The new CMLS decoy launcher was developed over a period of approximately two years at the Naval Group Ruelle site in Southwestern France. This facility specializes in the design and production of military vessels equipment such as vertical launch systems (VLS), helicopter landing grids, shaft lines or even torpedo handling systems for submarines.
Naval News understands that the project was started mainly for the FDI frigates. For the record, the future frigates of the French Navy (and Hellenic Navy) will not be fitted with decoy launching systems such as the Sylena by Lacroix or the NGDS by Safran: The first two ships for both navies will be “fitted for but not with” such systems. This situation may change according to rumors and maybe we will learn more during Euronaval 2022, meanwhile Naval Group has developed the CMLS so that the FDI would still be able to deploy CANTO torpedo countermeasures and thus still be able to defend from torpedo threats.
We learned from Naval Group that the first ship to actually receive the new decoy launchers is the first-in-class ship La Fayette as part of its mid-life update. The “light stealth frigate” as it is called in the French Navy was used to qualify the system. Tests aboard La Fayette were conducted between May and June 2022 and the CMLS was fully qualified in August 2022. The mid-life update program of the La Fayette-class frigates calls for the modernization of three frigates: Courbet (already modernized but not yet fitted with the CMLS), La Fayette and Aconit.
While initially designed for the FDI and already fitted aboard frigate La Fayette, Naval Group insists that the CMLS can be fitted on “all ships”. In other words, it is not a system exclusive to Naval Group ships such as the Gowind or Belharra: It is available to other shipbuilders.
About Naval Group’s CMLS decoy launcher
The CMLS is pneumatic launcher which can deploy up to six CANTO torpedo decoys. The typical configuration consists in two launchers per vessel. The launcher can be reloaded while the vessel is underway at sea via the use of specific tools.
The weight of one launcher is approximately 830 Kg and its footprint/dimensions in millimeters are 1096 X 1205 X 1437