DCNS recently announced a EUR 310 million (currently about $462 million) set of multi-year contracts to maintain 22 of the French Navy’s ships. The firm has been providing support to the French Navy for a long time, though it has operated as state-owned DCN for many of those deals. They are characterized as “through-life support” (TLS), even though they are periodic rather than continuing to the vessel’s out of service dates.
In October 2005, the French Navy’s maintenance contracts continued a shift toward performance-based logistics, via a pair of EUR 288.5 million contracts to DCN: a 3.5 year effort to support a variety of surface ships, plus another to support for one of France’s Triomphant class ballistic missile submarines.
The 2009 contracts are issued to DCN’s successor firm DCNS, which is still majority-owned by the French state. They cover a wider array of ships.
The new EUR 250 million frigate contract, calls for “through life support” services for front-line fighting ships. Fully 25% of that budget is for upgrades to their combat systems, launch systems including missile launchers, gun turrets, etc.; and the modernization of other shipboard systems and equipment. Work will be performed at the Brest shipyard on the Atlantic coast, and at the Toulon shipyard on the Mediterranean, over a period of 6 years.
According to the DCNS release, the contract covers the helicopter cruiser Jeanne d’Arc; 2 Type F67 Tourville class ASW frigates (Tourville and De Grasse); 7 slightly newer Type F70 Georges Leygues class ASW frigates (Georges Leygues, Dupleix, Jean de Vienne, La Motte-Picquet, Latouche- Treville, Montcalm, and Primauguet), 2 Type F70-AA Cassard class anti-air warfare frigates (Cassard and Jean Bart), and the 9 remaining Type A-69 D’estienne D’Orves class coastal patrol corvettes (Commandant Bouan, Commandant Birot, Enseigne de vaisseau Jacoubet, Commandant Ducuing, Lieutenant de vaisseau Le Henaff, Premier maitre l’Her, Commandant Blaison, Commandant l’Herminier and Lieutenant de vaisseau Lavallee).
It also covers France’s most advanced vessels, the modern 6,600t Horizon class wide area air defense “frigates” FS Forbin and FS Chevalier Paul. They are classed as frigates because European nations are averse to the term “destroyers,” though their size certainly qualifies. These ships will presumably need much less modernization.
An accompanying TCD/BPC contract (value not disclosed, part of the remaining EUR 60 million) concerns France’s amphibious ships: the Foudre class TCD/LPD amphibious assault vessels FS Foudre and FS Siroco, and its Mistral class BPC/LHD force projection vessels FS Mistral and FS Tonnerre. This contract covers 4.5 years of support for azimuth pod directional thrusters and their electric motors, the Thales 3D MRR surveillance radar, and the integrated high-speed communications systems carried by the BPC vessels.
DCNS has also been awarded a 3rd contract (value not disclosed, part of the remaining EUR 60 million) to provide support services for the FNS Monge, a research and missile range instrumentation vessel which is owned by the French defence procurement agency (DGA) and crewed by the French Navy.