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French Navy's amphibious assault ship Mistral visits Senegal despite tensions in Niger.

| 2023

According to a tweet published by the French Maritime prefect on August 22, 2023, the Mistral-class amphibious assault ship Mistral docked at Dakar, Senegal amid tensions in Niger and in the region.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Mistral-class amphibious assault ship Mistral at Dakar, Senegal. (Picture source: French Maritime Prefect)

The amphibious assault ship Mistral will depart Dakar on August 27th, with approximately thirty officers from the regional naval forces of Benin, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, and Morocco on board.

This initiative is part of the onboard SIREN training program dedicated to state maritime action. The program seeks to enhance naval collaboration and security protocols.

Technical data

The BPC Mistral has a displacement of 16,500 tonnes when empty and 21,500 tonnes at full load. The ship measures 199 meters (652 feet 11 inches) in length, with a beam of 32 meters (105 feet) and a draught of 6.3 meters (20 feet 8 inches).

The vessel is powered by 3 Wärtsilä diesel-alternators, 16 V32, producing 6.2 MW, and 1 Wärtsilä Vaasa auxiliary diesel-alternator, 18V200, generating 3 MW.

Her propulsion system includes 2 Rolls-Royce Mermaid azimuth thrusters, each with a power output of 7 MW, and 2 five-bladed propellers, enabling a speed of 18.8 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph).

With an operational range of 10,800 km (5,800 nautical miles) at a speed of 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph) or 19,800 kilometers (10,700 nautical miles) at 15 knots (28 km/h), the ship is designed for effective long-distance travel.

The ship's landing capabilities are facilitated by various boats and craft, including 4 chaland de transport de matériel landing craft, EDA-R/S Amphibious Landing Craft (with S models delivered from 2021), and a potential to carry 2 Landing Craft Air Cushions (although not acquired by the French Navy).

Her cargo capacity can hold up to 70 vehicles, including 13 Leclerc tanks, or a battalion of 40 Leclerc tanks. The onboard facilities can house 450 troops or 250 troops along with a military staff of 200 individuals.

Equipped with advanced sensors and processing systems, the ship features the DRBN-38A Decca Bridgemaster E250 navigation radar, MRR3D-NG air/surface sentry radar, and 2 optronic fire control systems. Armament includes 2 Simbad missile systems, 2 20 mm modèle F2 guns, 2 30 mm Breda-Mauser guns, 2 7.62mm M134 miniguns, and 4 12.7 mm M2HB Browning machine guns.

For aviation capabilities, the ship can carry 16 heavy helicopters or 35 light helicopters, supported by 6 helicopter landing spots on its aviation facilities. Overall, the Mistral-class amphibious assault ship is designed for a range of missions, making it adaptable for various operations on the open seas.

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