starts building first warship for Russia in France
design for the BPC-type force projection and command vessels ordered
by the Russian Federation is now underway. DCNS, prime contractor for
the programme, has begun studies to tailor the vessel design to the
specific requirements of the Russian Navy. Signed in June 2011 with
Russian defence export agency Rosoboronexport, the BPC contract with
Russia is DCNS’s first international success with the BPC platform.
The contract came into effect when Russia made the first advance payment
at the beginning of November. It calls for delivery of two Mistral-class
force projection and command vessels, also known as landing helicopter
docks or LHDs, to Russia. It also includes related services (initial
logistics, training, etc.) and a transfer of technologies.
The programme is now underway with design studies to tailor the
vessel to Russia's specific requirements. The two BPCs will be largely
identical to the Mistral/BPC-type vessels operated by the French Navy.
However, some design changes will be necessary to meet the customer's
The Russian version will be adapted to accommodate Kamov twin-rotor
helicopters, and the two ships will be equipped with specific systems
including anti-ice protection of part of the flight deck to cope with
extremely cold conditions. The electrical systems will also be adapted
to meet Russian standards.
class used by the French Navy and soon by the Russian Navy
(picture: French Navy)
Following the design phase, construction will begin
in the first half of 2012 at STX France's shipyard in Saint-Nazaire
(France). Under the contract with Russia, DCNS will act as prime contractor
for the two vessels and will also integrate the operations direction
and communications suite. STX has in turn signed a subcontract agreement
with OSK to allow the involvement of Russian shipbuilders.
The first ship will be delivered to Russia in 2014, three years after
the effective date of the contract, and the second will be delivered
From the outset, the BPC was designed by DCNS as a multirole vessel
to meet the needs of navies around the world, and the vessel is suited
to a wide range of civilian and military missions.
With a length of 199 metres, a displacement of 22,000 tonnes and a speed
in excess of 18 knots, BPCs offer a global projection capability for
troops and materiel, including heavy helicopters and landing craft.
They also offer ample capacity as hospital ships or for large-scale
humanitarian missions. The design features electric propulsion using
azimuth pods and high-level automation compatible with a reduced complement
of 170. In addition, a high-performance communications suite makes the
type ideal as a naval force command vessel.
The first two BPCs, Mistral and Tonnerre, were built by DCNS and STX
France and delivered in 2006 and 2007 respectively. The third-of-type
Dixmude, ordered by France's DGA defence procurement agency in 2009,
is under construction by DCNS and STX France and will be delivered to
the French Navy in early 2012.