The P400 were built by the Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie, which specialise in small military craft (they also built the Combattante, two swift "Patra" patrol boats, and numerous Combattante I and Combattante III missile attack craft).
Two similar ships are in service in Gabon.
The P400 were originally designed in two versions: one armed with Exocet MM38 missiles, and another public service version with a smaller 16-man complement; eventually neither of these versions was commissioned, the Navy choosing an intermediary version.
Most of these craft are pre-positioned in overseas territories (DOM/TOM) where they carry out sea monitoring missions and secured the EEZ. They also execute missions in the context of French agreements with other nations, typically supporting foreign armies or carrying out humanitarian missions.
The first problem that occurred related to the carter reductor, then with the transmission, and eventually with a piston -- this last item being the most worrying, since it was probably a symptom of a conception problem. This shed a bad light on Alstom who were trying to compete against German motors by MTU. French humourist Coluche came up with the witty remark Après l'Audacieuse, la Boudeuse, la Capricieuse,… voici venu le temps de la Dépanneuse ! (After the Audacieuse, the Boudeuse, the Capricieuse, time has come for the Wrecker!).
After these problems were solved, larger exhaust pipes had to be fixed (originally, exhaust was vented underwater to minimise infra-red signature, but it turned out that the ship was taking water from these openings).