The future French Navy (Marine Nationale) tankers, with a fuel capacity of 13,000 m3, have the mission to provide logistical support to the French and allied navies’ combat vessels. They will carry fuel for vessels, jet fuel for aircraft, weapons and ammunition, spare parts, as well as food. The ships will also be equipped with waste management solutions and repair workshops.
The BRF will be modern and highly effective double-hulled ships, which will comply with existing international regulations. They will replace the current single-hulled Durance-class tankers of the French Navy that entered active service in the 1970s and 80s. The 4 new BRF will provide long-term support for any blue-sea combat fleet (aircraft-carrier, LHDs, destroyers) in both liquid and solid stores: fuel, ammunition, spare parts and food.
The BRFs ordered for the French Navy will be based on the design of the LSS Vulcano ordered for the Italian Navy, in the frame of an OCCAR-managed cooperation between Italy and France. This new 4-ship contract has been awarded to Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Naval Group. Chantiers de l’Atlantique is in charge of the design and construction of the ships. Given the current heavy load of Chantiers de l’Atlantique and in order to enhance industrial synergies, the construction of the forward hull section of the vessels could be outsourced to Fincantieri. Naval Group is responsible for the design, supply and integration of the combat and military systems (aviation, ammunition, immunization). The company is also responsible for certain functions such as cyber security, electromagnetic compatibility…
The delivery of these ships will take place between the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2029.
“Through this order, our expertise in the design and construction of complex ships, civilian or military, is acknowledged once again. After the construction of the Mistral, Tonnerre and Dixmude LHD platforms, we are proud to contribute again, in partnership with Naval Group, to the modernisation of the French Navy’s fleet.”Yves Pelpel, SVP, Naval Programs, Chantiers de l’Atlantique.
“This token of confidence demonstrates the common ability of Naval Group and Chantiers de l’Atlantique to propose competitive global offers for the construction of heavy tonnages. “Jean-Luc Ferrandi, VP, Business Director, Naval Group
The French BRF will be slightly larger than the Italian Vulcano (194 meters in length and 28,700 tons full load displacement compared to 193 meters and 27,200 tons). We were told by a DGA representative during Euronaval 2019 the reason for this difference is the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier: Its air wing is significantly larger compared to the Italian aircraft carrier Cavour. The requirements for aviation fuel are greater.
In terms of weapon system for the self-protection of the vessel, the BRF images show two BAE Systems Bofor 40Mk4 (one forward, one aft). Contacted by Naval News, a DGA source confirmed that several configurations are still being considered.
During Euronaval 2018 last October, the systems competing for the self protection suite of the BRFs were
- Nexter and Thales with their Naval RapidFire based on the 40CTA cannon
- Leonardo with the MARLIN 40mm
- Rheinmetall with the Oerlikon Millenium gun 35mm
- BAE Systems Bofors 40Mk4 40mm
- MBDA with the SIMBAD RC surface to air missile system (in addition to Nexter Narwhal 20mm)
We learned at the time from source familiar with the case that the Naval RapidFire had the favors of DGA (french defense procurement agency). Nexter and Thales have one year to prove that their system can match the technical requirement and fit into the budget allocated to the programme.
Main characteristics of the vessels
Gross tonnage: 28,700 GRT
Overall length: 194 m
Overall width: 27.40 m
Crew capacity: 190 people (of which 130-people strong crew
Total deadweight: 14,870 tonnes
Freight volume: 13,000 m3
Total installed capacity: 24 MW
Artillery: 40 mm guns
Polaris® Combat Management System