May 5 (UPI) -- French naval company DCNS is to modernize three of the five La Fayette frigates of the French navy, under a contract from France's Directorate-General for Armaments, the company announced Friday.
The upgrade coincides with the Ministry of Defense decision to build new intermediate-size frigates to maintain a fleet of 15 first-rank frigates during a transition period accompanying the delivery of the FTI frigates, which will start in 2023.
DGA said the La Fayette frigate modernization will begin in 2020, with the first modernized vessel planned for delivery in 2021.
The modernization program by DCNS will be to the platform itself and the vessels' combat systems. Platform renovations will include work on ship structure and electronic and computer systems that manage propulsion, steering gear, and power plant.
The combat system that manages sensors and weapons will be replaced by a system derived from the one used on the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. The tactical data links will be upgraded, and Crotale anti-aircraft defense systems will be replaced by two upgraded SADRAL launchers.
The three frigates will also be equipped with anti-submarine capabilities.
DGA did not disclose the financial value of the award.