Norway's Defence Ministry has drafted a plan to upgrade their naval fleet. Their existing four Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates will be replaced with six state-of-the-art ships. The country's significant monetary involvement in the maritime sector becomes a driving factor for this enhancement.
Norway’s Maritime Interests and Military Upgrades
Recognising the need to boost the operational readiness of their water, air, and underwater forces, the Norwegian Defence Ministry is instigating these changes. Furthermore, the country's need for better equipped anti-submarine operations plays a part in this decision.
These operations will require a significant investment in surveillance equipment. This includes satellite surveillance, fixed sensor systems, patrol aircraft, surface ship systems, and submarines.
The French FREMM and FDI Programs
The French Navy's multi-mission frigates, tagged FREMM, have repeatedly demonstrated their excellence in anti-submarine warfare. They have been recipients of the US Navy's Hook ‘Em award for three consecutive years. On the other hand, the FREMM program has now concluded and has been replaced with the Frigate for Defense and Intervention (FDI) program.
Norway's defence sector has shown interest in the FDI program, requesting further information. During the FREMM Brittany's stopover in Oslo, the French Navy used the opportunity to present the FDI program, as part of its Arctic deployment. Defence companies, Naval Group, MBDA, and Thales, showcased the FDI capabilities to the Norwegian military and high-ranking officials. The focus was on anti-submarine detection and aerial defence capabilities of the FDI.
The FDI Program and its Market Reception
The FDI program was introduced as a cost-effective replacement to the FREMM program. This initiative aims to provide a less expensive and less imposing alternative to the previous program, making it easier for exports. It targets a market of 40 to 60 frigates over the course of the upcoming 10 to 15 years.
So far, the French Navy has announced expectations of receiving five FDI units. Besides France, Greece is the only other country that has expressed interest in the program, placing an order for three units.