The La Fayette-class units (FL-3000 for "Frégate Légère de 3,000 tonnes", "3,000-tonnes light frigates", or "FLF" or Frégate Légère Furtive", "Light Stealth Frigate") are light multi-mission frigates built by DCNS and operated by French Marine Nationale. Derivatives of the type are in service in Saudi Arabia (Royal Saudi Navy), Singapore (Republic of Singapore Navy) and Taiwan (Republic of China Navy).
These frigates were referred to as "stealth" frigates. Their reduced radar cross section is achieved by a very clean superstructure compared to conventional designs, angled sides and radar absorbent material, a composite material of wood and glass fiber as hard as steel, light, and resistant to fire. Most modern fighting ships built around the world since the introduction of the La Fayette class have followed the same principles of stealth.
All information gathered by the onboard sensors is managed by the Information Processing System, the electronic brain of the operation centre of the ship. It is completed by an electronic command aid system.
The La Fayette class has space available for the future installation of the Aster 15 air-defence missile, however they will not be installed due to recent cost issues. The ships are designed to accommodate a 10 tonne helicopter in the Panther or NH90 range (though they are also capable of operating the Super Frelon and similar heavy helicopters). These helicopters can carry anti-ship AM39 or AS15 missiles, and can be launched during sea state 5 or 6 due to the Samahé helicopter handling system. France ordered five ships of the La Fayette class in 1988, the last of which entered service in 2002.