TechFrench FREMM frigate takes down two drones over the Red Sea

French FREMM frigate takes down two drones over the Red Sea

Frigate Languedoc
Frigate Languedoc
Images source: © French Army

4:38 PM EST, December 10, 2023

The French FREMM frigate "Languedoc" intercepted two drones that had flown towards it from Yemen, suggesting likely Houthi rebel involvement. In this article, we will detail these circumstances and shed light on the capabilities of the FREMM frigate.

Reports from France revealed that their multi-mission FREMM frigate, operating in the Red Sea, successfully took down a pair of encroaching drones. This incident occurred approximately 68 miles away from the Yemeni coast, making it the likely origin of these drones.

The Houthi rebels, who have been active in Yemen since 2015, probably orchestrated this operation. Notably, these rebels have a substantial military range, inclusive of ballistic missiles, which they used in recent attacks on Israel. Their armory also comprises an impressive array of drones and anti-ship missiles.

Delving Into the specs: FREMM frigates

Resulting from the Franco-Italian collaboration initiated in the 2000s, FREMM (Fregate multi-mission) frigates are ships with a displacement of 6,000 metric tons. Although France initially intended to construct 17 ships, budget reductions caused this number to drop to 11. Italy encountered a similar situation, but foreign orders from Morocco, Egypt, Greece, and the USA plugged the gap.

Speaking specifically about the French frigate "Languedoc," commissioned in 2017, it has been upgraded to counteract submarine warfare. Its armament comprises a standard 76/62 Super Rapido (SR) naval gun, capable of targeting surface or terrestrial enemies up to 10 miles away, using regular ammunition. It can also engage aerial targets up to 5 miles away. This gun functions as an anti-aircraft weapon of last resort, similar to the triple Narwhal turret systems carrying automatic 20mm caliber guns.

Providing a more elevated tier of anti-aircraft defense comes from a 16-cell vertical launcher designed for Aster-15 anti-aircraft missiles. With a range exceeding 18 miles, these missiles can confront targets at altitudes of 8 miles. Their active radar heads provide a "fire-and-forget" mode of operation, implying that the ship's Herakles radar doesn't need to guide them to their targets. These missiles can annihilate targets by direct hit.

Further, the French frigate is furnished with a helicopter landing pad and hangar, a 16-cell vertical launcher for MdCN cruise missiles with a reach of more than 621 miles, an Exocet MM40 Block 3 anti-ship missile launcher, a pair of double MU90 torpedo launchers, and a towed CAPTAS-4 sonar that supplements a hull-mounted UMS 4110 CL. Consequently, this frigate presents a versatile structure that has evoked significant international interest.

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