The French Navy is experimenting with dual crews with two FREMM Frigates: Aquitaine in Brest (Atlantic fleet) and Languedoc in Toulon (Mediterranean fleet).
Crew A and crew B (each consisting of 109 sailors) will alternate every 4 months, allowing sailors to retain and develop their skills on a professional level while being able to have more freedom (in terms of schedule) on a personal level. The shift to a dual crew concept will also increase the operational availability of the Aquitaine-class: They are expected to be able to spend 50% more days at sea (FREMM frigate typically spent 110 days at sea before the adoption of the dual crew concept). Another expected benefit is that the crews will be more rested, therefore more operationally efficient when going back to sea (and less prone to committing mistakes in their tasks).
While the French Navy has been using the dual crew concept for its submarine force (both SSN and SSBN) for a long time, it is the first time it is adopting the concept for surface vessels.
The U.S. Navy is already using dual crews for surface combatant: Littoral Combat Ships of both classes benefit from the dual crew concept.
FREMM, designed and developed by Naval Group, is a stealth, versatile and enduring surface combatant with advanced automation. Its main missions are the control of a zone of maritime operation, anti surface (ASuW) and anti submarine (ASW) warfare, precision deep strike with naval cruise missile (it is the only class of NATO vessel in Europe with the capability to launch land attack cruise missiles from surface vessels), the deployment and support of special forces…
The sixth and final anti-submarine warfare (ASW) variant FREMM for the French Navy, Normandie, was delivered in mid-July. The French Navy is set to received two more FREMM, optimized for Anti-Air Warfare: Alsace and Lorraine. These frigates will be known as FREMM DA.
FREMM frigates technical characteristics
Heavily armed, the Aquitaine-class FREMM frigate deploys advanced equipment and weapon systems, integrating the SETIS combat management system as well as the Herakles multi-function radar, the naval cruise missile (NCM), the Aster and Exocet MM40 missiles and MU 90 torpedoes.
- Overall length: 142 metres
- Width: 20 metres
- Displacement: 6,000 tonnes
- Max. speed: 27 knots
- Implementation: 123 sailors (among whom 14 dedicated to the helicopter detachment)
- Endurance: 45 days