The French Navy operates two Foudre Class landing platform dock ships, the Foudre (L9011) and the Siroco (L9012), which were commissioned in 1990 and 1998. The ships were built at the Brest Naval Dockyard of DCN. The ships are assigned to the Force d’Action Navale based at the Toulon Mediterranean Command.
In April 2007, DCN became DCNS. This followed an agreement in which Thales became a 25% shareholder in the new company and DCN acquired the naval business of Thales France (excluding naval equipment).
The Foudre Class is capable of landing and supporting a mechanised armoured regiment of the French rapid deployment force.
The three main missions of the Foudre Class are the landing of infantry and armoured vehicles on unprepared coasts, mobile logistic support for naval forces and humanitarian missions.
The Foudre Class has a 13,000m³ well dock which can be used as a floating dock or to carry land vehicles. The well dock can accommodate either ten medium-size landing craft (LCMs) or one mechanised landing craft (LSM) and four medium-sized landing craft (LCMs). Mobile decks can be used to provide vehicle parking space or for landing operations. The cargo lift has a 52t capacity. The 12m crane is rated to carry 37t of cargo.
The ship’s complement is 210 crew with 13 officers. The ship can also accommodate 467 passengers or troops. With 700 crew and passengers, the ship has an endurance of 30 days. In times of crisis the ship can accommodate up to 1,600 people.
To meet military and humanitarian requirements, Foudre Class ships provide hospital facilities for large-scale medical and evacuation missions, including two fully equipped operating theatres and 47 beds.
The ship, which has a 1,450m² flight deck, can accommodate up to seven Super Puma helicopters. There are three helicopter landing spots, two on the flight deck and one on the 400m² deck well rolling cover. The flight deck is equipped with a Samahe haul down system. The helicopter hangar has capacity for two Super Frelon helicopters or up to four Super Puma helicopters.
The Foudre Class provides full flight-deck support for the simultaneous deployment, including day and night refuelling, of four 9t helicopters.
The Foudre Class ships are equipped with DCN’s SENIT 8 combat data system and an OPSMER command support system. The ship’s communication suite is integrated with the Syracuse satellite communications system.
The ship is armed with two Simbad twin missile launchers, supplied by MBDA (formerly Matra BAe Dynamics), for the Mistral surface-to-air missile. Mistral provides short-range air defence against aircraft and anti-ship missiles. The range is from 0.5km to 5km. Mistral has a 3kg warhead and a speed of Mach 2.6. The passive infrared homing was developed by SAGEM based in Paris.
The ships are armed with three Oto Melara / Mauser 30mm / 70 calibre guns capable of firing 6kg shells at a firing rate of 800 rounds a minute.The guns are integrated with two VIGY 105 optronic weapon control systems supplied by Sagem, which include thermal imager, TV camera and laser rangefinder.
The ships are fitted with the ARBB 36 Salamandre B2 multi-threat jammer from Thales Airborne Systems, which locates, classifies and evaluates threats.
The ship’s radar suite consists of the Thales DRBV 21 A Mars air and surface search radar operating at D band, Thales Defence Model 2459 surface search radar operating at D band, and two Thales Defence I-band RM 1229 navigation radars.
The ship’s propulsion system is based on two 16 PC2.5V 400 diesel engines supplied by SEMT-Pielstick. The diesels, rated at 15.3MW sustained power, drive two shafts with controllable pitch propellers. The bow thruster is rated at 735kW. The propulsion system provides a maximum speed of 21kt. At an economical speed of 15kt the range is 11,000 miles.
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