French Navy visits Cape Town

Jan 10, 2004
Author: P&S

Two French warships that visited Angola ports during the New Year holidays arrived in Cape Town yesterday (9 January) for a short visit.

The ships are the helicopter carrier Jeanne D’Arc (R97) and the frigate Georges Leygues (D640). It is not known at this stage how long the visit will last or where the ships are heading for when they leave Cape Town.

Jeanne D’Arc is a training helicopter cruiser taken into service in 1964 and is nearing the end of her long career with the French Navy. The 182m long ship, displacing 12,365 tonnes is powered by steam turbines feeding off four boilers and driving twin shafts to produce 40,000 shp and a speed of 28 knots.

The ship is able to carry up to eight helicopters on a large aft deck and has a crew of 696 plus accommodation for 140 cadets. The ship is armed with six Exocet surface-to-surface missile (SAS) launchers and conventional guns.

The ship is scheduled for decommissioning next year.

Her accompanying frigate, Georges Leygues displaces 4,350 tonnes and entered service in 1979. The ship normally has a crew of between 216 and 235 personnel and carries two Lynx helicopters in an aft deck hangar. Power is derived from twin diesels driving two shafts and producing 10,400 bhp to produce 21 knots, boosted by two gas turbines increasing to 52,000 shp for a top speed of 30 knots.

Armament consists of 26 Crotale surface to air (SAM) missiles, either four or eight Exocet SSM, two torpedo catapults and a variety of guns. In addition the ship is capable of carrying Mistral SAMs.

Georges Leygues is homeported at Toulon and the helicopter carrier at Brest.

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