french frigate Tourville class
A digital drawing of the French frigate Tourville class (F67)
The Tourville-class frigates are anti-submarine warfare ships used by the French Navy. They are named after Admiral Anne Hilarion de Costentin de Tourville, a 17th century marshal of France.
Initially, the program included five corvettes designed to counter the increasing performance of submarines in the 1960s. The first unit, the Aconit (D609), was commissioned in 1973. These corvettes were equipped with innovative technologies, including the DUBV43 active towed sonar and the Malafon torpedo missile. However, they had problems with speed and propulsion.
The program was discontinued after the first unit was built, and a new design emerged, giving rise to the Tourville class (F67). These first-tier frigates were specialized in anti-submarine warfare and were equipped with an ASM Lynx helicopter as well as the Malafon torpedo-carrying missile, although the latter was removed during a later modernization between 1994 and 1996 They also had anti-ship means, notably Exocet missiles, and anti-aircraft means, such as Crotale missiles, a 100 mm cannon, 2 20 mm F2 mounts and 4 mounts for 12 mm machine guns, 7mm.
Two of the ships, the Tourville and the De Grasse, were modernized between 1994 and 1996, with the removal of the Malafon system and the installation of the "SLASM" (Anti-Submarine Fighting System), a multistatic detection system.
The Duguay-Trouin was decommissioned prematurely in 1999 due to the absence of the SLASM and a serious fire in 1983. Budget cuts by the French Navy also contributed to its decommissioning.
SLASM is a multi-static detection system that allows ASW vessels to improve the location of adversary submarines by sharing echo returns with other sensors, such as ships, buoys or submarines. . This requires the use of very low frequency sonars, which were initially equipped with dedicated computers and had computing power limitations.
The Tourville-class ships included Tourville (D610), Duguay-Trouin (D611), and De Grasse (D612), commissioned between 1975 and 1977. De Grasse was decommissioned in 2013, and the FREMM frigates were took over from the Tourville class frigates, thus marking the end of this class of ships.
It is planned that the Tourville class names will be reused for the Suffren class submarines.
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