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French, Italian Horizon frigates scheduled for mid-life upgrade

French Horizon Frigate, Chevalier Paul trains with the Indian Armed Forces. Photo: French Navy.

French and Italian Horizon frigates will receive a €1.5 billion mid-life upgrade as part of an Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation contract awarded to Naviris and Eurosam.

French and Italian Horizon frigates will receive a €1.5 billion mid-life upgrade as part of an Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation contract awarded to Naviris and Eurosam.

It’s understood the co-contractors will integrate the upgrades for the Principal Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS) and Long-Range Radar (LRR) with MBDA France, MBDA Italia and Thales, and with Fincantieri and Naval Group for the frigate itself.

“This contract is a fundamental step for Naviris in demonstrating its capability to execute a multinational programme, and it further reinforces the role of the joint venture as centre of gravity in the cooperation among Fincantieri and Naval Group, also with the partnership of Leonardo and SIGEN (ELT and Thales),” said Naviris chief executive officer Damien Raby.

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Each of the four Horizon frigates is 153 metres long with a full-load displacement of 7,300 tons and has accommodation for 210 crew and passengers. They have a 7,000 nautical mile range at 18 knots and a maximum speed of 29 knots.

Horizon frigates, originally built between 2000 and 2010, are designed for air defence, public service, command and control missions.

The new upgrade will improve modernisation of the entire vessel and enhancement of anti-warfare capabilities as well as new weapon systems, associated command and control, and electronic warfare suites. Ship systems will be improved to defeat threats such as hypersonic, ballistic, supersonic sea-skimmer, high-velocity cruise missiles, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles and high-manoeuvring aircraft in a saturation attack scenario.

Eurosam managing director Eva Bruxmeier said the PAAMS and LRR is a unique system deployed on the four French and Italian frigates and has been successfully deployed on six UK Type-45 destroyers.

“This new generation of PAAMS and LRR for the frigates, developed and produced by eurosam through MBDA Italia, MBDA France and Thales and integrated jointly with Naviris on the frigates, relies on an enhanced missile, an upgraded launcher, two new AESA radars (Kronos Grand Naval from Leonardo and SMART-L MM/N from Thales) and a new open software architecture command and control system,” Bruxmeier said.

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