Deployed in the Far North, the multi-mission Frigate (FREMM) Provence and its embedded Caiman Marine helicopter participated in the combined exercises TG18.1 and Dynamic Guard 2018 . Taking place under harsh conditions, these operational trainings have made it possible to strengthen the interoperability of French Navy units with its partners in the area. They helped to enhance the high level of performance of the FREMM / Caiman Marine couple in the field of anti-submarine warfare. Back on these exercises.
In the middle of February, in negative temperatures, at night, a few nautical peaks snow or in the middle of the fjords, in very shallow waters and shallow, where shipping traffic remains dense, the enemy is formidable. A small conventional submarine (SSK) conducts an incursion into Norwegian territorial waters. He can strike from one moment to another.
NATO has deployed a fleet of thirteen frigates. The Provence is responsible for directing the operation of all the Allied group: the anti-submarine warfare requires strong coordination of all means of action.
The hunt is tough and long. For hours, the frigate tows her “CAPTAS 2 ” sonar in the wake. It emits this characteristic long song that can detect a submarine at great distances. At the slightest warning, the Caiman Marine takes off and puts his sonar “FLASH 3 ” to the water near the contact position. It plays a role of elongation and deported weapon for the building. In the central operations of Provence , thanks to the data links, the information transmitted by the panoramic radar of the helicopter is also analyzed. The infrared images reported by the pilots are interpreted.
Suddenly, all the information is consistent. This is the desired submarine. The operations officer of the watch captures the tactical data in the weapons system, the commander orders the fire, the Provence fires. The MU90 torpedo rushes on the submarine. “Target destroyed!”
The frigate and the aircraft have just taken up the challenge of this exercise: thanks to their sonar codes and their latest generation classification means, they have foiled the diversion tactics of the submarine, which sought to merge into the irregularity of the aircraft. relief, taking advantage of the many underwater cables and the temperature differences of these cold waters.
The proof by the acts: the FREMM and the Caiman Marine are at the forefront of the means available to the Navy to ensure the control of aeromaritime spaces and to defend its interests.
1 TG18.1 and Dynamic Guard 2018: an annual Norwegian exercise, organized for the benefit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization naval forces, it trains future commanders of Norwegian, Dutch or British submarines. This year it involved nearly 5000 Norwegian, French, Spanish, Polish, German, Canadian and Danish sailors. The e-war component of this large-scale scenario is called “Dynamic Guard”.
2 CAPTAS: Combined Active Passive Towed Sonar Array. Active and passive sonar towed by La Provence .
3 FLASH: folding Light Acoustic System for Helicopters. Onboard acoustic lighting system on helicopter.