Naval Group has launched the first of four force replenishment vessels (Bâtiments Ravitailleurs de Force – BRF), Jacques Chevallier, for the French Navy.

The launch of the vessel was marked by a ceremony held in Saint-Nazaire, France.

Jacques Chevallier will now undergo a series of sea trials, which is expected to start later this year.

Delivery of the first vessel is anticipated to take place in the first half of 2023.

The four vessels are being developed under the FLOTLOG programme (Flotte Logistique) which comes within the Logistic Support Ship (LSS) programme.

The FLOTLOG programme is part of a Franco-Italian cooperation led by Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’Armement or OCCAR).

OCCAR is leading the programme in collaboration with the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) and Italian Directorate of Naval Armaments (NAVARM).

In January 2019, Naval Group and Chantiers de l’Atlantique received a decade-long contract to build four replenishment vessels for the French Navy.

Naval Group CEO Pierre Éric Pommellet said: “It is also a new successful cooperation between Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Naval Group, which combine their skills in order to offer the DGA and the French Navy the best expertise in the civil and military sectors in the construction of ships of heavy tonnages.”

The 194m-long, 27.60m-wide logistic support vessel, Jacques Chevallier, is equipped with self-defence capabilities and will be used for carrying fuel, ammunition, food and spare parts.

The new vessel will carry up to 31,000t of load, which makes it the French Navy’s second heaviest ship, after the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.

Featuring increased capabilities and modern equipment, the French Navy’s new vessels will replace the Durance-class ships.

The ships will allow France to conduct long-term operations in the ocean and support inter-allied operations.