The Caïman N-90 helicopter of the French Navy made a first docking on the FREMM Normandie yesterday as part of the frigate's on-going sea-trials before it is handed over to the navy at the end of this year. The Normandie had not yet undertaken any exercises involving the third of the elements it is designed to handle: the air. The other two of course being the sea surface and underwater.
The Normandie frigate and its first ever airborne visitor. Photo credit: Christina Mackenzie
After a first attempt at docking when the helicopter's undercarriage hook failed to capture the metal mesh plaque embedded on the frigate's helicopter landing spot, a second attempt was successful.
The Caïman approaches the dock of the Normandie frigate. Photo credit: Christina Mackenzie
Prior to the docking exercise the Caïman had for the very first time fired an MU90 torpedo using the Thales FLASH (Folding Light Acoustic System for Helicopter) dipped sonar. The sonar detected the target and the torpedo homed in on it. The exercise was a milestone in demonstrating the Caïman's anti-submarine warfare capabilities.