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Naval Group finalizes upgrade of La Fayette class frigate Aconit.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to a PR published by Naval Group on February 12, 2024, the company finalized the modernization of the Aconit, the last of three La Fayette-class frigates to undergo upgrades.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 French La Fayette class frigate Aconit. (Picture source: Naval Group)

This project, initiated under a contract from the French General Armament Directorate (DGA) awarded in 2017, aimed to extend the service life and improve the operational capabilities of these frigates.

The Aconit's six-month refurbishment included a series of dockside and sea trials to ensure the upgrades met their objectives. The program has equipped the Courbet, La Fayette, and Aconit with enhanced anti-submarine warfare capabilities, aiming to sustain their mission readiness for an additional five years.

The upgrades addressed various aspects, from obsolescence challenges to the integration of new technologies. Key enhancements include the installation of the SENIT combat management system developed by Naval Group, upgrading optronic surveillance, strengthening structural integrity, and replacing the Crotale anti-air defense system with the Sadral system, armed with the latest Mistral missiles.

Additionally, the introduction of a hull sonar significantly boosts the frigates' anti-submarine warfare capabilities. The sea trials confirmed improvements in maneuverability, despite the increased weight from the new sonar dome, and verified the ships' acoustic discretion and the successful integration of the sonar with the new combat steering system.

About La Fayette class frigates

The frigates characterized by their displacement of 3,200 tons (3,800 tons when fully loaded), a length of 125 meters, and a beam of 15.4 meters. Their draught of 4.1 meters allows operation in relatively shallow waters.

These ships are powered by four SEMT Pielstick 12PA6V280 STC2 diesel engines, producing a total of 21,000 horsepower, enabling speeds of up to 25 knots. They have a range of 4,000 nautical miles at 15 knots, extending to 9,000 nautical miles at 12 knots, with the capacity to carry provisions for 50 days.

The frigates can transport two ETN boats and have the capacity for 350 tons of fuel, 80 cubic meters of kerosene, and 60 tons of potable water. They accommodate a crew of 164, with space for an additional six personnel following upgrades.

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