Horizon CNGF

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Frigate Horizon

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French Navy Ensign

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Italian Navy Ensign

Displacement: 5600 tons (6635 tons full load)
Length: 152,87 m
Beam: 20,3 m
Draught: 5,4 m
Propulsion:
  • 2 x 31280 HP GE/Fiat Avio LM2500+ gas turbines
  • 2 x 5875 HP SEMT Pielstick 12 PA6 STC diesels
  • 1 bean propulsor
  • 2 x 4-blade propellers
Speed: 29 knots (18 on diesel)
Range: 7000 nm at 18 knts, 3500 nm at 25 knots
Complement:
  • 26 officers
  • 110 petty officers
  • 38 sailors
  • 32 passengers or admirals (optional)
Armament:
  • 8 MM40 Block 3
  • 1 NGDS system(2 decoy launchers, REM, RIR, LAD)
  • 1 radar jammer
  • 1 communication jammer
  • 1 Contralto system (2 acoustic decoy launchers).
  • PAAMS Principal Anti-Air Missile System (48 Aster 15 or 30 missiles in Sylver A50 vertical launchers, EMPAR multifonction radar on G band.)
Planes 1 NH90 helicopter (radar ENR, sonar Flash, LADT 11, Marte missiles or MU90 Impact torpedoes)

The Horizon Common New Generation Frigate (CNGF) is a multi-nationial collaboration to produce a new generation of anti-air warfare frigates. It is named Orizzonte in Italian and Horizon in French.

France, Italy and the UK issued a joint requirement in 1992 after the failure of the NATO Frigate Replacement (NFR-90) project. The resulting CNGF program consisted of the Horizon frigate and its Principle Anti Air Missile System (PAAMS.)

Problems emerged almost immediately: the primary problem was that of differing requirements: France wanted AAW escorts for its aircraft carriers, however with a limited range due to the Charles de Gaulle's own self-defence capability. Italy too required only close range capabilities, as in its home waters of the Mediterranean Sea the ships would operate under Italian Air Force cover. The Royal Navy, however, required more capable ships which could throw a large defensive "bubble" over a fleet operating in hostile areas. The compromise which largely solved this problem was the adoption of a standard radar interface which allowed France and Italy to install the EMPAR multi-function radar and the UK to install the more capable SAMPSON radar.

1995 saw the establishment of an International Joint Venture Company (IJVC) compromising the national prime contractors, DCN (France,) GEC-Marconi (UK) and Orizzonte (Italy). In the period 1995-1996 significant arguments, changing requirements and technological problems led to the slippage of the in-service-date of the frigates to around 2006.

In early 1997 a disagreement emerged as to the choice of Vertical Launch System (VLS) for the PAAMS' MBDA Aster missiles. France and Italy favored the European SYLVER launcher, while the UK was leaning toward the American Mk 41 - capable of firing the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile. This issue was eventually resolved when the SYLVER launcher was selected by the PAAMS development team.

In 1999, with the overall programme in difficulties and the Horizon frigate itself effectively stalled, the UK announced that it was withdrawing from the CNGF project to pursue its own national design. Summing up the changes from the original specification the UK's Chief of Defence Procurement is reported to have said "it's not common and it's not a frigate!". The resulting Type 45 destroyer will be armed with the PAAMS missile system and has benefited from investment in the Horizon project.

France and Italy have continued their collaboration under the Horizon project, ordering two ships each which will also deploy the PAAMS missile system. The first ship of the series, the French Forbin, was launched on the on March 10 2005.

The French Navy has already ordered two units (Forbin and Chevalier Paul, is plans to order two other units around 2007.

The Italian Navy also ordered two units, to replace Audace and Ardito.

See also

External links

  • Frégates type Horizon (http://www.defense.gouv.fr/sites/marine/decouverte/materiels/en_prevision/fregates_multimissions/fregates_type_horizon/) - Marine Nationale link to PDF file with specifications and pictures including construction (in French)
  • Programma Orizzonte (http://www.marina.difesa.it/programmi/programmi02.htm) - Marina Militare specifications and pictures (in Italian)

Photographs

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