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French Navy Alouette III helicopter conducts deck landing qualification aboard US Navy USS Bataan LHD 5


French Navy Alouette III helicopter conducts deck landing qualification aboard the U.S. Navy Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) during joint flight operations, June 24, 2020. The Bataan is conducting operations in U.S. 6th Fleet with French Navy amphibious assault ship Mistral in support of regional allies and partners, and U.S. national security interest in Europe and Africa.
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French Navy Alouette III helicopter conducts deck landing qualification aboard US Navy USS Bataan LHD 5 925 001 A French Navy Alouette III helicopter lands on the flight deck of the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) during joint flight operations, June 24, 2020. (Picture source U.S. Navy)


On June 24, 2020, French Navy Alouette III carried out takeoff and landing operations on the flight deck of the U.S. Navy Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) during joint flight operations.

The Aérospatiale Alouette III is a single-engine, light utility helicopter developed by French aircraft company Sud Aviation. By 2017, the French Navy was still using the Alouette III in a reduced capacity, nonetheless being used to routinely conduct both Search and Rescue and logistics missions. Since the 1970s, the type has gradually been supplanted by the larger Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin, and later on, by the specialized Eurocopter AS565 Panther as an anti-submarine warfare platform.

During January 2018, it was announced that the French Navy would be replacing its remaining Alouette IIIs with rented Aérospatiale SA 330 Pumas. This decision was reportedly taken due to its increasing unreliability, rapidly inflating operating costs and the sheer age of the fleet.

The USS Bataan (LHD-5) is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship in the United States Navy. She was commissioned on 20 September 1997. An amphibious assault ship or an amphibious assault carrier is a type of amphibious warfare ship employed to land and support ground forces on enemy territory by an amphibious assault. The design evolved from aircraft carriers converted for use as helicopter carriers.

The Wasp-class is a class of landing helicopter dock (LHD) amphibious assault ships operated by the United States Navy. Based on the Tarawa class, with modifications to operate more advanced aircraft and landing craft, the Wasp-class is capable of transporting almost the full strength of a United States Marine Corps Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), and landing them in the hostile territory via landing craft or helicopters as well as providing air support via AV-8B Harrier II attack aircraft or F-35B Lightning II stealth strike-fighters.

The USS Bataan has a crew of 3,200 military personnel including sailors and Marines. It can be also used as hospital ship with 600 beds. The Wasp-class carries a mix of assault helicopters including AH-1 Huey attack helicopters, UH-1Y Huey, CH-53 Super Stallion, MH-60S Knight Hawk and MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, plus six to eight Harriers for close air support.

The LHDs carry three LCACs (Landing Craft Air Cushion) as well as Landing Craft Utility (LCU). The LCAC is a high-speed landing craft capable of carrying a 60t to 75 t payload. It can carry payloads, such as an M1 main battle tank and 5 t trucks, at a speed of more than 40 kt (73.6km/h).