September 21, 2009: Algeria has ordered six FREMM class frigates from Italy, paying about a billion dollars for each 6,000 ton ship. The FREMM is a joint France-Italy project, and the Algerians recently cancelled an order for four FREMMs from France. Apparently Italy offered a better deal, and earlier delivery (the first one arriving in two years.) The Italians seem to be providing Algeria with one of the FREMMs being built for Italy. Three FREMMs are under construction. France plans to buy eleven, and Italy ten. Morocco has ordered one (from France) and Greece six (which will be built in Greece with French help).
The FREMMs are 142 meters (440 feet) long. Top speed is 50 kilometers an hour and range is 11,000 kilometers. The ships are highly automated, with a crew of only 108 sailors. The ships are armed with Mu-90 torpedoes, Otomat Mk2A anti-ship missiles and Aster anti-aircraft missiles. There is one 76mm gun, two 25mm autocannon and two EH101 helicopters. The Italian FREMMs are equipped with towed sonar, so that they can specialize in anti-submarine operations.