BPC Tonnerre passes interoperability tests
DCNS expertise serving force projection
23 May 2007
Between 10 and 13 May 2007, defence procurement agency DGA and the French Navy assisted by DCNS successfully completed an interoperability test campaign off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia, involving BPC-type force projection and command vessel Tonnerre and US Navy assets. The tests resulted in the official qualification of BPC-type vessles for operations involving LCAC-type air-cushion landing craft and MH 53E Super Stallion heavylift helicopters, specifically LCAC launch and recovery using the well deck* and MH 53E landing and take-off using flight deck spot n° 1.
The tests enabled DCNS to demonstrate the performance of the system it developed to cool LCAC exhaust gases (at up to several hundred degrees Celsius) in the well deck. Joint measurements by French and American engineers confirmed that the cooling system performed precisely as predicted, with the ship suffering no damage whatsoever.
As BPC prime contractor, DCNS has demonstrated its capacity to design and build ships accommodating all types of equipment. The LCAC requirements had a major impact on BPC architecture and subsystems. This capacity to meet a wide range of force projection needs is arousing strong interest in countries from Australia and South Africa to Brazil, Canada and Malaysia.
The French BPC fleet has demonstrated interoperability unequalled to date in a European warship.
With its huge payload capability and a crew of just 160, this is the first ship type for the French Navy to be built to commercial shipbuilding standards. The design also offers the flexibility to carry out humanitarian missions such as that undertaken by the first-of-type Mistral in Lebanon in July 2006.
The Tonnerre was delivered to the French Navy in February 2007 following acceptance by French defence procurement agency DGA.
* A lower deck that can be flooded to embark and debark landing craft.
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