French Navy (Marine Nationale) frigate "Courbet" is back in the fleet and ready for duty. It is the first La Fayette-class frigate to benefit from a comprehensive upgrade program.
French Navy press release – Translated by Naval News
Following a year-long upgrade, the crew of the La Fayette-class frigate (FLF) Courbet has just completed its refit phase. The refurbishment was used to modernize the combat system, improve the ship’s stability, reinforce its structures and renew the propulsion and auxiliary control systems.
After a series of trials and individual training sessions that allowed the crew to familiarize themselves with the new equipment and features, Courbet underwent an operational training course to qualify the ship for future missions. Under the direction of the Naval Action Force’s training division, the sailors of the ‘Courbet’ went through a series of exercises, progressively increasing the level of difficulty. This training sequence was followed by a missile firing from the new SADRAL launchers and allowed them to test their new underwater combat capability against a real submarine.
This very rich and demanding test and training period enabled the frigate to be operationally qualified.
Commissioned in 1997, Courbet is the first of the three La Fayette-class to benefit from the upgrade program that began in October 2020. A multipurpose combat ship carrying more than 150 sailors, the ‘Courbet’ can perform maritime surveillance, intelligence, special forces and crisis zone task force missions. It is designed to carry a helicopter and its detachment.
Based in Toulon, the Courbet is 126 meters long, 15 meters wide and has a displacement of 3,600 tons. Five vessels of this type are in service in the Navy, all based in Toulon.
La Fayette-class Frigate Upgrade
The French Navy’s first upgraded La Fayette-class frigate, ‘Courbet’, was handed over to the French defense procurement agency (DGA) on 13 September 2021 following sea trials. Meanwhile, upgrade work on a second frigate, first-in-class ship La Fayette, started on 4 October 2021.
For the first time in the French Navy, the Lafayette frigates will have some underwater combat capacities.The ‘Courbet’ received a KingKlip Mk2 hull-mounted medium-frequency sonar from Thales. It is the same model selected for the FDI frigates.
This ASW capability will require six additionnal sailors specialized who will reinforce the crew of each FLF.
The FLF upgrade program is intended to provide a transition before the commissioning of the new FDI frigates.The three modernised units will stay in service until around 2030, when the last of the five FDI ships is due to be accepted in active duty.