The nations of France and Italy teamed up to design, develop and ultimate construct an all-new class of multi-purpose frigate under the "FREMM" initiative of the 2000s. These became known locally (as respectively) as the Aquitane-class and Bergamini-class for each country. Construction of the fleet was started in 2007 and the first vessels were commissioned in 2012. A total of twenty are planned for the series between both countries as well as some units for allied Morocco and Egypt.
For the French Navy, the Aquitane-class of FREMM warships consists of eight vessels built by DCNS of Lorient. The lead ship became FS Aquitane (D650) followed by sisters Provence (D652), Languedoc (D653) (the subject of this article), Auvergne (D654), and Bretagne (D655). FS Normandie (D651) is set to be commissioned in 2019 while Alsace and Lorraine will follow in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
FS Languedoc (D653) saw her keel laid down in 2011. She was launched on July 12th, 2014 and formally commissioned on March 16th, 2016. The vessel makes its homeport at Toulon in the southeast part of the country - with quick access to the critical Mediterranean Sea.
The first six boats of the class (Languedoc included) are arranged as Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) frigates (the remaining two will become air-defense frigates). This makes them suitable for the searching, tracking, and engagement of enemy submarines with other weapons intended to deal with surface and aerial threats. As such, the class is equipped with a mix of sensors, processing systems, and armament to suit the intended role and this includes decoy launchers, sonar, radar, advanced fire-control systems and the like.
The forecastle of the ship is taken up by a single turreted deck gun followed by two bays of missile cells for medium-to-long-ranged firepower. The bridge section follows and this is integrated into an unbroken hull superstructure running nearly to the stern. It houses the main mast at midships, low profile smoke funnels, a full-service hangar facility and a single-helicopter helipad (over the stern). The warship typically operates an NHIndustries NH90 medium-lift navy helicopter in a variety of at-sea, over-water roles.
Languedoc is the third French FREMM frigate having been commissioned. She is crewed by up to 108 personnel and has a running length of 466 feet, a beam of 66 feet and a draught of 17 feet. Displacement reaches 6,040 tons (short). Power is from an economically-minded COmbined Diesel-Or-Gas (CODOG) arrangement which sees 1 x MTU 4000 series gas turbine coupled to 4 x Diesel generators. A bow thruster aids in precise maneuvering. Maximum reachable speeds in ideal conditions is 27 knots with a listed range out to 7,000 miles. The CODOG arrangement allows either the gas turbine or diesel sets to be used to accomplish either dash or cruise actions as needed.
The armament suite involves 1 x 76mm OTO-Melara "Super-Rapid-Fire" turreted deck gun at the forecastle. There is 1 x 16-cell MBDA "SYLVER" A43 Vertical Launch System (VLS) positioned aft of the turret at the forecastle. 8 x MBDA MM.40 "Exocet" anti-ship missiles are also carried as are 4 x 324mm torpedo tubes, 2 x 20mm Nexter Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs), and up to 4 x 12.7mm Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs).