The construction of the French Navy’s third Mistral Class projection and command (bâtiments de projection et de commandement – BPC) ship, Dixmude, has begun in Saint Nazaire, western France.

Dixmude is the third ship of the Mistral Class, designed to replace the navy’s Foudre landing craft transport.

Dixmude is scheduled to be launched in late 2010 and commissioned in 2012 following sea trials at its home port of Toulon, on the Mediterranean, in mid 2011.

The 199m-long and 32m-wide Mistral Class BPC ship has a full load displacement of 21,300t. It can carry 16 heavy or 35 light helicopters and has a maximum cruising speed of 19kt.

STX France will construct the hull and carry out equipment installation, while co-contractor DCNS will be responsible for the combat system.