One year after its delivery to the Navy on 16 November 2022, the multi-mission frigate with enhanced air defense capabilities (FREMM DA) Lorraine was admitted to active service by decision of the Chief of the Naval Staff on 13 November 2023.
This milestone formally marks the beginning of the boat’s operational life and closes the implementation phase of the FREMM program and with it an important component of the renewal of the frigate component of the surface forces.
Lorraine has state-of-the-art capabilities for action and monitoring in the field of anti-ship warfare; Common Grammar of Combat Ships. Like all FREMMs, it is also equipped with anti-submarine warfare assets with proven performance recognized in all theatres of operations. Finally, to meet the Navy’s need for four specialized air defense vessels, it benefits – with its sistership Alsace – from enhanced capabilities in this area: ASTER 30/15 quantity doubled, advanced combat system, increased radar detection capability, additional consoles at the operations centre to ensure the command of the air defense of a naval force, Modified mast for an all-horizon action bubble and additional radio resources. They are also the first to be equipped with the new STIR fire control that improves the performance of the 76 MM turret.
On the other hand, unlike the first six in the series, it does not carry naval cruise missiles (MdCN) to strike ashore in depth. It is therefore resolutely turned towards the open sea, specialized in the three areas of struggle, that Lorraine and Alsace are preparing for the naval battles of tomorrow, more particularly in escort of a naval air group.
With this admission to active duty, a year of demanding and exhilarating preparation for the crew came to an end. In 2023, the latest French frigate successively took part in the ORION high-intensity operational readiness exercise (POHI) as an escort to the Charles de Gaulle. She also successfully fired her first ASTER 30 and led a long-term deployment that saw her take part in Operation SAGITTARIUS to evacuate nationals from Sudan. She also operated as part of the Carrier Strike Group 5 of the 7th Carrier Strike Group U.S. fleet in the Philippine Sea and South China Sea. This autumn, the crew energetically embarked on an exciting and realistic operational preparation cycle with an operational refresher course combining underwater warfare and air defense sequences before a memorable synthesis with the advanced training exercise EXOCET 23.
On 16 November, three days after her ASA, Lorraine headed east – full throttle – to relieve Alsace and begin her first mission to the “complicated Levant” with gravity and determination.