Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Landing Catamaran for Third French BPC Ship

On 17 September in Saint-Nazaire the Dixmude, the French navy’s third Bâtiment de Projection et de Commandement (BPC) ship, was set afloat. Decided in late 2008 as part of the government’s economic recovery plan, this vessel was contracted in just four months by the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) to the DCNS-STX shipbuilding joint venture. 

"We incorporated minor changes requested by operational users to refine an already successful design,” says Patrick Le Garsmeur, BPC Program Director at DGA’s naval weapons management unit. “BPCs have widely proved their capabilities, with very positive feedback from the Navy on force projection, joint forces command and humanitarian assistance missions.” 

Their performance and design maturity have aroused the interest of many countries’ navies. 

To complement these operational capabilities, DGA in 2003 launched studies of a fast amphibious landing craft (EDA-R) to replace the old landing barges and craft. In 2009, the L-CAT (landing catamaran) concept developed on its own funds as a private venture by the French manufacturer CNIM was selected. 

Operating from the BPC’s well deck, the EDA-R can perform a large number of rapid transits to the coast and back, thus preserving the security of the ship which remains safely beyond the horizon. 

"Testing of the prototype has validated this revolutionary concept of a transformer vessel,” says Ronan Minguy, manager of amphibious landing and public service vessels at UM NAV. “It is a catamaran in the transit mode but thanks to its lifting platform, transforms into a flat-bottomed vessel for beaching and docking.” 

“This roll-on, roll-off vessel has a payload of 80 metric tonnes at a speed of 18 knots loaded and above 25 knots when empty. Its ability to generate logistic flows will be about 5 times greater than that of current landing craft, and it can beach on about 90% of coastal sites, thereby freeing port infrastructure." 

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