French Navy press release
The VFMs will help reinforce the security of French naval bases. They will be used for escort missions in our maritime approaches, surveillance and protection. The patrol boats will have an intervention capability (specialized boarding team) and a neutralization capability (weapons) to prevent hostiles from entering an exclusion zone. They can also be used in external air-sea operations to escort amphibious means and participate in the defense of a valuable unit at anchor.
The French Navy has chosen to give these new patrol boats historical names, recalling several major feats of arms and battles in which the Fusiliers have distinguished themselves.
They will therefore receive the following names: “Flandres”, “Melle”, “Longewaede”, “Laffaux”, “Bir Hakeim”, “La Crau”, “La Garde”, “Le Pradet”, “Vosges”, “L’Ill”, “L’Authion” and “Dompaire”.
For record, the French armament procurement agency (DGA) awarded the contract to French shipyard Ufast back in March 2018. The contract calls for the construction and delivery of twelve patrol boats – formerly called VPDMP now known as VFM (Vedettes de Fusiliers Marins).
The VFM has a length of 15 meters for a displacement of 15 tons, and can navigate at a maximum speed of 40 knots, thanks to its powerful propulsion system (4x 350 Bhp off-board engines). It was designed to operate up to 15 nautical miles off the coast. Regarding the weapon systems, the VFMs are fitted with one 12,7mm and one 7,62mm machine gun. Finally, it can embarks 8 personels including 1 pilot, 1 navigator and 6 fully equipped fusiliers.
They will based in the following French Navy homeports : Toulon (4), Brest (4), Cherbourg (2) and Djibouti (2).
The Fusiliers marins are specialized French naval infantry trained for combat in land and coastal regions. The Fusiliers Marins are also in charge of providing protection for naval vessels and key French Navy sites on land.