March 29, 2018

Naval Group's New Intermediate Frigate (FTI) - Belharra Design: 5 Ships on Order


The sleek, stealthy configuration and other traits of the FTI-Belharra frigate (below) may influence Australia's Future Frigate SEA 5000 Project. This is particularly the case if a future Fincantieri/Naval Group alliance wins the Future Frigate competition, with the winner expected to be announced in June 2018


The following is a translated and summarized report of March 21, 2018, from the "ouest-france" (West France) website:

Naval group. In Brest, Thales will take care of the sonars of the future frigate

Naval group (formerly DCNS) is designing and will soon start building five new intermediate frigates (in French Frégates de taille intermédiaire (FTIs) that will be specialized in anti-submarine warfare, "self-defense" [surface and air warfare] capabilities and can carry special forces troops.

Within this project Thales’ complex in Brest will develop and supply sonar and other systems. The FTI frigate project carries the more compelling name "Belharra" (Giant Wave)Belharra may also be the first ship of class name?

The frigate is will dispalce about 4,000, making it smaller than the 6,000 tonne FREMM that Naval Group already builds. [Naval-technology advises: Overall length and midship beams of the ship are 122m and 17.7m respectively. With a displacement of approximately 4,200t, the frigate will carry up to 150 personnel, including 110 crew and 15 [in the] helicopter detachment.]

The FTI must be delivered in 2023 for admission to active service in 2025. The Lorient, France, site will be responsible for the final assembly, as is the case for the [multimission FREMMS?] already  being delivered.

The contract, awarded by France’s Directorate General of Armaments, provides for the construction of five FTIs for the French Navy (with the five costing a total of about 4 Billion euros).


MARINELOG, March 26, 2018 reports - Rolls-Royce has received its first order for the new 16-cylinder engines in its MTU Series 8000 range. French shipbuilder Naval Group (known as DCNS until 2017) has ordered twenty MTU 16V 8000 M91L engines, each delivering up to 8,000 kW of mechanical power. [Four will be installed in each of the] French Navy's five new FTI-type...medium-sized frigates) from 2023 onwards. The engines are due to ship between the end of 2020 and 2027.

Five of these mid-size frigates will be built by Naval Group and its suppliers by 2030. (Artwork by Naval Group via ouest-france)

The Naval Group Youtube above, was uploaded on December 23, 2016 and demonstrates the FTI-Belharra frigate's many capabilities. 

In the frigate's 2016 stage of development the Youtube description was: "On the occasion of the Euronaval Exhibition [2016] in Paris-Le Bourget, DCNS [now Naval Group] unveils BELH@RRA®, the new front-line digital frigate dedicated to the international market and which renews the heavily-armed 4,000-tonne frigate segment. The new heavily-armed frigate made for the international market

With the BELH@RRA® frigate, Naval Group intends to continue the success enjoyed by La Fayette-class frigates, a reference on the naval defence market with over twenty units sold to four navies around the world. Naval Group completes its product line by positioning a latest-generation vessel between the 6,000-tonne FREMM multi-mission frigate segment and that of the 2,500- to 3,000-tonne GOWIND®corvettes.

With the BELH@RRA® frigate, Naval Group responds to the expectations of navies looking for a compact frigate, capable of ensuring long-range missions, operating alone or embedded in a naval force, on the high seas or as part of coastal surveillance missions in a dense and hostile environment.

The new BELH@RRA® frigate offers operational intelligence that is unequalled on the market, in addition to a modular design, robustness and simplified use, which are all the fruit of the technological evolutions of the last few years. Ten years after the first design studies for the FREMM multi-mission frigate, Naval Group’s latest frigate also capitalises on the experience of the French Navy with this vessel across a large number of operational theatres.

Thanks to the architecture and versatility of Naval Group’s SETIS® combat-management system, proven on the FREMM frigates and GOWIND® corvettes, the BELH@RRA ® frigate will respond to the specific needs of client navies in all areas of warfare, whilst at the same time offering significant platform modularity to increase vessel payload or autonomy. The new frigate will offer cutting-edge performance for submarine warfare, an unprecedented aircraft detection capability and strengthened air-surface warfare capacities; a multi-mission foundation to which capacities responding to new threats such as asymmetric warfare or cyber-defence will also be added.

The first frigate for “digital natives” Resolutely oriented towards future operators in command of vessels beyond 2020, the BELH@RRA® frigate benefits from digital technologies. These endow it with greater performance for data processing and threat detection whilst at the same time allowing the crew to concentrate on tasks with the most added value. The development of digital technologies guarantees the upgradeability of the vessel throughout its life-cycle. For a period of almost forty years, the equipment and systems will be incrementally modernised to adapt to evolutions in the operational context, future threats and the arrival of new technologies.

The BELH@RRA® in its French-Navy version, a programme that is already under way Naval Group already offers a French-Navy version of the new BELH@RRA ® frigate in the frame of the FTI (intermediate-size frigate) programme conducted by the French Procurement Agency (DGA) on behalf of the French Navy. For the French-Navy version, the BELH@RRA ® frigate is designed to satisfy France’s needs as defined by the French Ministry of Defence: a front-line frigate for anti-submarine warfare of a displacement of 4,000 tonnes equipped with widened self-defence and commando-projection capacities.

Last but not least, it integrates the Thales Sea Fire® four flat antenna radar and is equipped with ASTER® 30 missiles from MBDA. * Naval Group has named its new frigate BELH@RRA® in reference to Europe’s only giant wave: the Belharra. The first “a” transformed into an @ makes reference to the highly digital nature of the frigate proposed by Naval Group.”


Anonymous said...

Wave piercing bow seems to be in for surface ships just as they are with pleasure sail catamarans. There goes a very wet front deck in heavy seas for dubious gains in RCS.

Peter Coates said...


France has long been involved in wave piercing "Tumblehome" bows for large warships.

Although the Zumwalt is much larger it may be a test bunny re-introducing this approach.



Anonymous said...

It is unclear how those designs can overcome laws of physics, loss of volume equals loss of buoyancy and impacts on seakeeping abilities.
Personally I am impressed with the new Russian project 22160 which has an open water hull design, much better than the Buyan-M.

Anonymous said...

For me the bow is less important compared to the rest of the hull. On Zumwalt-class hull sides slope inward above the waterline while on the French design this is limited to the bow area. Another extrem wave piercing design is the X-bow.
A conventional V-shaped hull will counter a ship rolling during a turn by offering more buoyancy.


Peter Coates said...

Thanks KQN and MHalblaub

In major storms, or other emergencies, ship designers may rue the day they decided to depart from designing conventional V shaped hulls.

Even light destroyers with V shaped hulls capsized (were blown over and swamped) by Cyclone Cobra in the Pacific (WWII 1944)