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The frigate Latouche Tréville will arrive as reinforcements in Irini. It's time ! (v2)

(B2) France will deploy the frigate Latouche-Tréville in the coming weeks. An expected reinforcement

The Latouche-Tréville frigate escorting a ship during Operation Serval (credit: SIRPA Marine / B2 Archives)

A French commitment

The French Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly has just announced it during her back-to-school speech, delivered in Paris on Wednesday (September 16). " We have decided to strengthen our contribution to the European Union operation Irini, by deploying the Latouche-Tréville frigate over the next few weeks ". NB: This will thus be present when the command of the naval force in the area is assumed by the Greeks.

A condition for enforcing the embargo

These naval assets are essential to enforce the arms embargo decided by the United Nations Security Council. It's a " essential condition for a reduction in tensions and a virtuous political process in Libya “says Florence Parly.

More resources needed

This reinforcement is welcomed at European level, as confirmed to me by Peter Stano, the spokesperson for the High Representative, to whom I asked the question during the midday briefing. " We are interested in seeing more resources for Operation Irini ". This will also be the subject of the next force generation conference. " We need to have 100% of the means to have a totally effective and efficient operation ».

An anti-submarine specialty

The Latouche-Tréville, hull number D-646, is not the Royal's most recent vessel. This anti-submarine frigate (FASM), type F-70 (therefore designed in those years) has indeed been in service for a good thirty years (since 1990). But it is equipped with a Sigma 40 electronic navigation system, inertial with gyrolaser, integrating the various components of navigation (course, speed, position, etc.). This in real time. It has several radar and armament systems (see below) and above all a " well-trained crew, able to deal with all situations as one sailor told me.

A power of observation

139 meters long, weighing 4910 tons which can be moved up to a maximum speed of 30 knots, this ASM frigate has several radar surveillance elements: two for navigation, one for air watch, one for surface watch. -air, and one for fire control (according to the elements given by the Sirpa), as well as a hull sonar, a towed sonar (useful tools for monitoring the seabed).

Air surveillance

A whole arsenal normally used in the accompaniment of nuclear submarines, the protection of the strategic oceanic force (FOST) being its usual task. She also has the ability to expand her viewing area with her on-board helicopter. Usually it's one (or two) Cayman Navy which are embarked on the frigate (the Lynx having retired). But for this type of mission, more surveillance than combat, it could be rather a helicopter of the type Panther.

...and firepower

Finally, its firepower is not negligible: short-range Crotale missiles or longer-range MM 40 Exocet anti-ship missiles in particular, via MU90 torpedoes, the Simbad close-in self-defense anti-aircraft system, two 20 mm, a 100mm turret and four 12,7mm machine guns. Notice to amateurs! (especially Turkish).

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

A frigate operational on October 1

Leaving Brest on September 18, the anti-submarine frigate (FASM) Latouche-Tréville arrived in the area in the Mediterranean. She is committed since October 1 “We specify to the staff of the armies. This integration within Task Force 464 “ marks the return of France within this European Union operation. This deployment allows It is also up to France to have an independent capacity to assess the situation in the area ».

Updated on 7.10.2020 (box on the arrival of the frigate)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).