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The 2015 Navy model defines the forces required to perform the tasks involved in the "permanent protection posture", deterrence, support of the FOST, prevention, the protection of our maritime approaches and public service; as well as specifying the forces essential for engagement in one or more conflicts that require power projection. From the outset, the 2015 model has incorporated a degree of balance with our European allies. French "poles of excellence", which enable France to take responsibility for command of operations within a coalition force, can be considered as valuable assets. These are the aircraft carrier and its air wing, amphibious ships, SSNs and the mine warfare group.


In 2015, the Navy will deploy altogether:
a strategic ocean-going force consisting of four SSBN,
one or two aircraft carriers with a carrier borne air wing consisting of Rafale multi-purpose aircraft and Hawkeye AEW aircraft,
an amphibious force consisting of four LPD,
a group of twenty-six destroyers and frigates including four AAW and eight ASW ships,
six SSN,
overseas forces consisting of six surveillance frigates, eleven patrol boats and five light transport ships (BATRAL),
a mine warfare force consisting of fifteen ships and a command ship,
a maritime patrol aircraft wing consisting of twenty-two Atlantique aircraft and ten maritime surveillance aircraft,
about fifty ship-borne helicopters.

This represents a total of 80 warships, 130 naval aircraft and five commandos units

The Navy is already operating with a fleet of this size. It is on this basis that it is modernising, as can be seen by the introduction into service of the nuclear aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle with its Rafale aircraft, and the orders placed for Forbin and Chevalier Paul (the first two anti-aircraft frigates), Le Terrible (the fourth new generation SSBN), Tonnerre and Mistral (the third and fourth LPD), and the oceanographic ship Beautemps-Beaupré.The year 2000 also marked an important milestone in the development of the Navy, with the updating of Combat Management Systems, the modernisation of tripartite mine-hunters and the development of the new Barracuda-class SSN. The modernisation will continue in 2001 with the launch of the design phase of the new multi-role frigates. These will form the backbone of the fleet and will replace most of our frigate fleet, today made up of three classes: F67s, F70s and "avisos" (light frigates).The management of naval aircraft has also been subject to rationalisation. Support helicopter activities have been refocused, particularly with regard to search and rescue (in combat and in peace) and logistic support, and will be gradually devolved to a joint organisation. These actions will reduce cost of ownership and facilitate re-equipment programmes such as Rafale and NH90.

Ships of the French Navy :

Surface Combatants :

- Charles De Gaulle Class Aircraft Carrier

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The 38,000t, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle was constructed at the DCN Brest naval shipyard in Brittany. The ship was launched in May 1994 and commissioned in September 2000, following sea trials which began in January 1999. As a result of trials the landing deck has been lengthened by 4.4m to enable the E-2C to land and clear the deck quickly. The carrier was due to enter service in December 2000, but, following the breakage of a propeller blade during long-distance trials, this was delayed to April 2001. The ship can operate a fleet of up to 40 aircraft: Rafale M (range 3,340km), Super Etendard (range 1,682km) and three E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft. The ship will also support the AS 565 Panther or NH 90 helicopter.

- Jeanne D'Arc Class Helicopter-carrier

jeaneearc.jpg (94904 bytes) The French Navy designates Jeanne d' Arc as helicopter carrier (porte hélicoptéres). International she is regarded as a helicopter cruiser. Jeanne d' Arc was launched in 1961. In peacetimes she is used as training ship for the Ecole d' Application des Officiers de Marine (the French Navy Academy) and as command ship. Due to her age she will be decommissioned within the next years. Her tasks will be overtaken by one ship of the new NTCD class.

- Forbin Class (horizon project) Destroyers

horiz9.jpg (47046 bytes) Horizon is a joint programme between France and Italy. The aim is to develop and build a common new-generation AAW frigate. The Horizon frigate will also have anti-surface and anti-submarine capabilities to conduct an extensive range of missions: air defence as part of an aircraft carrier group, support of lightly armed or unarmed vessels or operations as a single unit. Four Horizon frigates will enter service with the French and Italian navies between 2006 and 2009.

- Suffren Class Air-defense Destroyers

suffen147.jpg (76734 bytes) The first French destroyers designed from the outset to carry surface to air missiles.  Three ships were planned with more to follow but budget cutbacks cut this number to only two. They have been significantly modernized over the years and should serve until sometime after the year 2000. They are primarily used as air defense ships for the French carriers.. She is manned by a crew of 355, including 23 officers. Armaments consist of four Aerospatiale MM 38 Exocet anti-ship missiles (fitted during a modernisation in 1979); an ECAN Ruelle Masurca twin launcher taking the Mk 2 Mod 3 anti-aircraft missile 

- Tourville Class Destroyers

tourville.jpg (82791 bytes) French Tourville Class destroyer of 4580 tons displacement, launched in 1972. She is manned by a crew of 301 including 21 officers. Two Rateau geared steam turbines provide a top speed of 32 knots and a range of 8000 km at 18 knots. Armaments consist of six Aerospatiale MM 38 Exocet anti-ship missiles; a Thomson- CSF Crotale Navale EDIR octuple anti-aircraft missile launcher; a Latecoere Malafon acoustic homing torpedo missile launcher; two DCN 100 mm/55 Mod 68 CADAM automatic dual-purpose guns; two Oerlikon 20 mm guns; two torpedo launchers taking the ECAN L5 anti- submarine torpedo; and two WG 13 Lynx anti-submarine warfare helicopters.

- Cassard Class Destroyers

cassard1.jpg (44827 bytes) The French Navy Cassard Class anti-aircraft frigates are assigned to the Force d'Action Navale with headquarters at the Mediterranean Command base at Toulon. The Cassard (D 614) and the Jean Bart (D 615), built at the Lorient naval Dockyard of DCN, were commissioned in 1988 and 1991.Two four-cell missile launchers for the Exocet MM40 are installed in a midship position between the two citadels.The Mark 13 Mod 5 launcher for the Standard SM-1R surface-to-air missile is installed forward of the helicopter hangar. SM-1MR has a maximum speed of Mach 2 with a range of 45km and altitude up to 18km. The Aster 30 missile will replace the SM-1MR during the ships' mid-life refit.

- Georges Leygues Class Frigates

geogesleys6.jpg (77686 bytes) French Georges Leygues Class destroyer of 3830 tons displacement and a crew of 218 launched in 1978. Two Rolls-Royce Olympus TM3B gas turbines rated at 46200 bhp and two SEMT- Pielstick 16PA6 CV280 diesels rated at 10400 bhp provide a top speed of 30knots; 21 knots on the diesel engines, and a range, of 13600 km at 18 knots. Armaments consist of four Aerospatiale MM 38 Exocet anti-ship missiles; a Thomson-CSF Crotale Navale EDIR octuple anti-aircraft launcher with twenty-six missiles; one 100 mm/55 Mod 68 CADAM automatic dual purpose gun; two Oerlikon 20 mm guns; four M2HB 12.7 mm machine guns; two fixed torpedo launchers and ten ECAN L5 anti-submarine torpedoes; twelve Honeywell Mk 46 torpedoes for use with helicopters are also carried for the ship' s two dual-purpose, anti-submarine and anti-ship Lynx helicopters.

- Lafayette Class Frigates

lafayette1.jpg (45769 bytes) The French Navy's La Fayette class multipurpose stealth frigates have been developed by DCN. The French Navy awarded DCN the contracts to construct the La Fayette (F710), Surcoef (F711), and Courbet (F712) frigates in 1988, and Aconit (F713) and Guepratte (F 714) in 1992.The La Fayette class incorporates a number of stealth features - the sides of the vessel are sloped at 10° to minimise radar cross section, surfaces have been coated in radar-absorbent paint and the profiles of external features have been reduced.The ship's surface-to-surface missile is the Exocet MM40 from MBDA (formerly EADS Aerospatiale). Two four-cell launchers are installed in a midship position between the two masts.The ship's surface-to-air missile system is the Thales Crotale Naval CN2.

- Floreal Class small patrol Frigates

floreal258.jpg (112545 bytes) The Floreal Class Frigates entered French Navy service in the early 1990's.

French Floreal Class patrol frigate of 2600 tons displacement, launched in 1991, and officially described as 'Fregates de Surveillance' and designed to operate in the offshore zone in low intensity operations.

Submarines :

- Le Triomphant class ballistic missile submarines

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Le Triomphant (S616) is the French Navy’s ballistic missile nuclear-powered submarine (SSBN), intended to replace the L'Inflexible M4 class SSBN's. The submarine was designed and built at DCN's Cherbourg shipyard. This first-of-class submarine was launched in July 1993 and entered service in 1997. The second, Le Temeraire (S617), entered service in January 2000. The construction of the third, Le Vigilant (S618), is underway and it is due to enter service in 2004. A fourth, Le Terrible is planned to commission in 2008.The submarine carries 16 vertically launched M45 ballistic missiles.The new enhanced M51 missile, due to enter service in 2008, will carry a warhead with twelve MIRVS, and increased range of 8,000km.The submarine has four 533mm torpedo tubes and has the capacity to carry a mixed load of 18 ECAN L5 Mod 3 torpedoes and Exocet missiles.

- L'Inflexible class ballistic missile submarines

inflexfr.jpg (32858 bytes) These ballistic missile submarines were previously known as the Le Redoubtable class (and are sometimes referred to as the modified Le Redoubtable class). But when the vessel bearing that name was decommissioned in 1991, they were renamed the L'Inflexible class, after the newest vessel. The other four submarines have undergone a two and a half year modernization overhaul in the 1980s which fitted the M-4 missiles, replaced the missile launch system, installed new reactor cores, updated the sonar, and improved quieting up to the standard of the L'Inflexible. These boats are scheduled to begin retirement one already retired in 1996, with two others scheduled in 1998, and 2002.

- Amethyste class Submarine

rubis6.jpg (45869 bytes) The French Navy operates six Rubis Amethyste class submarines from the naval base in Toulon.The first four submarines were initially equipped for an anti-surface ship role but have been re-equipped to the same standard as the later submarines for both anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare.The torpedo tube launched Exocet SM39 anti-ship missile is manufactured by MBDA.The submarine has the capacity to carry 14 missiles and torpedoes in a mixed load. The Rubis Amethyste's Type 1007 navigation radar is supplied by Kelvin Hughes and operates at I-band.

Amphibious Ships :

- Mistral class dock landing ships

bip1.jpg (37726 bytes) The BIP multi-purpose carriers from the DCN are a family of amphibious ships based on a common design. This program known in France as the NTCD (Nouveau Transport de Chalands de Débarquement/ New LPDs) has been launched in 1997 by the DCN Internationale. This carrier can accommodate aircraft/ helicopters such as the AV-8B Harrier II, JSF and NH-90 NFHs. Four kinds of ship have been studied : the BIP 19, the BIP 13, the BIP 10 and the BIP 8. The aircraft will be used as a support for marines while helicopters & LCACs (Landing Craft Air Cushioned) will ferry freight and troops.

Two ships will be built from 2002 by the DCN in cooperation with Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique, they will replace the Ouragan class LPD (Ouragan and Orage). The French secretary of defence Alain Richard confirmed the launch of the program during Euronaval' 98. In May 2000, the project has started, two ships the Mistral and the Tonnerre will be bought, and commissioned by 2004 and 2006 within the Naval Action Force based at Toulon.

- Foudre class dock landing ships

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The French Navy operates two Foudre class landing platform dock ships, the Foudre (L9011) and the Siroco (L9012), which were commissioned in 1990 and 1998.The Foudre class is capable of landing and supporting a mechanised armoured regiment of the French rapid deployment force. The three main missions of the Foudre class are the landing of infantry and armoured vehicles on unprepared coasts, mobile logistic support for naval forces and humanitarian missions.. The well dock can accommodate either ten medium-size landing craft (LCMs) or one mechanised landing craft (LSM) and four medium-sized landing craft (LCMs).The ship, which has a 1,450m² flight deck, can accommodate up to seven Super Puma helicopters.

- Ouragan class small dock landing ships

ouregan85.jpg (62169 bytes) Displacement: 8,500 tons full load Dimensions: 149 x 21.5 x 5.40 meters (489 x 71 x 18 feet) Propulsion: 2 diesels, 2 shafts, 8,640 bhp, 17 knots Crew: 211 Aviation: midships helicopter deck Well Deck: 120 m long (393 ft) Troops: 349 Cargo: 1,500 tons maximum Armament: 2 Mistral SAM positions, 4 40 mm AA LSD-type ships; also can serve as maintenance, logistics and repair ships.

- Champlain class small landing ships

champlain.jpg (78112 bytes) Displacement: 1,386 tons full load Dimensions: 80 x 13 x 3 meters (262 x 43 x 10 feet) Propulsion: 2 diesels, 2 shafts, 3,600 bhp, 16 knots Crew: 44 Aviation: aft helicopter deck Troops: 138 Cargo: 12 vehicles + equipment/supplies Armament: 2 40 mm AA or 2 20 mm AA, 2 81 mm mortars, 2 12.7 mm MG Small self-sufficient multirole landing ships intended mainly for overseas service

Air Arm :

- Super Etendard

superentendard.jpg (43408 bytes) The Super Etendard is a carrier-based single-seat strike fighter first introduced into service in 1978. It is an updated version of the Etendard IVM.The naval single-seater combat aircraft, Dassault Super-Etendard, is a modernized version of the Etendard IV M. Main modifications include updating of the weapons system through the installation (a first for a French production aircraft) of a modern navigation and combat management system. The aircraft prototype made its maiden flight 28 October 1974 at Istres (the Bouches-du-Rhône region of France). The French Navy commissioned the plane for the first time in 1977 and 71 aircraft are now in service on the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. The Super-Etendard will be replaced by the naval version of the multi-role combat aircraft Rafale at the beginning of the 21st century.

- Rafale M

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Rafale is a twin-jet combat aircraft capable of carrying out a wide range of short- and long-range missions, including ground and sea attack, air defence and air superiority, reconnaissance and high-accuracy strike or nuclear strike deterrence.The Rafale M variant is a single-seater carrier-based version for the navy.The Rafale M is scheduled to enter service on the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in 2001.The Rafale can carry payloads of over 9t on 14 hardpoints for the air force version and 13 for the naval version.

- Atlantique 2/3

atlantique4.jpg (36599 bytes) The Atlantique ATL2 has been in service with the French Navy since 1989.The primary mission of the Atlantique is anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, but secondary roles include search and rescue, mine laying and detection and long-range maritime surveillance.The flight deck is designed for two-pilot operation. Six liquid-crystal displays provide both pilots independently with the flight and systems management data.

- Hawkeye E-2C AEW

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Northrop Grumman has delivered two E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning/ command and control aircraft to the French Navy. France ordered the Hawkeye in early 1995 and the first of the two aircraft had its maiden flight on March 12, 1998, arriving in France in late 1998; the second arrived in early 1999. The two aircraft are now operating from France's new carrier, USS Charles de Gaulle.

These two aircraft are Group II E-2C Hawkeyes. France has ordered a third Group II Hawkeye to be built as part of a U.S. Navy multiyear contract that was awarded in April 1999 for a total of 22 aircraft. It will be delivered to France in 2003.

As part of Northrop Grumman's sale of the E-2C's to France, a team of French Navy officers and enlisted personnel came to the United States in 1997 to study E-2C operations and maintenance at Northrop Grumman's facilities. They visited Bethpage, N.Y., the program headquarters and St. Augustine, Fla., where the aircraft is manufactured, as well as E-2C suppliers elsewhere in the United States. Ninety-nine students were in the training program.

The E-2C Hawkeye's primary mission is surveillance. An affordable, proven airborne defense system, the E-2C eliminates the element of surprise attack not only from bombers and fighters, but also from ships and low-altitude aircraft and missiles.

- AS 565 SB Panther

panther.jpg (46125 bytes) This helicopter is a naval military version of AS-365 Dauphin 2, a civil helicopter made by Eurocopterin the 1970s. It rolled out in June 1987, as SA-365M Panther within the context of the market for replacing French Army's Gazelles. It was equipped with two Turboméca TM-333 (900 hp each one) turboshafts. The Tiger won the competition and the Panther was re-motorized with Arriel turboshafts. The machine was bought by Saudi Arabia. It is equipped with two Turboméca Arriel 1 MN of 760 hp.

The French Navy bought between 1994 and 1998, fifteen examples to equip its Floréal class small-weight frigates and Lafayette class stealth-frigates.

-  SA-321G Super-Frelon

frelonfr.jpg (37117 bytes) The Super Frelon first flew in 1962. The Super Frelon was produced in a civilian transport version and military transport, anti-submarine, and anti-ship versions.The French navy ordered twenty-nine helicopters to equip her ASW and transport units.Less than ten helicopters are in line in 2000. These helicopters will be replaced in 2005 by new ASW medium-lift helicopter NH-90 NFHs. Twenty-seven examples will be ordered to replace SA-321G Super-Frelons for transport and rescue duties.

- NH-90 (NFH)

nh4.jpg (45017 bytes) The program of this helicopter was launched in the 80-90's, in order to replace WG-13 Lynxs and SA-321G Super-Frelons of the French Navy, and SA-330 Pumas of the French Army Light Aviation. This helicopter is studied in cooperation between Eurocopter (France and Germany), Fokker (Netherlands) and Agusta (Italy). The various prototypes (01/ 02/ 03/ 04/ 05), respectively first flew in December 1995 (NH-90 01), March 1997 (NH-90 02), on November 27th 1998 (NH-90 03), and 1999 (NH-90 04 and 05). NATO Frigate Helicopter version will provide .Twenty-seven helicopters have been ordered for the French Navy.

Sources :

French Navy Homepage

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