The Mistral (L9013) is an amphibious assault ship of the French Navy, the fourth vessel to bear the name, and lead ship of her class.
She is capable of deploying 16 NH90
, or 35 Aérospatiale Gazelle
helicopters, four landing barges or two LCAC
, and 70 vehicles, including 13-tank Leclerc
battalion, with up to 450 soldiers (900 for a short period). She also features important hospital capabilities, and is able to accommodate a general staff
features a fully capable 69-bed hospital, with a triage
room, a shock room, two surgery rooms, a room for treatment of burn injuries, a telesurgery room, and radiology equipments including a scanner.
In normal time, the ship has a medical doctor, two nurses, and 19 hospital beds. The helicopter hangar can be converted to a campaign hospital to improve medical capabilities. If needed, modular elements can be added to provide four surgical rooms and accommodate a 100-person medical team, including 12 surgeons. This hospital is level 3 in NATO classification.
was constructed in two segments, the bow part in Saint-Nazaire
, and the aft part in Brest
. She uses a completely electric propulsion system, with two pods at the aft and one maneuver pod at the bow; this allows for a turning radius of 289 metres. The ship remains almost horizontal when she turns, and can maneuver efficiently even at small speed, which eases helicopter operations. Built according to civilian standard, the Mistral
is compatible with MARPOL
The space for the crew and passengers is unusually large, since the Mistral is designed to spend up to three months at sea at a time, in accordance with the "mobile base" doctrine. The ship features a purpose sport room and large common areas. The crew live in 4-person cabins fitted with sanitary equipment, which allows the ship to accommodate a mixed crew.
is equipped with combat detection systems linked to a SENIT 9 system which allows integrated sharing of information between units of a fleet. The communication systems and other equipments allow the Mistral
to host a 200-person general staff.
She is capable of deploying 16 NH90 or Tigre, or 35 Aérospatiale Gazelle helicopters, and has reinforced forward pod, as to be able to accommodate 30-tonne helicopters such as the CH-53E Super Stallion ; four landing barges or two LCAC ; and 70 vehicles, including 13-tank Leclerc battalion, with up to 450 soldiers (900 for a short period).
The Mistral features light, short-range missile and cannons for last resort self-defence.
started her trials in January 2005, and was officially commissioned in February 2006. She departed from Toulon for her first long-range journey in March, sailing through the Mediterranean, Suez, the Red Sea, Djibouti and India, before returning to France.
In July, to ensure the safety of European citizens in the context of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, France set up Opération Baliste. The Mistral is the flagship of the system off Lebanon, escorted by the frigates Jean Bart and Jean de Vienne, and along with the Siroco.
On 16 May 2008, the Burmese UN ambassador accused France of deploying the Mistral to the Burmese coast for military purposes, which the French UN ambassador denied, stating that she was instead carrying 1,500 tons of relief supplies.
- BPC Mistral Force Projection and Command Ship Mistral on Alabordache