Frigate in new helicopter landing trials

March 12, 2012 at 6:24 AM
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PARIS, March 12 (UPI) -- The French navy has completed additional deck landing trials of helicopters on the new FREMM frigate, Aquitaine.

The trials involved NH90 Caiman Marine helicopters, heavy-lift aircraft, which recently entered service with the navy.

"This first deck landing with the new Caiman helicopter is an important milestone in the FREMM program," said Vincent Martinot-Lagarde, FREMM program manager at DCNS.

"The helicopter, together with the combat system designed and developed by DCNS, will bring the FREMM frigates unprecedented capabilities for a warship. Staff from DCNS, the French navy and the DGA (the French military procurement agency) stepped up their efforts to ensure the success of these trials."

The multi-role FREMM frigate is almost 466 feet in length, has a speed of 27 knots and a range of about 6,000 nautical miles at 15 knots. Weaponry includes MdCN cruise missiles, Aster anti-air missiles, Exocet MM40 anti-ship missiles and MU90 torpedoes.

The landing trials using the NH90 were required for the ship to gain qualification for deployment of heavy-lift helicopters. In January, the Aquitaine conducted similar trials with lighter aircraft.

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