DCNS has announced outline details of Belharra, its proposed new-generation 4000-tonne frigate. The prime aim is to meet the strong demand for medium-size frigates among international client navies. The type will also serve as a baseline for the French Navy’s proposed FTI medium-size frigate programme. Five ships are scheduled for delivery from 2023 as replacements for La Fayette-class frigates.
This thoroughly multi-role yet compact ship will have serious capabilities in all types of warfare. The concept includes provision for anti-air missiles (Aster, VL Mica), anti-ship missiles (Exocet MM40 Block3), a main gun (76 to 127mm) and smaller remotely operated guns or a CIWS, plus torpedoes, a 10t helo and organic UASs. The ship’s extensive AWS capabilities will include both a hull-mounted sonar and a towed array (Captas 2 or the new compact Captas 4).
A range of variants will be offered with lengths from 118 to 137 metres to accommodate optional systems and equipment tailored to the client’s needs. Advanced modularity will make possible such innovations as an ops room with a multimission digital plotting table, the deployment of a variety of uncrewed vehicles, an IT architecture to accommodate big data from the outset, connected maintenance, and more.
While a 3D rotating-antenna radar will be available, this will be the first French frigate designed from the outset with an integrated topside comprising a four-panel active electronically scanned array (e.g. Sea Fire). The radar will be further integrated with a panoramic surveillance intelligence module (PSIM) comprising, in a single structure, most of the ship’s sensors, the ops room and the associated equipment spaces (see p65). Because the PSIM can be assembled independently, its sensors and other components can be fully tested in conjunction with a shore integration facility (SIF) emulating the ship’s entire combat system before it is integrated with the host vessel. This concept, already adopted for DCNS’s Gowind 2500 corvettes, makes for a more flexible integration process while saving a great deal of time.
This new core product for the DCNS portfolio combines modular design, rugged construction, inherent simplicity and operational intelligence on an unprecedented scale. Although it will be built to naval standards for maximum survivability, this new 4000t frigate will also be designed from the outset to ensure that it can be readily built in the client’s country under technology transfer programmes.
Belharra technical data
Displacement: 4,000 t
Dimensions (m): 121 x 17
Power: 40 MW
Speed: 27 to 29 kts
Range: 5,000 at 15 kts
Accomodation: (130 (+15)
Weapons: 8 x SSM - 32 x SAM - CIWS and/or Short-range SAM - 1 x 76 or 127 mm - torpedo launchers - 1 helicopter (10 t) + UAVs
Electronic systems: 4-fixed-panels or 3D rotating radar - hull and towed sonars