LORIENT, France, May 16 (UPI) -- French shipbuilder DCNS has sailed the second FREMM frigate it's building for the French Navy into the Mediterranean for new sea trials prior to delivery.
During the trials the company, the French Navy and OCCAR -- an international organization which manages cooperative defense equipment programs -- will test the performance of the Normandie's main combat system sensors and the frigate's combat management system.
DCNS said teams on board the ship will simulate operational scenarios to collect sensor data and evaluate its electronic warfare capabilities and tactical data link. The tests will invove the use of French Navy helicopters, fighter aircraft and ships.
"This period of sea trials is an essential phase in the program: It is focused on the vessel's combat system," said FREMM Program Director Anne Bianchi. "Concretely, the teams will test all the software and equipment parts that make the FREMM one of the most versatile and capable frigates in the world."
FREMM multi-purpose frigates are about 466 feet long, 66 feet long and displace about 6,600 tons. They have a range of 6,000 nautical miles at 15 knots and a maximum speed of 27 knots.
DCNS was contracted to build 12 ships -- 11 for France and one for Morocco. The first vessel, the Aquitaine, is in service with the French Navy. The FREMM frigate for Morocco is also in service.
The Normandie is expected to be delivered to the French Navy at the end of this year.
Italy is a partner in the FREMM program and is building its own variants of the ship.