PARIS – The Organization for Joint Armament Co-operation, OCCAR, has signed a €1.7 billion contract on behalf of the DGA French procurement agency with Chantiers de l'Atlantique and Naval Group for four Italian-designed logistic support ships.

The vessels are meant to provide long-term support for France’s blue-sea combat fleet, supplying fuel, ammunition, spare parts and food. Each LSS can carry 13,000 cubic meters of fuel.

Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri will supply part of the hulls and technical assistance, having designed and built the recently-launched Vulcano for the Italian navy as the design base for the vessels. The ships will be built in Saint-Nazaire on France’s Atlantic coast, and the first two will be delivered by 2025 to start replacing the last three Durance-class command and supply ships in line to be phased out of the French navy.

“Through this order, our expertise in the design and construction of complex ships, civilian or military, is acknowledged once again,” Yves Pelpel, senior vice president of naval programs at Chantiers de l’Atlantique, said. "After the construction of the Mistral, Tonnerre and Dixmude LHD platforms, we are proud to contribute again, in partnership with Naval Group, to the modernization of the French navy’s fleet.”

The French defense ministry also announced the signature of a €60 million contract with a consortium of CNIM, Socarenam, CNN MCO and Mauric to design and build 14 EDA-S amphibious landing craft to replace its ageing fleet of such vessels over the next decade.

Eight of the craft will be deployed from the Mistral-class landing helicopter docks whilst the remaining six will be based at French overseas territories (Guyana, Mayotte, Martinique, New Caledonia and Djibouti). Six of the ships will be under construction by the end of this summer at the Socarenam shipyard in Saint-Malo, Brittany.

Christina Mackenzie was the France correspondent for Defense News.

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