This contract reinforces a long-standing collaboration with Naval Group, iXblue navigation solutions having already been selected by the defense contractor for French and export programs.
“The BRFs are an essential strategic component of the naval operations of France and its allies. They will enable the French Navy to operate at sea in theaters of operations far from the mainland or from support bases“, explains Benoît Kerouanton, Head of IXblue’s Navigation Division.
“Reliable, resilient and high-performance navigational data is therefore essential to the success of the operations of these ships, on which the autonomy of French Navy combat vessels and aircraft depends. Our Phins navigation systems and our Netans navigation data distribution & computation systems satisfy this need for reliability and performance perfectly, whatever the environment, including in GNSS-denied situations. It is a source of pride for our company to have been selected by Naval Group and to continue to play a role in France’s defense capacity by providing navigation systems to these four new BRFs.“
Based on Fiber-Optic Gyroscope (FOG) technology, iXblue navigation solutions already equip more than 650 surface ships and underwater platforms in 40 national navies and coast guards, including major programs such as the French Navy’s future frigates (Frégate de Défense et d’Intervention – FDI), the new Astute-class nuclear attack submarines and the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers of the UK Royal Navy, as well as the F123 (Brandenburg-class) and F122 (Bremen-class) frigates of the German Navy.
About French Navy’s BRF Replenishment Tanker
The future French Navy tankers, with a fuel capacity of 13,000 m3, have the mission to provide logistics support to the French and allied navies’ combat vessels. They will carry fuel for vessels, jet fuel for aircraft, weapons and ammunition, spare parts, as well as food. The ships will also be equipped with waste management solutions and repair workshops.
The BRF will be modern and highly effective double-hulled ships, which will comply with existing international regulations. They will replace the current single-hulled Durance-class tankers of the French Navy that entered active service in the 1970s and 80s. The four new BRF will provide long-term support for any blue-sea combat fleet (aircraft-carrier, LHDs, destroyers) in both liquid and solid stores: fuel, ammunition, spare parts and food.
Safran Electronics & Defense was selected to supply the PASEO XLR extra long-range naval optronic identification & fire control system while to all four vessels of the class, while Vestdavit has won a tender from Chantiers de l’Atlantique to supply the davit systems for the BRFs.
Differences between French BRF and Italian Vulcano
The French BRF will be slightly larger than the Italian Vulcano (194 meters in length and 31,000 tons full load displacement compared to 193 meters and 27,200 tons). DGA told Naval News the reason for this difference is the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier: Its air wing is significantly larger compared to the Italian aircraft carrier Cavour. The requirements for aviation fuel are greater.
Naval RapidFire by Nexter and Thales
In terms of weapon system for the self-protection of the vessel, while the initial BRF images (released in 2019) showed two BAE Systems Bofor 40Mk4 gun systems (one forward, one aft), it is actually the new Naval RapidFire by Nexter and Thales that won the tender (in which Leonardo with the MARLIN 40mm, Rheinmetall with the Oerlikon Millenium gun 35mm, MBDA with the SIMBAD RC surface to air missile system and BAE Systems Bofors with 40Mk4 40mm were also competing). However, an official confirmation of the RapidFire selection is yet to be made…
Main characteristics of the BRF vessels
Gross tonnage: 28,700 GRT
Displacement at full load: 31,000 tonnes
Overall length: 194 m
Overall width: 27.60 m
Crew capacity: 190 people (including 130 crew members and capacity for 60 passengers)
Total deadweight: 14,870 tonnes
Freight volume: 13,000 m3
Total installed capacity: 24 MW
Artillery: 40 mm guns
Polaris® Combat Management System