November 7, 2016:
France has decided to replace its five 3,600 ton Lafayette class frigates (when entered service in the 1990s) with five 4,200 ton FTI (Frégate de Taille Intermédiaire) type frigates. The Lafayette’s were built for the post-Cold War era and were large enough to operate world-wide. These ships were stealthy, had a top speed of 46 kilometers an hour and could cruise (at 22 kilometers an hour) for 32 days before needing to refuel. The crew of 141 had 50 days of food on board and operated one helicopter, one 100mm gun, two 20mm autocannon, a Crotale anti-aircraft missile system (max range 17 kilometers) and eight Exocet anti-ship missiles (range 180 kilometers).
The FTI will have a crew of 125 plus space for 50 passengers (commandos or whatever) and be armed with a 76mm gun, Aster 30 anti-aircraft missiles, MU90 torpedo anti-submarine torpedoes and Exocet anti-ship missiles plus upgraded electronic, UAVs as well as a helicopter and anything else useful (to the French Navy or export customers).
The Lafayette was built for the export market and fifteen were sold. The FTI is expected to more than double that. The first FTI ship will enter service in 2023, replacing the oldest Lafayette (entered service in 1992). The first five FTI are projected to cost $525 million each.