A few weeks after the first helicopter landing trials on board the FREMM Aquitaine frigate, DCNS, the French Navy and the French defence procurement agency (DGA) have successfully completed a new series of deck landing trials, this time with new Caiman Marine (NH90) heavy lift helicopter which recently entered operational service with the French Navy.
Having successfully conducted deck landing in January to qualify the FREMM Aquitaine flight deck for a Lynx five-tonne class helicopter, DCNS, the French Navy and the DGA organised the first deck landings of a Caiman Marine ten-tonne class helicopter on board the same frigate. As in the previous trials with the Lynx, French Navy pilots appreciated the absence of turbulence above the flight deck in all landing positions.
“This first deck landing with the new Caiman helicopter is an important milestone in the FREMM programme: the helicopter, together with the combat system designed and developed by DCNS, will bring the FREMM frigates unprecedented capabilities for a warship,” said Vincent Martinot-Lagarde, FREMM programme manager at DCNS. “Staff from DCNS, the French Navy and the DGA stepped up their efforts to ensure the success of these trials.”
The deck landing trials, conducted in daylight and at night, are part of the procedures required to qualify the FREMM frigates for deployment of 10-tonne class helicopters. In addition, the campaign was an opportunity to test the onboard maintenance and stowage facilities with a Caiman helicopter.
The Caiman Marine (NH90) is one of the flagships of Europe’s helicopter industry. It is designed for all types of naval and maritime missions (anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and anti-terrorism operations at sea) and will be deployed by French Navy vessels.
The FREMM Aquitaine frigate will leave port again in a few days for combat system trials. The vessel is scheduled for delivery to the French Navy in the third quarter of 2012.
FREMM, a major programme for DCNS and partners
The French FREMM programme calls for 12 ships — 11 for the French Navy and one for the Royal Moroccan Navy.
FREMM frigates are among the most technologically advanced and competitively priced on the world market. These heavily armed warships are being built under DCNS prime contractorship to carry state-of-the-art weapons and systems including the Herakles multifunction radar, MdCN cruise missiles, Aster anti-air missiles, Exocet MM40 anti-ship missiles and MU90 torpedoes.
They are inherently versatile to provide a response to all types of threats. World-leading innovation ensures that they offer unparalleled levels of interoperability and readiness. The contract to build a FREMM frigate for the Royal Moroccan Navy demonstrates that the type also meets the needs and expectations of international client navies.
Source: NavalToday Staff, March 09, 2012; Image: DCNS