May 12, 2010

Future of the French Navy: through the storm, but whitout glory

3,427 km (metropolitan), 378 km (French Guiana), 306 km (Guadeloupe), 350 km (Martinique), 207 km (Réunion); France possesses the second-largest EEZ in the world, covering 11,035,000 km2 (4,260,000 mi2), The EEZ of France covers approximately 8% of the total surface of all the EEZs of the world.

Personnal Strength:
2011: 41 500 + 2900 civilians. Figure expected to down around 
37 000 by 2015.

Naval Bases: 
Toulon, Brest, Cherbourg, Bayonne, Fort de France, Dégrad des Cannes, Port des Galets, Papeete, Nouméa, Abu Dhabi (auxiliary overseas base), Dakar, Libreville, Djibouti, Mayotte.

Aicraft-Carriers: only 1 !
1 Charles de Gaulle
(Charles de Gaulle). 37 000/42 000 tons, 261 meters. Designed by 1981/1986, built by 1987/2001, commissioned by 2011 after more than a dozen of years of work (mainly due due budgetary cuts). This famous & effective carrier have some weakness (underpowered, limited-size), with multiple problems (short-flight-deck, loss-of-propellers, mechanical-problems). It undergoes a nuclear refueling every 7 years. After modernization in 2008/2009, it must be refuelled again in 2015/2016 and in +/- 2023/2024, then +/- 2030, then to +/- 2037. With a expected service life of +/- 35/40 years, so it should be retired from service around 2037 (or at worst to 2043).

The PA02 (hypocrisy and chimera for the second French aircraft-carrier):
The French-Navy has been calling since some years (1980/1990's) the construction of a second aircraft-carrier (ideally a nuclear sister-ship of “Charles-de-Gaulle”). In 2004, with the choice of collaboration with the British, the French have chosen to use the British conventional design (CVF) for the French PA02 (CVF-FR). After 3-4 years of collaboration, the French decided to suspend the PA02 (ended cooperation with the English) and wait until 2011 (just before the presidential elections…). It now seems that a nuclear version were re-examined. Personally, I do not believe in the PA02 because: - The French navy can not afford to have simultaneously 2 aircraft-carriers with 60 Rafale.
- Either it will be built to save the STX shipyard (political/social-choices, to give 4/5 years of workloads to the fragile shipyards)
- Either it will be delayed again and again and will-end by actually replacing the "Charles-de-Gaulle", at the earliest around 2023/2024 (in case of early disarmament of the "Charles-de-Gaulle").

Naval Airwing (+/- 40 Rafale...very slowly...)

58 Rafale are planned to become the main fighter of the French Navy (48 have already been ordered).

- 1st batch of 10 Rafale F1 (M1-M10), in service by 1999-2003, will be modernized to standard F3 (18 months of work/per aircraft, 300 € million for the modernisation of these 10 planes) from 2014 to 2017.

- 2nd batch of 16 Rafale F2 (delivered by 2004/2008).
- 3rd batch of 12 Rafale F3 (delivered by 2009/2014).
- The 10 planes of the Batch 4 will be delivered by 2015/2019.
- The last batch of 12 aircrafts (5th batch, to be delivered by 2015/2020) is, currently, highly dubious, mainly due to budgetary pressure.

The +/- 20 remaining ageing SEM Super-Etandard will all be decommissioned by 2015. (With the possible sale of some aircrafts to Argentina or Brasil ?).

Naval Aviation:
- NH90 Naval: 27 planned to replace all Lynx and Super-Frelon helico. The first NH90 be delivered in 2011 and the last in 2022.
- Breguet-Atlantic 2, in service since1989-1997 (Flotille 21F, 23F). Actually 27 planes in frontlines (14 operational). 22 aircraft will be upgraded to last until 2030 (The remaining 5 aircraft be used as spare parts).
- Flottille 35F: 3 "Dauphin pedro"+ 8 "Dauphin" in SAR use.
- Flotille 24F: 8 Falcon SURMAR (4 planes were a former government aircraft) + few Xingu
- A expected 18 new maritime patrol aircraft (of the AVISMAR program) to replace all N262, FALCON and Guardian patrol aircraft)
- Flotille 4F: 3 Hawkey E2C
- Flotille 36F: 15 Panther

- + few Caracal helico, for SAR missions.

4 AAW Destroyers ... the strict minimum !
2 Horizon/Forbin

(Forbin, Chevalier-Paul). 5600/7000 tons, 152 meters, commissioned by 2010/2011 (with probably 30/35 years of service expected), should be retired by early 2040's.

2 F 70AA/Jean-Bart
(Jean-Bart, Cassard). 4200/5000 tons, 139 meters, commissioned by 1988/1991, are ageing (they SM-1 missile are now fully obsolete) and suffered from design flaw (overloaded, hull fatigue). With a 30/33 years service life hoped, they must be replaced in early 2020's by 2 new AAW FREMM ships (to last until 2050's).

+/- 8 ASW Destroyers... slowly replaced, in a one by one basis...
Up to 8 FREMM/Aquitaine ASW Frigates
(Aquitaine, Normandie, Provence, Languedoc, Auvergne, Alsace, Bretagne, Lorraine, the 9th ship is not yet named). 4500/6000 tons, 142 meters, commissioned by 2013/2022, with probably +/- 30/33 years of service expected, must be retired by 2043/2055. 

The remaining 6 ASW frigates of the F70/Georges Leygues class (Dupleix, Montcalm, Jean de Vienne, Primauguet, La Motte Picquet, Latouche Treville, 3800/4900 tons, 139 meters, commissioned by 1981/1990), will be progressively retired upon the commissioning of the FREMM/Aquitaine frigate's in the coming year's.

5 Frigates (medium-end ships)
5 La Fayette

(La fayette, Surcouf, Courbet, Aconite, Guépratte), 3200/3600 tons, 125 meters, commissioned by 1996/2001. Being among the first stealth ships in the world, was once considered to be replaced their conventional Crotales launchers by more modern VLS, but this was deemed too expensive and the ships (very modern in appearance), will never receive the VLS. With probably +/- 30 years of service expected, to be replaced around 2026/2032 by (at the best...) 4 or 5 newers warships (FXXXXIn service since 1996/2001, must be removed by 2026/2031. And maybe (at the best) replaced by 5 ships of the "NCF: Navires de combat du futur = Future combatant ships) project, the alternatives are currently :

6 Light-Frigates (low-end ships)
6 Floréal

(Floreal Prairal, Nivose, Ventose, Vendémiaire, Germinal). 2600/2900 tons, 93+ meters, commissioned by 1992/1994. Highly effective "overseas/cheap" light frigate/ocean patrol vessel, built on civilian standards. Originally with 20 years of life (now extended to 25+, even 30 years) expected. To be retired during the 2020's and replaced by ...

they have +/- 25 years services-life. In service since 1992/1994, must be removed by +/- 2020/2022. The French navy, to reduce costs, want to replace them with a cheaper and similar vessels. Existing designs for such replacements are:
- DCNS "FM400", a 4000 tons, 126 meters Frigates (a dubious solution, relatively expensive)
- DCN "Gowind Action/Presence": a +/- 2000 tons, +/- 100 meters OPV (maybe possible)
- CMN "Combattante-CL78": a simple and cheaper light-corvette/OPV design, 1300 tons, 78 meters.
- CNIM "MPV Multi-purpose vessel": a very flexible innovative catamaran design Warships, 2000 tons, 90 meters. (maybe possible, but a innovative = expensive solution)
But with the economic condition of France in the next 5/8year, it is possible that the French Navy is obliged to replace the 5 Courbet and 6 Floreal by a single class. In this case, the French navy could be tempted to retain in services the Floreal class few more years for permit replacement of 11 vessels by a single new class.

4 SSBN (a great cost...) 
4 Le Triomphant
(Le Triomphant, Le Téméraire, Le Vigilant, Le Térrible). 12 600/14 100 tons, 138 meters, designed by late 1980's, commissioned by 1997/2010. The last ship received the newer M51 missile from the beginning, the three "older" SSBN's will be progressively "missile-upgraded" during 2010-2015. With +/- 30 years of life expected, to be (progressively...and slowly...) replaced around 2027/2040 by a new generation of french SSBN (currently under initial studies).

6 SSN 
Up to 6 Suffren/Barracuda
(Suffren, Duguay-Trouin, Dupetit-Thouars, Duquesne, Tourville, De-Grasse), 4600/5100 tons, 99+ meters. Designed during early 2000's (improved and scaled-down version of the Triomphant's), to be progressively...and slowly...commissioned by 2017/2027. With probably +/- 35 years of life expected, to be retired by early 2050's/early 2060's. 
The 6 ageing (and small/cramped) SSN's of the “Rubis” class (Rubis, Saphir, Casabianca, Emeraude, Amethyste, Perle : 2300/2600 tons, 73+ meters, designed during 1970's, commissioned by 1983/1993, originally with +/- 25 years of life, now extended to 33+...), should be gradually retired and replaced (1 for 1 basis) by 2017/2027.
11 Mine-Hunters (toward 4 to 6 "mother-ships", for a full unmanned  warfare !)
4 to 6 newer 2000/3000 tons catamaran Mother-ships/Mine-Hunters ships

Currently under advanced studies (project SLAMF: "système de lutte anti-mines futur"), a 2000/3000 tons, 100 meters, catamaran mother-ship design, each able to carry 2 unmanned 20/30 tons, 15/18 meters SUV/MCM stealth-crafts. Due to budgetary constraints, very likely only 4 ships (6 is dubious...) to be ordered by late 2010's and to be commissioned during 2020-2025 timeframe.

The remaining 11 MCM of the "Tripartite/Eridan" class 
(Eridan, Cassiopée, Andromède, Pegase, Orion, croix du sud, Aigle, Lyre, Sagittaire, Cephée, Capricorne : 540/615 tons, 51+ meters, designed during 1970's, commissioned by 1984/1996), are to be retired by late 2010's/mid 2020's and replaced by fewer mother-ships...

- 4 Mine-Clearance-Support-Tender of the “Vulcain” class (M611: Vulcain, M613 Acheron, M614 Styx, M622 Pluton), commissioned 1986-1987, maybe partially/indirectly replaced by new modular mine-hunter "mother-ships".
- 3 Mine-Survey-Craft of the “Antarès” class (M770-772: Antares, Altair, Aldebaran, commissioned 1993-1995), to be retired around 2023/2025.
- 1 Thétis mine contermeasures experimental ship (A785 Thétis), 1988. Maybe partially/indirectly replaced by new modular mine-hunter "mother-ships"

Avisos/Ocean Patrol Vessels (the "swiss army knife"/"workhorse" of the French fleet for they very large "overseas" territories !!!!!!!!!!!!) 
1 L'adroit

(L'adroit). 1100/1500 tons, 87 meters. Commissioned by 2012. This OPV is the lightest design of the current Gowind OPV design family from the french shipbuilder DCNS. Intended to be a very "cheap" ship

9 Type A-69
(Lieutenant-de-vaisseau-Le-Hénaff,Lieutenant-de-vaisseau-Lavallée, Commandant-l'Herminier, Premier-maître-l'Her, Commandant-Blaison, Enseigne-de-vaisseau-Jacoubet, Commandant-Ducuing, Commandant-Birot, Commandant-Bouan). 1100/1300 tons, 80+ meters, 1970's designed french off-shore ASW avisos, commissioned by 1980/1986. Originally expected to be used for 25 years, but now converted into OPV use to last even 35+ years of service ! To be progressively retired during 2014-2019 and "partially" replaced by late 2010's by a dozens of newer french OPV (project BATISMAR:

4 Type P 400
(La-Capricieuse, La-Glorieuse, La-Gracieuse, La-Moqueuse). 375/480 tons, 54+ meters. Designed by early 1980's, commissioned by 1987. These remaining 4 ships will be retired by 2014/2017 and +/- partially/slowly replaced by few newer french OPV of the BATSIMAR program.

The problem is big delay in the BATSIMAR program (“Batiment de surveillance maritime et de réponse”= “Survey & response warships”, a expected new 1000 tons OPV). It should replace 9 A-69 aviso, 10 P-400 patrlo boats, 3 BATRAL amphibious ships, and very probably the 4 Auxiliary-Patrol-Boats ("Albatross", to be retired around 2015, “Arago”, “Sterne”, “Fulmar”). But at best, the first BATISMAR ship will arrive in 2017. In fact, it is clear that a total of +/- 17/18 BATISMAR new OPV must replace a total of +/- 26 ships.
It is likely that the new design of OPV chooses either one of the Gowing family (likely the "Gowing Control": 80/90 meters, 1000 tons). Don't forget that actually DCNS started to build (on own budget) the "Hermes", the demonstrator ships of the Gowing family. It is very likely that this vessel will be leased to the french navy for trials/evaluations in 2012/2015...

Amphibious Ships
3 Mistral (LHD/BPC)
(Mistral, Tonnerre, Dixmude). 16 500/21 500 tons, 199 meters, designed by late 1990's/early 2000's. Highly successfull & cheap french LHD design (built to civilian standards). Commissioned by 2006/2012, with probably up to 30 years of service expected, to be retired by late 2030's/early 2040's.

Due to any foreseable economic/budgetary constraints, a option for a 4th ship by 2020 is currently very unlikely (and almost officially abandonned in the french "defense white paper").

1 Siroco (LSD/TCD)
(Siroco). 8100/12 000 tons, 168 meters. French LSD designed during 1980's (Foudre). Siroco commissioned by 1998, with a probable +/- 30 years of life expected, but due to current (and foreseable..) budgetary constraints, it is very likely that this ship will be prematurely retired from service in the following year's, and maybe sold to the Chilean Navy ? (this navy was already buy the former Foudre TCD...).

3 Amphibious LST
- 3 BATRAL (Jacques-Cartier, Dumont-d'Urville, La-Grandière), commissioned 1974-1987. These three ships will be promptly removed from service by 2015, and partially replaced by new OPV of the BATISMAR program.

Amphibious Crafts
(9092, 9093, 9094, 9095). 200/300 tons, 30 meters, commissioned by 2011/2012. Highly successfull french amphibious catamaran design, derived from the L-CAT/CNIM design. With probably 25 to 30 years of service expected, to be retired by late 2030's/early 2040's.

A option for 2 (or 4 ?) further crafts is now (due to fiscal constraints) very unlikley.

(Hallebarde), 340/750 tons, commissioned by 1989. Spécially designed to be used with the "Foudre/Sirocco" LSD/TCD design. Likely to remain in french service until the retirement of the "Sirocco" in the following year's.


(Gapeau). 560/1000 tons, large french utilitary coastal LCU design. Commissioned by 1987. Likely to remain in service until late 2010's/early 2020's.

15 to 17 CTM (LCM)
(13-17, 20-23, 25-31). 60/150 tons, 23+ meters. French LCM design, commissioned by 1982/1992.
These landing crafts will be replaced in the next decade by the EDA project (Engin de débarquement amphibie)

Auxiliary Patrol-Boats (9, some are ex-trawlers)
- 1 Albatros class (P681 Albatross), to be retired by 2015.
- 1 Lapérouse a class (converted, P675 Arago)
- 1 Fulmar class (converted, P740 Fulmar)
- 3 Flamant class (P676, 678 Flamant, Cormoran, Pluvier)
- 1 Grèbe class (type Espadon 50, P679 Grebe), fragile vessel, dating from 1991, the Navy expect to retire this ship, maybe in the coming years. -
2 Athos Class (A712-713 Athos, Aramis)

Maritime Force (28, operated by the Maritime Force)
- 2 Patrol boats of the Geranium class (P720, 722: Geranium, Violette)
- 2 Patrol boats of the Jonquille class (P721, 723: Jonquille, Jasmin)
- 24 Patrol boats of the Elorn Class (P601-624: Elorn, Verdon, Adour, Scarpe, Vertonne, Dumbéa, Yser, Argens, Hérault, Gravona, Odet, Mahury, Organabo, Maury, Charente, Tech, Penfeld, Trieux, Vésubie, Escaut, Huveaune, Sèvre, Aber Wrac'h, Esteron)

Support ships (6)
- 4 "Durance" class replenishment tanker, (A607-608, 630-631: Meuse, Var, Marne, Somme). Commissioned 1980-1990, must be replaced by 4 new ships. The study designs are already under way. At best, construction would begin around 2012. But most probably around 2015-2020; We talk about ship of 40000 tons with containers capacity.
- "Le-Malin" swimmer support vessel (Le Malin A616, ex captured trawler, 1997)
- A diving support vessel of the Alizé class (A645 Alize, commissioned 2005)

Trial, experimentation and intelligence ships (3)
- 1 Monge class missile range tracking ship (A601 Monge), commissioned 1992, to be retired around 2025/2030.
- 1 Denti ASW weapon support tender (A743 Denti), commissioned 1976, ageing, any replacement expected ?
- 1 Dupuy-de-Lôme intelligence collection ship (A759 Dupuy-de-Lôme ), commissioned 2006, very recent.

Hydrography and Oceanography (4.5, more and more leased ships)
- 1 "Beautemps-Beaupré" class oceanographic and hydrographic research ship (A758 Beautemps-Beaupré), commissioned 2003. At 95% owned by french navy, and 5% owned by IFREMER.
- 1 "Pourquoi-pas ?" class oceanographic research ship, shared with IFREMER, Pourquoi-pas ? , commissioned 2005, 55% owned by IFREMER and 45% owned by the french navy.
- 3 "Lapérouse" class hydrographic survey ships (A791-793: Lapérouse, Laplace, Borda), commissioned 1988-1991.

Océanic assistance & salvage tugs (4, leased, but very efficient ships !)
- 2 "Abeille-Bourbon" class (Abeille-Bourbon, Abeille-Liberté), leased by the french navy.
- 2 "Abeille-Flandre" class (Abeille-Frandre, Abeille-Languedoc), leased by the french navy.

Tugs, Salvage & Assistance ships (From 10 to 8, and nearly half private owned...)
- 3 Regional-Assistance-ships of "Chamois" class (A668, 674, 675: Elan, Chevreuil, Gazelle), commissioned 1978.
- 2 Alcyon class assistance-salvage-tugs (UT711 design, Alcyon, Ailette), leased by the french navy.
- 1 Jason class assistance-salvage tugs (Jason), leased by the french navy.
- 2 Malabar class (A664, 669 : Malabar, Tenace), commissioned 1972-1976.
- 1 Rari class (A635 Revi), commissioned1985
- 1 Argonaute, leased since 2004.

These 10 auxiliary vessels are to be replaced under the BSAH program (Batiment de soutien d'assistance hauturière = offshore support and assistance vessels) by 8 Future AHTS (Anchor Handling Tug Supply) type vessels of 70/80 meters, 2/3000 tons, with 08/12000 HP engines towards 2014/2015. In this new program, 4 ships will be operated by the French navy and the other 4 by private operators (the contract must be signed by 2012).

Training Ships (smaller & fewer...)
- The training Cruiser "Jeanne-d'Arc", commissioned 1964, to be retired in 2010 and indirectly/partially replaced by a amphibious BPC.
- 8 Navigationnal Training crafts of "Leopard" class (A748-755 : Léopard, Panthère, Jaguar, Lynx, Guépard, Chacal, Tigre, Lyon), commissioned 1982-1983. To be retired through the 2010's decade, but actually any replacement Expected ?
- 2 Navigationnal Training craft of the "Glycine" Class (A770-771: Glycine, Eglantine), 1992
- 2 Sail Training Barkentine of the "Etoile" class (A649-650: Etoile, Belle-Poule), 1932 - A yawl Sail Training of the Mutin class (A652: Mutin) , 1927
- A ketch Sail Training Of The "La-Grande-Hermine" class (A653, La Grande-Hermine, 1932
- 2 Manoeuvers training and Instruction craft, the 2 older "Chimère","Farfadet", commissioned 1970/1971, will be replaced by 2 newly built craft of the BIM program (Batiment d'instruction et de manoeuvres= Instruction and manoeuvers vessels) by end 2010/early 2011. Built by the SOBEC, this new craft have a length of 24m and 86 tones and carry 3 crew and 10 naval student.

- 10 new small maneuvers and education crafts. Very small vessels of 8 meters and 4.6 tons, they will serve 6 naval students and will be delivered from mid 2010 to mid 2011.


3 Mid Shore Patrol Vessels
1 Type Vigilante 400 CL 52
(Thémis). 400 tons, 52+ meters, commissioned by 2004. Dérived from the P400 (1980's) french patrol ship. To remain in service until early 2030's.

1 Iris
(Iris). 210/230 tons, 47 meters, late 1980's built. Commissioned by 1996.

1 Osiris
(Osiris). 53 meters (former late 1960's trawler captured). Commissioned by 2003.

3 Mid Shore Patrol Crafts
1 Gabian
(Gabian). 76 tons, 32+ meters, commissioned by 1986.

1 Armoise
(Armoise). 73/93 tons, 32+ meters, commissioned by 1995.

1 Mauve
(Mauve). 62+ tons, 30+ meters, commissioned by 1984. 

In Shore Patrol Crafts
1 Pétrel
(Pétrel). 26 tons, 17+ meters, commissioned by 1985.

1 Eider
(Eider). 28 tons, 16+ meters, commissioned by 1988.

1 Arcor 56
(Cap d'Ailly). 25 tons, 17+ meters, commissioned by 1991.

4 FPB 50 Mk 2
(Callisto, Deimos, Telesto, Phobos). 23 tons, 16+ meters, commissioned by 2001.

A dozen of others small patrol boats
(Telemos: 13 tons, 1983;  Pointe du Hoc/Arundel/An Alre/Ile Dumet/La Varde: 10 tons, 1994; Sarriette: 9 tons, 1988; Cap d'Azur: 8 tons, 1990; Girondine: 7 tons, 1988; An Oriant: 2 tons, 1991; Auzance/Mor Braz/Lou Labech: 2 tons, 1981; Men Goe: 1 tons, 1991)

and few dozens of very small 5/7 meters crafts

2 Off Shore Patrol Vessels
(Jacques Oudart Fourmentin, Kermovan). 400+ tons, 43+ meters, commissioned by 2007/2008.

Mid Shore Patrol Crafts
1 Arafenua
(Arafuena). 100+ tons, 32+ meters, commissioned by 1992.

1 Esterel 30
(Suroit). 67 tons, 30+ meters, commissioned by 1988.

8 Couach 28
(Pitera, Kan Avel, Nordet, Haize Hegoa, Rakawa, Sirocco, Avel Sterenn, Lissero). 64+ tons, 28+ meters, commissioned by 1990/2001.

1 Vent d'Amont
(Vent d'Amont). 61+ tons, 28+ meters, commissioned by 1983.

4 Couach 23
(Cers, Sua Luiga, Marinada, Orsuro). 41+ tons, 23+ meters, commissioned by 1990/1998.

4 Plascoa 21
(U'marinu, Muntese, Alizé, Libecciu). 35+ tons, 21+ meters. Commissioned by 1988/1991.

And more than a dozen of 8-13+ meters small patrol crafts.

It is possible that I forgot programs or made a few mistakes ?



  1. Thank you for this rather detailled review,
    and congratulations for your blog in general, which is unique to inform so clearly, with round-the-world news, regarding so many countries.

    In this "French Navy" topic, it seems to me that you may have forgotten to talk about the new weapons : such as the SCALP cruise missile that should equip coming ASW frigates and Barracuda SSN, or such as the new MM40 Exocet with extended range, or such as the modernised nuke ASMP A with also extended range.
    These new weapons are not frigates units, but give a much greater capacity to the coming ships.
    Same thing for radars/ sonars/ torpedoes/ helicopters on board ...
    So that in fact, I really agree with your title - "through the (budget) storm, but without glory" (even if I would nuance "without glory"), but I disagree when you write "French-Navy suffered some falls capability".
    Clearly not, and rather truely the opposite. Each new vessel that comes in can do the job that none of the old units to replace can achieve (even if number is double).
    For example, today strike capability of CDG carrier task group is immensely greater than earlier Foch & Clemenceau task groups (even if both together). Ok, CDG carrier is available only 70% of its time (over several years), but when it is available, being nuclear powered, with Hawkeye & Rafale on board, new Forbin AAW and new Aquitaine ASW frigates aside, it clearly does much more than 2 or even 3 Foch class carriers could have ever achieved.

    With 3 Mistral class (and a 4th coming), amphibious assault capability (with new L-CAT, and new helos capacity with a few Tigers on board for instance) is also hugely improved (and may be too much as the French conventionnal army may not have enough capacity afterwards to all fill them up rapidly if they had to undock all at the same time :-)

    On the overall, number of main vessels is hardly maintained, ok, but new capacities of the new ones are so higher (quite easy as the old ships were or are so weak vs new technologies & weapons ... see Cassard AAW capacities for instance) that, in fact, the overall French Navy capability is quite significantly increasing, according to me.

    ... at least regarding big ships.

    But, if we look at the OPV ships fleet, taking into account that French navy has permanent naval bases in every ocean (only navy aside of US navy)and that France has to protect the 2nd largest EEZ in the world (right after the US) ... the coming lack of capacity for that matter is real and somewhat worrying ...

    Let's assume that in case of crisis, it will be easier and faster to buil-up a new large OPV fleet than a bigger heavily armed frigates fleet ... that may be one of the reason why the Batimar program was not the priority ... we will see.

    All the best,

  2. Hi Febus

    Yes, for new weapons systems, sorry, I have forgotten (hard to think at all!)

    When I say fall of capabilities, I was talking about lack of "presence"

    Obviously the new ships are much more powerful than the old. But a new ship, whatever may be the same place as the 2/3 ships it replaces

    And this maxim is even more true for the French navy, which must protect large territories! (ie.overseas territories...)


  3. Saw a new looking french warship berthed at Cherbourg this month named either J171 or J191, but I can not find any mention of it on french navy lists. Is it something that has been built at Cherbourg for another navy perhaps ??

  4. maybe a corvette for a arabian state...

  5. I think these may be what you are talking about:

  6. I have a half built model of one of the Tenace Class tugs that were used by the French Navy. I am looking for drawings for this ship or anyother in the class i.e. Amsterdam, Malabar, Tenace.

    Your help in this instace will be most gratefully received by me and will allow me to continue with my build.

    In anticipation
    I remain yours

    Patrick O'Sullivan