Newspaper article The Canadian Press

French Pitch New Warships as Potential Design for Next Canadian Navy Vessels

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

French Pitch New Warships as Potential Design for Next Canadian Navy Vessels

Article excerpt

France showcases ship to federal minister

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HALIFAX - France showcased its latest warship to the federal defence minister Saturday in Halifax, as the Royal Canadian Navy considers options for designs of its next generation of combat vessels.

Peter MacKay toured the 142-metre Fremm-class vessel Aquitaine, viewing the command-and-control systems on the bridge, as well as its engine rooms and missile systems.

MacKay said he came away impressed with the way the ship had centralized consoles for communications, sonar detection and navigation in the bridge area.

"I have never seen ... such an impressive vessel," he said.

The vessel built by French-based DCNS was launched last fall and is being tested with a crew of 94 -- less than half the complement of the French navy's previous generation of destroyers.

The publicly owned firm is pitching the vessel as a cheaper design due to a higher level of automation, reducing the need for crew during missions and allowing space for more comfortable living and working quarters than prior French ships.

Capt. Benoit Rouviere, the warship's commander, said the ship costs less to operate and has a crew that performs at a higher level due to the design changes.

"We put a bit more money into buying the ship, but over the life cycle we are trying to save a lot of money," he said in an interview. …

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