First steel cut for France's new Bâtiments Ravitailleurs de Force logistic support ships
Warship Technology: July/August 2020
The French Navy’s new logistics vessels share a common design with one built for the Italian Navy and will replace the Durance class vessels.
Named Jacques Chevallier, the vessel is the lead ship in a class of four Bâtiments Ravitailleurs de Force (BRF) ships being built by Chantiers de l’Atlantique under the Flotte logistique (FLOTLOG) programme. The acquisition, being undertaken in partnership with Italy, is being managed by European Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR).
The LSS was designed from the outset to support both military operations and humanitarian aid/disaster relief (HA/DR) roles. In the former case, the ship will be capable of supporting a range of missions, ranging from the transport and transfer of fuel, water, lubricating oil, dry stores, spares, ammunition, and 20ft ISO containers to the provision of naval/joint force headquarters afloat facilities, and medical support (NATO Role 1/Role 2 LM). The design incorporates four abeam replenishment at sea (RAS) stations.
For HA/DR missions, the LSS can provide a range of capabilities, such as a hospital facility, the provision of electrical power and potable water to shore, and the delivery of modular accommodation/triage containers. A 30-tonne capacity crane is fitted to enable cargo handling.
The BRF is a derivative of the Vulcano LSS design tailored to meet the specific needs of the French Navy (specifically the support of a maritime task group centred around the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle). Displacing 31,000tonnes at full load, with a length of 194m, and a beam of 27.4m, the BRFs will be able to carry 13,000m3 of fuel and 1,500tonnes of cargo (including ammunition, spares, and dry stores). They will be also equipped with repair workshops for maintenance activities and facilities for waste management treatment.
In common with the Italian LSS, the French BRF ships will feature four abeam RAS stations (to be supplied by Hepburn Engineering in Canada). A flight deck and hangar aft will allow for the operation and support of an NH90 Caiman helicopter, and/or unmanned aerial vehicles.