DCNS, a French builder has initiated design work for the BPC-type force projection and command vessels ordered for the Russian Navy.
Studies dedicated to modifying the vessel design to the specific requirements of the Russian Navy have been started by DCNS.
The BPC contract was signed in June with Russian defense export agency Rosoboronexport, and it accounts for DCNS’s first international success with the BPC platform.
Following the first payment made by Russia, the contract came into effect. It includes delivery of two Mistral-class force projection and command vessels, also known as landing helicopter docks (LHDs) to Russia as well as related services such as initial logistics and training, and a transfer of technologies.
The two BPCs will be considerably identical to the Mistral/BPC-type vessels operated by the French Navy. Some design changes will however be imposed. The Russian version will be tailored to accommodate Kamov twin-rotor helicopters and the two ships will be provided with specific systems including anti-ice protection of part of the flight deck to deal with extremely cold conditions. The electrical systems will also be adapted to meet Russian standards.
Construction will commence in the first half of 2012 at STX France’s shipyard in Saint-Nazaire. It is expected that 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 in 2015.
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 material, including heavy helicopters and landing craft. They also offer 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 defense procurement agency in 2009, is under construction by DCNS and STX France and will be delivered to the French Navy in early 2012.
Naval Today Staff, December 14, 2011