Run Like The French

The first FDI floated. Naval Group

SHAH ALAM: Run like the French. Naval Group on November 7 floated the first defence and intervention frigate Amiral Ronarc’h for the French Navy at its shipyard in Lorient. It was floated inside the covered berth where the ship was built due inclement weather.

The first sea trials will begin in 2023 and the ship will be delivered in 2024. The remaining four
ships of the series will be delivered until 2030. During this period, Naval Group will also produce
three FDI frigates for the Hellenic Navy, with a fourth currently planned as an option.

A CGI of the FDI frigate for Greece. Naval Group

According to Naval Group:

The FDI is a high sea vessel. Multipurpose and resilient, she is capable of operating, alone or within
a naval force. She offers capabilities for all types of warfare: anti-surface, anti-air, antisubmarine and as well as for special forces projection. Bringing together the best of French naval
technologies on a compact platform, the FDI is a powerful and innovative frigate, designed to meet
the evolution of threats.
Designed and produced using the latest digital tools, FDI is the first frigate to benefit from a digital
architecture that will allow her continuous adaptation to technological and operational evolutions.
As a result, the FDI will be able to address current and future threats and to handle always more
data.
The FDI will be the first French frigate natively protected against cyber threats, with two data
centers virtually accommodating a great part of the ship applications. The FDI introduces the
concept of a dedicated system for asymmetric warfare. This system will enable the coordination
and conduct of the fight against small and close air and surface threats, including booby trapped
boats.
Strongly armed (Exocet MM40 B3C anti-surface missiles, Aster anti-air missiles, MU90
antisubmarine torpedoes, artillery), the FDI will to embark simultaneously a helicopter (10 tons
class such as NH90) or the future Joint Light Helicopter and an unmanned aerial vehicle (up to
700kg). She can also receive a Special Forces detachment with their two commando boats. They
are equipped with the new generation Seafire radar with four fixed panels, developed by Thales,
which, combined with the missile delivery system, offers unmatched area defence capabilities
Technical specifications:
 displacement: 4,500 tons class;
 length: 122 meters;
 beam: 18 meters;
 max. speed: 27 knots;
 autonomy: 45 days;
 accomodation: 125-persons crew + 28 passengers.

A CGI of the FDI for Greece. Naval Group

It is interesting to note that the first steel was cut in October 2019 (some six years after the first steel cut for the LCS) and a month before work on the LCS ground to a halt as Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) run out of money. It is also likely that the first FDI will be commissioned before the first LCS.
The latest picture of LCS Maharaja Lela taken on August 13, 2022. It appears no work had been done on her recently. Mindef

Each FDI is said to cost some 420 million Euros or RM2 billion. I will not say it will be comparable to the LCS as we simply do not know how much it will cost when the project is completed. Based on the ceiling price of the LCS which was RM9 billion, the FDI is just slightly more expensive.

— Malaysian Defence

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14 Comments

  1. FDI Belharra is a digital frigate. The platform is fairly new. At 400 million euros the meko 200 is a better choice

  2. Well….
    We can not turn back time. The FDI not even on drawing board when LCS program is executed.

    But, with additional RM3 billion to finish 2 ships of LCS, my wet dream is we can just bought 2 FDIs directly from france.

  3. When our neighbors steadily strengthen it’s defense (Indonesia with rafale,F15, warships, Air defense system) ( Philippines also in the mix now upgrading) we here just talk and no action ….

  4. Naval Group well known with their smooth supply chain.. equipment cataloging / verified supplier in line… If you follow it, it will settle as per plan.. Elsewhere for our LCS, it was known that our end user (RMN) themselves really keen to customized/change most of equipment (IPMS, Decoy Launcher, SSM etc.).. and our Local Content policy.. that at the end dragging the timeline due to integration issue.. variation issue..local incapability… and at of course.. money issue… which the Naval Group team could not advise more… Just my 2 cents..

  5. The Belharra/FDI hull design is very interesting. Not so much the Damen’s Sea Axe but more akin to Zumwalt’s tumblehome. Such hullform are known to be very wet on the foredeck but it does give far less radar signature than typical hull designs. At 4,500T it is at least 50% heavier than LCS tho its armaments doesn’t appear to confer any significant advantage over LCS (other than ability to fire Aster30).

    “It is also likely that the first FDI will be commissioned before the first LCS.”
    No surprises. That’s the difference between a program run by the OEM themselves and a 3rd party trying to be OEM. Plus we aren’t progressing for the last 3-4 years since the freeze by PH Government, so I’m not the least surprised that others have overtaken LCS.

  6. Guna – “we here just talk and no action”

    Maybe we should introduce conscription; fully mobilise all units and put them on a war footing; raise the defence budget by five fold; require all factories to devote 30 percent of whatever they’re producing to essential war items and make it compulsory for every structure more than 2 stories to have a bomb shelter.

  7. @mr.hyde

    The french military, industry & government are mostly on the same page on what their national interest is and the strategy needed to pull it off.

    Over here people are duking it out as the priority is in self/institutional/services interest rather than the national interest. Off course people can’t even agree on what the national interest is. Without a clear goals all we do is run around like headless chicken.

  8. “Maybe we should introduce conscription”
    Too extreme. We can start by reintroducing National Service but the real one as practiced by SAF and not the kiddie summer camp of the previous one. Then we will see more actions from parents rushing to seek dual citizenship/PR for their precious kids.

    When we do not have enough quota, those parents should be conscripted to replace their kids places. And then we will see another round of mad rush to get their dual citizenship/PR and leave the country.

    Using a boogeyman to scare the rakyat for action is so passe as some rakyats might actually welcome the boogeyman instead!

  9. “Too extreme”

    Everything said in that sentence was “extreme” – was being sarcastic.

    Zaft – “The french military, industry & government are mostly on the same page”

    Not only the French but many others; exporting arms is line with ones foreign policy and brings revenue into the coffers.

    Zaft – “Off course people can’t even agree on what the national interest”

    With regards to defence it’s generally know and agreed; in case you’ve missed it. To put it bluntly “national interest” is seeing how purchases can benefit the country in various ways [whether aiding the local industry; creating jobs or being a catalyst for other things] in order to decide what to buy and from whom; rather than ensuring the armed services get what they need based on requirements, cost effectiveness and commonality.

  10. Naval Group well known with their smooth supply chain.. equipment cataloging / verified supplier in line… If you follow it, it will settle as per plan.. Elsewhere for our LCS, it was known that our end user (RMN) themselves really keen to customized/change most of equipment (IPMS, Decoy Launcher, SSM etc.).. and our Local Content policy.. that at the end dragging the timeline due to integration issue.. variation issue..local incapability… and at of course.. money issue… which the Naval Group team could not advise more..We are too ambitious. Just my 2 cents..

  11. “it was known that our end user (RMN) themselves really keen to customized/change most of equipment (IPMS, Decoy Launcher, SSM etc.).”

    Never underestimate the value of supplies chain. One the supplies of critical item stop or reduced then the only option is to retreats.

    During the Falklands war The Argentine has a very potent weapons against the mighty Brits in the form of Exocet. Thought they run out of it and the french refused to send more as it is in their national interest to side with the Brits.

    I’m not saying that the french would embargoes us from more mica or Exocet but it much easier to get our hands on more say essm & NSM during a crisis.

    “Naval Group well known with their smooth supply chain.. equipment cataloging / verified supplier in line”

    The french navy like their SG, Spanish,Italian counterparts has a single suppliers. Thus the suppliers churn out ship like clockwork doing fremm then FDI then EPC and afterwards the blueshark to replace the fremm and so on and so on. ST churn out 1 class of ship every 5 years. We here however run around like a headless chicken. Too greedy, too naive with head up in the cloud not grounded in reality, too lazy thus always wanted a quick fixed and too self absorbed on own self interest thus failed to take into account other stakeholders which ultimately end up with everyone losing.

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