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French Navy successfully tests Delair's drone DT46 on Mistral class LHD Tonnerre.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by Sebastien Lecornu on February 20, 2024, the French Navy has successfully completed trials of new, entirely French-manufactured drones capable of landing in much more confined spaces than previously possible. This breakthrough was achieved aboard the amphibious helicopter carrier Tonnerre.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Delair's drone DT46 on Mistral class amphibious assault ship Tonnerre. (Picture source: French Navy)

The successful experiment marks a concrete outcome of the Military Programming Law (LPM), paving the way for the French Armed Forces to receive their initial deliveries of these drones as early as March.

This development is part of the Navy's PERSEUS initiative, which aims to explore, test, and define the operational framework for various types of drones across different naval platforms. The trials focused on the DT46 drone, indicating a step forward in integrating advanced unmanned systems into the French Navy's arsenal.

Technical data

The DT46 VTOL drone is designed for efficient and flexible aerial reconnaissance missions, capable of operating in a variety of conditions ranging from -15°C to +50°C and wind speeds up to 35 knots.

It has an endurance of up to 3 hours and 30 minutes, with a total weight of 25 kg and a payload capacity of 5 kg. The drone features a wingspan of 4.5 meters and a length of 2 meters, and it can be deployed in just 15 minutes for vertical takeoff and landing in areas as small as 20m². Its performance is tailored for effective use in day and night operations, with specific ranges for detection, recognition, and identification of vehicles.

The Dixmude has a displacement ranging from 16,500 tons (empty) to 32,300 tons (with ballast), and measures 199 meters in length with a beam of 32 meters. It is powered by four Wärtsilä engines and two Rolls-Royce Mermaid azimuth thrusters, enabling speeds up to 18.8 knots.

The Dixmude's operational range varies between 5,800 nautical miles at 18 knots to 10,700 nautical miles at 15 knots. It is equipped to carry a variety of equipment and personnel, including two barges, a Leclerc battalion, and 70 vehicles.

Additionally, it can accommodate up to 450 passengers, with facilities for a 150-man operational headquarters. Its armament includes missile systems, guns, autocannons, miniguns, and machine guns, and it has the capacity to carry up to 16 heavy or 35 light helicopters.

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