to build frigtaes but also continue with the ever spiralling upward trend in the size of frigates.

          And again it is true that the USN has not been able to arrest the ever increasing size of destroyers.

          Not to mention the fact that some European nations have been able to arrest that growth albeit, like the USN with frigates, by virtually discontinuing the destroyer designation in favor of the frigate designator.

          Or in the case of some almost completely blending the size and capabilities of the two designations so that it doesnt really matter what you designate them.

          This was first done in the 1970's for ASW/GP type emphasised warships but now appears to have extended to AAW emphasised warships as well.

          Although the UK may well have started the trend in the late 1950's with the Type 12 Whitby/Rothesay/Leander series and culminating later with the Type 22 series.

          Not to mention the not quite as a direct line of Tribal(Type 81), Amazon(Type 21) and Duke(Type 23) class frigates.

          LOL

          Maybe Im over analysing this or trying to analyse something that doesnt or shouldnt have to be.

          LOL

          Nevermind.
          I might be wrong - but I don't think the French have ever used the destroyer appellation - CT (counter-torpedo boat was the 2nd World War designation). Since then they use the 1st and 2nd rank frigate system, which actually makes much more sense than destroyer/frigate distinction we currently use.

          Warships across the globe have been growing in size since the 50's as you say. If you consider that the DD(X) is slated to 14,000 tonnes, the size of a heavy cruiser, then the comparatively modest 5,800 tonnes of a FREMM seems more reasonable.

          As to the LCS - it does seem to buck the trend. It is being watched closely by Euro navies (and the Israelis). I suspect some may (in coming decades) copy it should it prove to be successful. However, European navies don't have the luxury of the multi-mission DG 51's, nor large carrier airgroups and with LCS being of questionable value in a blue-water situation, larger escorts are required.

          It comes down to cost. 17 FREMM's would cost roughly the same as 8 Burkes. If you assume a 1/3 of vessels in refit at any one time - that's not really enough deployable hull to do all the jobs: ASW, AAW, Deep strike, presence etc.

          Put simply, European navies cannot afford ships as multi-role as the Burkes and still keep the number of hulls in the water up to acceptable levels.

          Comment


          • #6
            No the French do not officially use the common designators but Italy does and they are building the same type ships.

            And both Combat Fleets and Janes describe the French ships using the common terminology.

            I consider these two nations as the "blenders" I mentioned.

            And the French and Italians have so far been able to contain costs of the FREMM unlike many other nations. At least so far.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rickusn View Post
              No the French do not officially use the common designators but Italy does and they are building the same type ships.

              And both Combat Fleets and Janes describe the French ships using the common terminology.

              I consider these two nations as the "blenders" I mentioned.

              And the French and Italians have so far been able to contain costs of the FREMM unlike many other nations. At least so far.
              Controling the FREMM costs has been one of it more successful elements - much of the technology is now "off-the-shelf" (i.e Aster, EMPAR etc) without the development costs associated with it. The other major developments - Sylver A70/Scalp N for eg, were being developed independently of FREMM.

              The FREMM's do look quite good and, given UK/French cooperation on the CVF, might be a candidate - in an even more enlarged form - for the long term replacement for the Type 22/23's.

              Comment


              • #8
                On the LCS topic - how limited in blue water scenarios is it likely to be? Could it effectively deploy its USVs/UUVs in such an scenario?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Dunno.

                  Im more concerned with helo ops in blue water.

                  Time will tell.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Think of FREMM as VLS Spruance-lite
                    F/A-18E/F Super Hornet: The Honda Accord of fighters.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Complete information on this Joint Project programme between France and Italy. FREMM European Multimission Frigate

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I was out in San Diego this past weekend, and as I usually do during one of my trips back "home" (I was born, raised and educated there, and spent the first 12 of my 25-year career as a naval officer there on three different ships, one afloat staff, and one shore duty station), I wandered on down to the Naval Station to see what I could see. What I saw was USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) made fast to Pier One (my old pier when Chief Engineer and later, Executive Officer in USS Brooke FFG-1), and surrounded by four or five Arleigh Burke-class DDGs, of various "flights" and one Ticonderoga whose CO was playing the role of pier Senior Officer Present Afloat (SOPA), the guy who administers pier security, cleanliness, etc. to the hilt. In other words, despite my retired DoD ID card clearly stating that I was a Captain, I was not admitted beyond the guard shack at the foot of the pier. I suspect that might have had as much to do with the recent shooting on board Naval Station Norfolk, VA, because just this past summer I was allowed to walk the length of the pier and take in the sights. Things usually do ratchet down a bit whenever something like that happens.

                        Anyway, I was still able to eyeball everyone pretty closely and the comparisons in terms of size and visible capability are striking. To put it in terms that everyone can sort of relate to, one was reminded of a trip to the local car dealership wanting to buy a car that is the top of the line, all the bells and whistles, signature model in the form of Arleigh Burke and/or Ticonderoga; and the salesman, in some sort of deranged game of "Groundhog Day" repeatedly presents the stripped down, entry level model, in the form of the Freedom-class USS Ft. Worth (LCS 3) that is lacking even air conditioning in a town like San Diego, which truly has a so called "Mediterranean Climate" with all that entails.

                        Let's see if a little side-by-side comparison in terms of armament helps to bring the picture into focus:



                        Now, what is my point? My point is that the Department of Defense are not fans of the LCS, and neither am I. No one has ever satisfactorily explained what the mission(s) of this thing is/are, and more to the point, they (Navy leadership) don't even seem to have a clue in their own minds. Meanwhile, SECDEF wants to build the Navy a much more capable ship, but for reasons that passeth all understanding, the Navy is pushing back against that notion. All I know is that in the mind's eye of your typical person in the fleet, whether commissioned or enlisted, a ship ought to be able to do four things competently: 1) feed; 2) fcuk; 3) fight; and 4) flee. Well, with regard to number 1), I understand that the CO on one of these things has to bus his or her own mess table, so whether or not the food is palatable is sort of immaterial. The CO is not God, but he or she does have better things to do than wiping down tables on the mess decks. More to the point, this whole minimal manning concept leaves a lot to be desired across a whole host of real world issues, not the least of which is Damage Control and Fire Fighting. 15 to 50 people trying to deal with a mass conflagration on one of those things is a non-starter; period.

                        2) Who really knows what that means, but with a mixed-gender crew, one assumes that there is a certain amount of fornication taking place. What we really are talking about though is, is the ship and it's crew truly capable of doing everything as advertised. Is its weapons system and sensor suite truly "sexy" (a term that is often used to describe technical advancements that either are, or border upon a "Revolution in Military Affairs)? I didn't see anything on the waterfront that made me want to shout, "Look out, here we come!!!"

                        3) In a word, the answer is "NO!" As fitted out, there is no bang for the buck. There's barely a "bang" at all.

                        4) Now this is the one area where the answer is a resounding and unqualified, "YES!!!" She can certainly flee, which is good, because she sure cannot fight, and if one cannot fight, one had better be able to get the hell out of Dodge.

                        If, as OSD desires, the building program for these things is mercifully capped after 28 ships, and a new, more capable surface combatant is on the drawing boards, the one thing I would most definitely borrow from the LCS is her top gear. 40-plus knots is not a bad thing, and 40-plus knots and a stable combat systems platform, as the LCS appears to be, is just plain "sick" (which, in the parlance of today's "yute," means "good")!! Give me Arleigh Burke-like combat systems capability and Freedom-class speed, and I'll be your friend for life.

                        What you call it is purely semantics, and is often reflective of the mood in the Congress as it is anything. For instance when I was assigned to her, my third ship, USS Gridley (CG 21), was a guided missile cruiser. Yet, at various times in both her design and service lives, she was a "frigate" (which, frankly, made the most sense in historical terms. She had more to do with the fabled USS Constitution in design and intended service missions than she did with a ship like USS St. Paul CA-73), a "destroyer leader," and a "guided missile destroyer."

                        In any event, the future of Surface Warfare appears to be a somewhat bumpy one, and interestingly, the US Navy may just be watching programs like the FREMM with much more interest than similar programs have drawn in the past. If those ships prove to be somewhere between the LCS and an Arleigh Burke, and more than capable of holding its own in a fight, then we might well be seeing an American analogue before too long.
                        Last edited by desertswo; 02 Apr 14,, 17:46.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Maybe it is time for the Navy to revisit it's missions?
                          Mission of the Navy:

                          The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas. (from their website)

                          What is required to do this? Where does this have to occur? How long does this have to go on for? Define ship classes around those needs and then design hulls to fit those needs. Seems like putting out a vague ship design like the LCS in hopes of finding a mission or developing a system to put on board to make it useful risks too much time and money on something that may not flesh out or develop the way you had hoped. It's like a bunch of bureaucrats learned a few new buzz words- littoral, scalable, flexible, and just wanted to use them in a lot of reports and make something happen. Probably because I just view it from an enlisted level of functionality, but I've always viewed the way that the Navy achieves it's goals is thru defined missions: ASW, SW, AAW, Air Warfare, Nuclear Deterrence and support missions. You start straying too far from basics and it all gets kind of muddled. No reason you can't use small patrol craft for the littorals with a couple of destroyers or frigates to back them up, or a command ship/amphib to act as a mother ship. No need to reinvent the wheel.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Actually I think the British Type 26 (rather than FREMM) would be more up the US alley for such purposes.

                            Mixes the modular mission package desired from the LCS with ocean ASW and long endurance capacity as well as full-up strike capability; just replace Sea Ceptor with ESSM and variably add a handful or two SM-2. Although for the size of it the USN may just as well build a Burke with a mission deck in place of its aft superstructure VLS...
                            Last edited by kato; 02 Apr 14,, 21:16.

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                            • #15
                              The LCS is basically a glorified underarmed corvette. Its way overpriced for what it is and i dont expect to see big numbers out of them.

                              Lets compare US and Chinese procurement here. The LCS program has been around for over a decade longer than the Chinese Type 56 Corvette and has managed to produce a less combat capable, more expensive ship that will never be produced in the same numbers. Yes the LCS has amazing 'tech' but in the real world where one may sometimes have to shoot at things that shoot back i know what ship I would rather be in.

                              I get it, the US doesn't fight that way, the Type 56 would be detected outside its missile range and taken out with subs or aircraft so the advertising material goes. Except in the real world the Chinese have air cover and the brass cant justify the risk of a strike by air assets or the carriers out of range and there is no sub available and that convoy isnt going to do very well unless the ships tasked with escorting it can actually shoot back with something with greater reach and punch than a 57mm cannon.
                              The best part of repentance is the sin

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