Ten days after setting sail from Saint Nazaire on March 19, the Jacques Chevallier, the first of the four Batiments de Ravitaillement des Forces (BRF) logistic supply ships procured through the FLOTLOG program, docked in Toulon, her new home port, on March 30. During its transit, the BRF carried out numerous tests, for the first time under the supervision of its crew which had just obtained its navigation qualification (QUALNAV), at the end of an internship of conditioning carried out pierside and then at sea. Preparing for its primary mission, it carried out its first refueling at sea (RAM) thanks to the assistance of several units of the Naval Action Force (FAN).
The BRF Jacques Chevallier is the first of a series of four ships intended for the French Navy. The contract was awarded in January 2019 to Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Naval Group. The FlotLog program is part of a Franco-Italian cooperation led by OCCAR on behalf of the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) and its Italian counterpart NAVARM, within the Logistic Support Ship (LSS) program. The Jacques Chevallier, named after the naval engineer and father of French nuclear propulsion, will carry up to 31,000 tons at full load, making it the second heaviest ship in the French Navy, after the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. It will be based in Toulon.
The four units of the class are to be constructed in Saint-Nazaire, at Chantiers de l’Atlantique. Building of the first ship was initially planned for early 2020 for delivery in 2022, with the three further ships being delivered from 2013 through 2029. In 2021, it was indicated that delivery of the first ship had slipped to 2023. The steel cutting ceremony for the first ship took place on 18 May 2020. The ship was launched in April 2022 and sea trials began on 20 December 2022. On 29 March, she carried out her first underway replenishment for the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, having refueled the air defence frigate Chevalier Paul a few days earlier.
Four ships are scheduled to be commissioned in the French Navy as replacement for the Durance-class tankers. On 18 May 2020, the navy published the names intended for the ships, which honour preeminent French naval engineers: Jacques Chevallier, Jacques Stosskopf, Louis-Émile Bertin and Gustave Zédé. Defensive weapons will include the Simbad-RC system firing Mistral Mk3 surface-to-air missiles (for at least the first ship in the series) and two Thales/Nexter 40 mm RAPIDFire guns. In March it was confirmed that two Simbad-RC short-range SAM/SSM systems had been installed on the ship, on a platform located behind the bridge.