The French Navy commissioned the Bretagne in February 2019, the fifth of eight planned Aquitaine-class frigates built under the Franco-Italian FREMM (Frégate Européenne Multi-Missions) program. The first six units of the class—the Aquitaine, Provence, Languedoc, and Auvergne, along with the Bretagne and sister Normandie—are built in an antisubmarine warfare (ASW) configuration. The Normandie is expected to enter service later this year. By 2023 these six warships will be joined by two new air-defense variants, the Alsace and the Lorraine. Each Aquitaine-class frigate displaces some 6,000 tons and measures 466 feet long. The French ASW variants can be armed with Aster surface-to-air missiles, Exocet antiship missiles, and SCALP MdCN land-attack cruise missiles and carry a 3-inch gun. The class also is fitted with a landing deck and helicopter hangar for a single NH90 NATO frigate helicopter (NFH). Italy operates the similar Carlo Bergamini-class of frigates, and sister ships also are in service with the Egyptian and Moroccan navies.
By Eric Wertheim