The French Navy has announced that the acceptance trials and crew training of the frigateCourbet, the first upgradedLa Fayetteclass frigate, have been successfully completed and the ship is now operational.

We recall that the French Navy decided to upgrade three of the five frigates in service of the class, as an interim solution until the arrival of the five FDI frigates (Belh@rra) currently under construction.

The two non-upgradedLa Fayetteare the first to be withdrawn, followed by the withdrawal of the three upgraded frigates by 2030. The fiveLa Fayetteclass frigates joined the French Navy in 1996-2001.

The upgrade programme involves the installation of the KingKlip Mk. 2 trophy sonar, the installation of the Sadral anti-aircraft systems with Mistral Mk. 3 missiles (two six-seater launchers, replacing the Crotale CN2), the upgrade of the MM-40 Exocet anti-ship missiles to Block. 3C level and the installation of the CANTO torpedo countermeasure system. New electronics and computers will also be installed, and there will be a general inspection and repair of the shipspropulsion system.

The combat management system will be replaced by a version of the one on the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, while the tactical data link systems will also be upgraded.