French naval builder, DCNS (formerly the Direction Technique des Constructions Navales) has begun sea trials of Aquitaine, the first frigate being constructed under the new frigate programme for the French Navy. The trials commence a month ahead of schedule.
The Aquitaine will be the first ship built under the FREMM multi-mission frigate programme. The sea trials will take place off the Brittany peninsula and is expected to last several weeks including return trips to DCNS's shipyard.
Delivery to the French Navy is scheduled for 2012.
The joint crew comprising French Navy personnel, customer representatives and employees of DCNS will test the ship's sea-keeping and other nautical qualities as well as the performance of the propulsion and navigation systems.
The next phase of the trials will focus on the ship's propulsion system. The FREMM's high-performance hybrid CODLOG (COmbined Diesel eLectric Or Gas) power package combines a gas turbine for high-speed mechanical propulsion and electric motors powered by four diesel-alternator sets for low-speed propulsion.
Aquitaine will operate out of the DCNS's Lorient shipyard. In June, the ship will put to sea for a second campaign of trials focusing on combat systems.