LORIENT, France – The first steel cut has been made for the new French FDI (defense and intervention) frigate, the Admiral Ronarc’h-class, which will be known on the export market as the Belh@arra.
Defense Minister Florence Parly attended the ceremony on Oct. 24 here in the company of Greek naval chief of staff Adm. Nicolaos Tsunis, whose government has entered into an exclusive negotiation with Naval Group to procure two of these vessels. Jane Coombs, New Zealand’s ambassador to France, and the Polish defense attaché also were present, indicating that these two countries may also be interested in procuring this mid-sized frigate which can be adapted to meet their specific needs.
The FDI is a 4,500 metric ton vessel with an overall length of 120m. Its reversed bow gives it a longer waterline length to better hold a speed of up to about 27 knots achieved by the Combined Diesel and Diesel (CODAD) engines. It can sail 5,000 nautical miles before needing to be refuelled and will be able to stay at sea for up to 45 days. The aft helicopter deck is designed for an NH90 helicopter. Its weapons include the MU90 torpedo, MBDA’s Aster 15 and 30 missiles and Nexter’s 20mm Narwhal gun....
Nice speculation, but I recall a pretty expensive option, if there is any substance to the interest. I doubt, Naval Group would allow to be built outside of France. Here is an old profile on the vessel: defense-update.com/20161018_belharra.html
Notice its a new product name as well, it's earlier monkier was FTI Fregate de Taille Intermediaire - Intermediate size Frigate
Greece signed a letter of Intent last month to become the first customer for the Belharra frigate - subject to financing - for two ships at an estimated €750 million per unit. French Govt signed a contract on April 20 for a program to build five for their Navy, on a budget of €3.8 billion which works out to be €760 million per unit. The two Greek vessels will be part of the first production run so Greece can get them at similar unit price.
€750 million works out to be approx $NZD 1.3 billion per unit in current fx.
It's not much bigger than the ANZACs, so not much room for future upgrades and for NZ$1.3 billion per unit we'd be wanting a lot more for our money. Personally, I can't really see it as a starter. The Korean HCX concept ship is too small for the frigate role in a NZ context as well, however if it was increased in size to around 6,000 tonnes then it would have possibilities. Having said that it is quite an interesting concept and will be interesting to watch it develop.
Both the South Koreans and Japanese navies classify their frigates and destroyers differently to the FYES navies. Tonnage wise what we would call a frigate around the 6 - 7,000 tonne range they call a destroyer and anything 4,000 tonnes and below appears to be a frigate. It just illustrates, the problem that exists with defining what is a frigate, destroyer, or a corvette. There is no clearly accepted definition by all navies for any of these names. The real question that needs to be answered is how do you define a frigate; by its task (mission), or tonnage, or weapons systems?