Considered a "light" frigate in the French Navy, FS Ventose (F733) is a part of the Floreal-class of fighting ships. Eight total ships were constructed with six going to the French and two received by the nation of Morocco. The types have been in service since May of 1992 with the group made up of Floreal, Prairial, Nivose, Ventose, Vendemiaire, Germinal, Mohammad V (Morocco) and Hassan II (Morocco). FS Ventose was ordered in 1989 and saw her keel laid down on June 28th, 1991 by Chantiers de l'Atlantique. She was launched on March 14th, 1992 and was officially commissioned for service in the French Navy on May 5th, 1993. She makes her homeport out of Fort de France in Martinique and, as of 2015, remains in active service with the French Fleet.
Modern day frigates are generally designed as multi-role vessels and are used in fleet defense support and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) actions. Like other modern naval assets, frigates can operate independently or as part of a larger ocean-going surface force. Such versatility provides warplanners with tactical and strategic flexibility when approaching a given campaign and vessels like the Ventose do no fail them in this respect.
As built, Ventose displaces 2,600 tonnes under full load. Her dimensions include a length of 306.8 feet, a beam of 46 feet and a draught of 14.4 feet. Propulsion is provided for through 4 x SEMT Pielstick 6PA6 L280 diesel engines along with 3 x Baudouin 12P15 2SR diesel alternators paired with 3 x Alslthom AA 49L9 alternators. Output is 8,800 horsepower to 2 x shafts with speeds reaching 20 knots and operational ranges out to 15,000 nautical miles.
Her armament suite is led by 2 x Exocet MM38 anti-ship missile launchers. The vessel carries a 100mm CADAM turreted deck gun and close-in defense is through 2 x 20mm Modele F2 series gun installations.
The profile of Ventose sees a noticeably low forecastle design which promotes an unobstructed and raised staging area for the turreted 100mm deck gun system. The bridge superstructure is aft of this and sports an enclosed mainmast structure atop. The Exocet missile launchers are found amidships between the bridge superstructure and a pair of smoke funnels arranged side-by-side. A platform adjacent to the funnels seats a Syracuse II SATCOM system. A helicopter hangar makes up a large portion of the aft superstructure which is protected by one of the 20mm Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs) along its roof. The flight deck over the stern can accept a medium-lift naval helicopter (typically an Airbus Helicopters / Eurocopter AS565 "Panther") or similar rotary-wing vehicle. A small quarterdeck is featured aft of the flight deck.
A typical crew complement is eighty-eight with eleven of this total made up by the officer staff and eleven managing the air arm. Onboard are stowage areas Zodiac fast assault boats and other pertinent mission gear. Radar is a collection of systems such as the DRBV-12C ("Mars") air sentry system, the Racal Decca RM1290 navigation radar and the RM1290 landing radar. The Electronic Warfare (EW) suite is of a Thomson-CF design and navigation is aided by an inertial navigation system, a NavStar GPS fit, a Furuno depth measuring system and VHF radio suite.