The French Directorate General for Armament (DGA, Direction générale de l’armement ), the French Navy (National Navy), and the Joint Organization for Armament Cooperation (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’ARmement; OCCAR) have jointly organized a ceremony at the Toulon naval base, to mark the reception of the first replenishment vessel (BRF, Bâtiment ravitailleur de forces), BRF Jacques Chevallier on July 12, 2023. The BRF Jacques Chevallier is the inaugural force replenishment vessel of the “Logistic Support Ship” (FLOTLOG) program, helmed by the DGA in collaboration with Italy, under a contract overseen by OCCAR.
The BRF Jacques Chevallier is a force replenishment vessel with a full load displacement of 31,000 tons. The vessel measures 194 meters in length, has a beam of 27.4 meters, and a draught of 9 meters. Capable of reaching a speed of 20 knots, its electric engines also allow for a speed of 10 knots. The vessel has a range of 7,000 nautical miles at a speed of 16 knots and an endurance of 30 days. Defensive weapons will include the Simbad-RC system firing Mistral Mk3 surface-to-air missiles 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. This was said to represent the first deployment of the Simbad-RC system variant with the French Navy.
The BRF are a class of future fleet tankers that are to replace the Durance-class units in French Navy service. Until January 2019, the programme was known as Flotte logistique (abbreviated FLOTLOG in military parlance). First ship of the class completed the first stage of her sea trials in January 2023 and was formally delivered to the French Navy in March to continue her sea trials. The four units of the class are to be constructed in Saint-Nazaire, at Chantiers de l’Atlantique. The first ship was initially planned for delivery in 2022. However, that delivery date subsequently slipped by one year, to 2023. Two additional ships are scheduled for delivery in 2025 and 2027.
In 2023, it was decided that a fourth ship of the class was to be delayed beyond 2030. Steel cutting for the first ship took place on 18 May 2020. A floating hull section was built at Fincantieri, Italy. The ship was launched in April 2022 and named Jacques Chevallier. Sea trials began on 20 December 2022. She was formally delivered to the French Navy on 3 March 2023 to continue her sea trials. 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. These ships are among the largest units of the French Navy, second only to Charles de Gaulle.