PARIS - The French Navy has awarded DCNS a five-year maintenance contract worth more than 60 million euros ($80 million) for five Lafayette class frigates, the naval systems company said in a Jan. 17 statement.
As part of DCNS’ contract with the French Navy, the Lafayette-class frigate Surcouf, above, will undergo a major overhaul in dry dock at the end of March. (Wikipedia)
Under the contract signed Dec. 17, which runs from 2011-15, DCNS will be responsible for the maintenance in operational condition of the Aconit, Courbet, Guépratte, Lafayette and Surcouf frigates at the Toulon naval base, the company said.
The Surcouf will be the first to undergo a major overhaul in dry dock at the end of March, a DCNS spokeswoman said.
"The maintenance in operational condition of these frigates requires industrial resources and know-how that DCNS can offer in a complete manner to the Navy," said Thierry Kalanquin, director of services at DCNS.
The contract was put out to tender, with French companies STX France and CNNMO understood to have taken part in the bidding.
DCNS will assign an area of shipyard and 40 specialist staff dedicated to the Lafayette contract, rising to 150 personnel at peak periods of activity, the spokeswoman said. Five major overhauls and 18 intermediate services are included in the deal. DCNS will be able to work on one ship in dry dock, and one ship moored at the quayside.
The Navy chief of staff, Adm. Pierre-François Forissier, has said the readiness rate of surface ships and submarines has risen to an average 73 percent compared to below 60 percent 15 years ago, lifted by the maintenance contracts signed with industry.
The Lafayette is a 125-meter, 3,600-ton patrol and escort frigate, with a crew of 153 and armed with a 100mm canon and two 20mm guns, eight Exocet MM-40 antiship missiles and a short range Crotale anti-air missile.