On 7 November 2022, Naval Group announced that the Amiral Ronarc’h, the company’s first Defence and Intervention Frigate (FDI) for the French Navy, had been launched. The launch ceremony was attended by Sébastien Lecornu, French minister of the Armed Forces, and his Greek counterpart, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos. Sea trials of the vessel are due to begin in 2023, and the ship is due to be commissioned in spring 2024. The remaining four ships of the class will be delivered sequentially until 2030. During this period, Naval Group will also produce three FDI frigates for the Hellenic Navy, with a fourth available as an option. Thanks to investments made by Naval Group, its Lorient site is able to deliver two ships per year. The FDI programme involves a large number of French and Greek partners, including Thales and MBDA.
The FDI is a multipurpose vessel capable of engaging surface, aerial, and subsurface targets. It will be the first French frigate protected against cyber threats, with two data centres accommodating a great part of the ship applications. The FDI also has a dedicated system for detecting and engaging small and close air and surface threats, including booby trapped boats. It is equipped with the Thales SEA FIRE multifunctional radar which provides long-range target detection and tracking. FDI is armed with Exocet MM40 B3C anti-surface missiles, Aster-15 and/or Aster-30 surface-to-air missiles, MU90 torpedoes, and a Leonardo 76/62 Super Rapid (SR) 76 mm L62 naval gun. It is able to simultaneously host a helicopter in the 10-tonne class, such as NH90 or the future Joint Light Helicopter, and an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) weighing up to 700 kg. The FDI can also host a Special Forces detachment with two commando boats.