France and Italy Award Contracts to Modernize Horizon-Class Frigates

In a significant move for naval defense capabilities, France and Italy have jointly awarded contracts to modernize their Horizon-class frigates. This collaboration showcases the commitment of both countries to enhance their naval fleets and strengthen their maritime security. The contracts, which have been granted to renowned defense companies, mark a new chapter in the evolution of these advanced warships. This article delves into the details of the awarded contracts, their implications for France and Italy, and the anticipated enhancements to the Horizon-class frigates.

France and Italy award contracts to modernize Horizon-class frigates
Photo: French Navy

France and Italy Award Contracts: A Boost for Naval Modernization

The Importance of Modernizing Horizon-Class Frigates

The Horizon-class frigates are renowned for their advanced capabilities and versatile nature. With the rapid advancements in naval technology, it has become crucial to modernize these warships to ensure their continued effectiveness in combat scenarios. The contracts awarded by France and Italy aim to address the evolving challenges in maritime security and equip the frigates with state-of-the-art systems and technologies.

Strengthening Defense Cooperation between France and Italy

The decision to collaborate on the modernization of the Horizon-class frigates signifies the strong defense cooperation between France and Italy. By joining forces, both countries can leverage their expertise and resources to achieve a more cost-effective and efficient modernization process. This collaboration also strengthens their strategic partnership and fosters mutual trust and understanding.

The Awarded Contracts: Partners and Scope

Thales Group: Enhancing Combat Systems

One of the recipients of the awarded contracts is the Thales Group, a global leader in defense technology. Thales will be responsible for upgrading the combat systems of the Horizon-class frigates. This includes enhancing the radar systems, command and control capabilities, and electronic warfare systems. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies, Thales aims to significantly enhance the frigates’ combat effectiveness.

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Leonardo S.p.A.: Advancing Sensors and Communications

Leonardo S.p.A., an Italian multinational company specializing in aerospace, defense, and security, has also been awarded a contract for the modernization project. Leonardo will focus on improving the sensors and communications systems of the Horizon-class frigates. The upgrades will enable better surveillance, target acquisition, and data sharing capabilities, enhancing the frigates’ situational awareness and interoperability.

Naval Group: Upgrading Propulsion and Power Systems

Naval Group, a world leader in naval defense and marine renewable energy, has secured a contract to upgrade the propulsion and power systems of the Horizon-class frigates. By integrating advanced propulsion technologies, Naval Group aims to enhance the frigates’ speed, maneuverability, and fuel efficiency. This upgrade will contribute to the overall operational performance of the frigates.

FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What is the purpose of modernizing the Horizon-class frigates?

Modernizing the Horizon-class frigates serves multiple purposes. It aims to enhance their combat capabilities, address emerging security challenges, and ensure the frigates remain technologically advanced and effective in contemporary naval warfare.

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A: By upgrading the combat systems, sensors, communications, propulsion, and power systems of the frigates, France and Italy are reinforcing their naval defense capabilities and strengthening their maritime security.

Q: How does the collaboration between France and Italy benefit both countries?

Collaborating on the modernization of the Horizon-class frigates allows France and Italy to pool their resources, expertise, and technologies. This partnership leads to cost efficiencies, accelerates the modernization process, and strengthens the defense cooperation between the two nations.

A: By working together, France and Italy demonstrate their commitment to collective security, foster mutual trust, and establish a framework for future joint defense projects.

Q: What are the expected outcomes of the modernization project?

The modernization project is expected to yield several outcomes. The upgraded combat systems, sensors, communications, propulsion, and power systems will enhance the frigates’ performance, interoperability, and survivability. The frigates will be better equipped to counter emerging threats and contribute to maintaining maritime stability.

A: Additionally, the modernization project will boost the technological capabilities and competitiveness of the defense industry in France and Italy, fostering innovation and generating economic benefits.

Q: How will the modernized Horizon-class frigates contribute to maritime security?

The modernized Horizon-class frigates will play a vital role in enhancing maritime security. Their advanced combat systems, improved sensors, and communications capabilities will enable effective surveillance, early detection of potential threats, and swift response to emerging maritime challenges.

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A: By safeguarding vital sea routes, deterring potential aggressors, and participating in international peacekeeping operations, these frigates will contribute to maintaining a secure and stable maritime environment.

Q: Are there any plans for further collaboration between France and Italy in the defense sector?

The collaboration between France and Italy in the modernization of the Horizon-class frigates sets a precedent for future joint defense projects. The success of this endeavor paves the way for expanded cooperation in other areas, such as joint research and development, training exercises, and information sharing.

A: This collaboration demonstrates the mutual trust and commitment to strengthening the defense partnership between France and Italy, fostering a more integrated and resilient European defense framework.


The awarding of contracts to modernize the Horizon-class frigates represents a significant step forward for France and Italy in enhancing their naval defense capabilities. The collaboration between Thales Group, Leonardo S.p.A., and Naval Group will result in advanced combat systems, improved sensors and communications, and upgraded propulsion and power systems for these warships. The modernization project not only strengthens the defense cooperation between France and Italy but also contributes to their collective security and reinforces their commitment to maintaining maritime stability. With these upgrades, the Horizon-class frigates will continue to play a vital role in safeguarding the interests of both nations and maintaining peace at sea.

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