Naval News learned the information from both the French joint commander of the Asia-Pacific zone known as ALPACI and a French Navy spokesperson. The intent of the Marine Nationale is to send one of its Air Defense FREMM (known as FREMM DA), Alsace or Lorraine, to participate to RIMPAC 2024. The frigate could even take part in a live missile firing, Naval News learned, which is a rare occurrence for French vessels at RIMPAC.
The French Navy has one FREMM DA in commission, Alsace, with a second frigate, Lorraine, set to be delivered by Naval Group by the end of the year. These are the latest and most modern frontline surface combatants of the French Navy. Their presence at RIMPAC would send a strong message about France’s commitment to a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.
The French Navy participation typically consists in the presence of a single, smaller vessel based in Papeete (Tahiti). At RIMPAC 2020, Bougainville, a D’Entrecasteaux-class overseas offshore support and assistance vessel (bâtiments de soutien et d’assistance outre-mer or BSAOM). This year (and as well as for RIMPAC 2018) it is Floréal-class frigate Prairial which is taking part in the large US-led exercise.
FS Prairial (F731) just came out of a refit period ahead of its participation to RIMPAC 2022. The ship received a new, refurbished, 100mm main gun as well as new communication (RIFAN 2.1, SIABOX, STCAT) and tactical datalink (L22) systems.