TOULON, France — Naval company DCNS has submitted with STX France a bid for a derisking study for a new generation logistic supply vessel for the French Navy, an industry executive said.
The Direction Générale de l’Armement procurement office launched in late 2011 a European tender for the derisking study, and received at least one best and final offer in July.
The study launches the definition phase for the French Navy’s new logistic fleet, intended to refuel ships at sea, transfer cargo, and handle weapons and ammunition, a DGA spokesman said.
DCNS and STX have been working on design studies on the Brave, a “paper ship” supply and replenishment vessel designed for refueling at sea, a roll-on roll-off for supplying forces ashore, and operating at dockside with poor infrastructure.
A selection on the derisking study, worth about 10 million euros ($12.9 million) is expected in the coming months. A production contract for the planned four vessels is worth hundreds of millions of euros.
The new ships are due to replace from 2015 five vessels: four fueling ships, the Meuse, Var, Marne et Somme, and the Jules Verne, a fleet auxiliary ship retired in 2009.
By comparison, Britain announced in February a 425 million pound ($689 million) contract with Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering of South Korea for delivery of four 37,000-ton ships to replace Royal Fleet Auxiliary single-hulled tankers.
Major issues in the DCNS-STX design work include a high level of energy saving, striking the right balance of functions for a multipurpose ship and cargo transfer at sea, with engineers considering loads of 2.3 and 5 tons loads being handled at a time.
The Brave is 205 meters long and 30,000 tons fully displaced, with a smaller version at about 22,000 tons.
The ship is offered with DCNS’ Polaris combat system and could be armed with weapons such as Phalanx or Mistral for self protection, as the vessel would be a high-value unit but not intended as a combat ship.
The helicopter deck is designed to take the CH-47 and CH-53, with aircraft weighing up to 35 tons.
The DCNS project is open to European cooperation, based on a modular design. DCNS hopes to find export contracts for the Brave vessel.