Kership, a joint venture between DCNS and Piriou, launched the French Navy’s first Offshore Support and Assistance Vessel (BSAH) Loire, on June 1.
Named after French rivers Loire, Rhone, Seine and Garonne, the BSAH vessels will be used for the deployment of forces for State operations at sea.
French Navy intends to use the vessels for rescue missions, environmental protection, work in military ports and general support for other navy units.
French DGA (Defence Procurement Agency) awarded a contract for the construction of first two vessels to Kership in September 2015. A year later, DGA ordered further two vessels to be constructed with delivery set for 2019.
The recently launched Loire, together with Rhone, is scheduled for delivery in 2018.
The 70-metre vessels displace about 2,600 tons and have a towing capacity of 80 tons. They reach speeds of 14 knots and have an autonomy of about 30 days of operation without refuelling.
The vessels will be equipped with an 8-meter working boat and semi-rigid boats as well as a crane allowing the embarkation and disembarkation of containers. They will be capable of accommodating divers, transport weapons and ammunition, providing support to a submarine during stopover and deploying an anti-pollution barrier.