After three weeks of trials at sea, the first-of-class Aquitaine multimission frigate has returned to dock. The trials were a first opportunity to demonstrate the frigate's impressive seakeeping qualities. Its manoeuvrability and propulsion system performance met especially the customer's highest specifications.
FREMM Aquitaine's crew comprised French Navy personnel, customer representatives, employees of DCNS and its partners. The chief objective of the mission was to demonstrate the frigate's seakeeping and other nautical qualities and validate the performance of its propulsion and navigation systems.
"These initial sea trials with the first-of-class Aquitaine went very well indeed," says Vincent Martinot-Lagarde, FREMM programme manager. "The objectives of this first period of sea trials were reached, with more than hundred tests successful. Te propulsion and manoeuvrability tests performed exactly as we predicted and in line with the customer's expectations."
These first tests in the ship's 'natural environment' focused indeed on the two key elements of its performance: propulsion, manoeuvrability, and the navigation system. Over 100 tests were conducted successfully. The FREMM high-performance and state-of-the-art hybrid propulsion system (CODLOG : Combined Diesel eLectric or Gas) met the expectations. The Aquitaine was taken to its maximum speed of 27 knots. At this speed, it still had a considerable amount of power in reserve. During manoeuvrability tests, the ship also performed in line with the customer's requirements. In particular, its turning circle and stopping distance were better than specification.
For DCNS, these first sea trials were a dual success. Not only did DCNS exceed the initial objectives of the mission, but the campaign also served to validate the overall work method devised for the FREMM programme, including the shore integration facility for warship exploitation systems. This facility simulates navigation and platform management and made a significant contribution to the smooth execution of the trials. Moreover, it also played an important role in helping the French Navy crew to fully familiarise themselves with the vessel before putting to sea.
"These first results are extremely positive and will help us to offer our export customers high levels of performance," continues Vincent Martinot-Lagarde. "By demonstrating the high quality of our upstream work, the entire process has been validated." An important milestone has been reached with these successful trials, which are further proof that the DCNS FREMM frigate is an extremely promising and competitive solution.
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