During the Paris Air Show on June 20, France and Italy representatives signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) of the four Horizon Frigates of the French and Italian Navies.
Their modernisation will be entrusted to Naviris, the 50/50 owned joint venture by Fincantieri and Naval Group and Eurosam, a consortium formed by MBDA and Thales. A formal contract will be signed in a few weeks, by Naviris, Eurosam and OCCAR, representing Italy and France.
This step follows a feasibility study phase, which was signed in 2020 by Naviris as prime contractor and OCCAR (Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation), according the the June 27 company statement.
This study was the first stage of the project and it was mainly focused on the anti-aircraft defence system of the four vessels. It aimed at identifying and analysing the modifications to be implemented on the French and Italian Horizon-class Frigates to increase their capabilities until the end of their life cycle.
This cooperation will cover the overall modernisation of the Frigates, with a focus on the anti-aircraft defence system (including the radars, weapons and associated Control and Command), the platform and combat system, and the electronic warfare system that will be common to both Nations.
Naviris will work in close relationship with its co-contractor Eurosam, its parent companies Fincantieri and Naval Group, and its other industrial partners including Leonardo, Thales, MBDA and Sigen.
Naviris will be in charge of work on the Combat System Modernisation (Anti Air Warfare integration, new electronic warfare, new communication, new combat management system, upgrade and obsolescence treatment, new optronic) & also platform modernisation (new ship management system, upgrade and obsolescence treatment), while Eurosam will modernise the anti-aircraft warfare chain (C2 PAAMS, new radars).
The Horizon Frigates were originally built between 2000 and 2010 in a joint program between Fincantieri and Naval Group, providing the Italian and French Navies with two first-class anti-air Frigates each. Within this context, the coordinated work of seven industrial partners led by Naviris will answer to the need of the rationalisation of the Frigates’ performance, availability and maintenance.
This contract marks the continuation of a long-standing industrial cooperation between France and Italy. The modernisation of the Horizon Frigates, carried out jointly by the two countries via the Naviris subsidiary, is part of this continuity.
Naviris, with the support of its two parent companies Naval Group and Fincantieri, has built with Eurosam an industrial project which is also a binational cooperation between France and Italy.
Main characteristics of the four Horizon Frigates
- Length / beam overall: 153 m / 20.3 m
- Displacement / full load: 6,500 tons / 7,300 tons
- Accommodation: 210 (complement of 190 + 20 passengers)
- Range: 7,000 nm at 18 knots
- Maximum speed: 29 knots
The vessel is designed for a range of missions, including high-intensity operations, all with reduced crewing. Horizon Frigates are front-line fighting ships with one highly specialised mission: anti-air warfare, also known as air defence.
The ships’ chief capabilities are thus airspace control over areas of operations, air defence command and control and anti-air cover for carrier groups and convoys. Horizon Frigates provide protection against high-intensity threats and attacks by anti-ship missiles.
They also contribute to air/sea control during military operations by providing air defence command and control of allied forces. They can also participate in public service missions. –fincantieri/adj/mhi (Pix: French Navy)