Ouragan-class landing platform dock

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Ouragan DN-SC-90-08859s.jpg
Ouragan at sea during exercise Dragon Hammer 90
Class overview
Builders: Brest arsenal (DCN)
Operators:  French Navy
Succeeded by: Foudre class
In commission: 1963-2007
Completed: 2
Retired: 2
General characteristics
Type: Landing platform dock
Displacement: 5,965 tons empty, 8,500 tons loaded
Length: 149 m (489 ft)
Beam: 21.5 m (71 ft)
Draught: 5.4 m (18 ft)
Propulsion:
  • L9021: 2 SEMT-Pielstick 12 PC 2V diesels, total 8600 horsepower (6,325 kW)
  • L9022: 2 SEMT-Pielstick 12 PC 2.1 V400 diesels, total 9400 horsepower (6,910 kW)
  • 1920 kW electrical power
  • 2 variable-thread propellers
Speed: 17 kn (31 km/h; 20 mph)
Range: 9,000 nmi (17,000 km; 10,000 mi), at 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph), 15,000 nmi (28,000 km; 17,000 mi) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Complement:
Sensors and
processing systems:
2 Racal-Decca radars
Armament:

The Ouragan class was a series of French landing platform docks operated by the Marine Nationale. They were called Transport de chalands de débarquement (TCD) (in English: landing craft transport). They were replaced by the Mistral-class amphibious assault ships.

Overview[edit]

The Ouragan class displaced 5,965 tons empty and 8,500 tons loaded. They were 149 m (489 ft) long with a beam of 21.5 m (71 ft) and a draught of 5.4 m (18 ft). They had a complement of 205 personnel with the ability to carry up to 470 troops.[1]

The class was designed for multi-mission capability. They had the ability to complete a fast loading and unloading of landing craft, and other equipment, carrying troops and vehicles for a land mission. The vessels could carry, supply and operate helicopters transporting commandos or providing close support. They could transport the mission crew and command a landing operation of limited scale.

The landing was accomplished by means of an unloading barge transported in an interior raft called a radier. The TCD could simultaneously transport, refuel and put into operation four heavy helicopters, while ensuring the control of a limited landing operation, hospitalization and care of the wounded.

The essential characteristic distinguishing the TCD was the interior raft or radier, which was submersible in 3 m (9.8 ft) of water and with a rear door that put it in contact with the water. The ship had a 120 m (390 ft) long well deck that could be submerged 3 m (9.8 ft) under water. The movement of water within the ship was control by sluices, valves and automatic pumps. The ships were supplied with two EDICs (Landing Craft Tanks) which carried 11 light tanks or could accommodate 18 LCMs within the well deck.[1] They could carry a variety of other loads.[2] They were also designed as repair ships, able to dock ships up to 450 t (440 long tons; 500 short tons) within their well.[1]

Mission flexibility was accomplished through the non-permanent sections of both the internal and external decks that could be removed. A temporary dock 90 m (300 ft) could be created in fifteen sections that allowed for an increase in storage space for equipment, however the docking well was reduced to half its normal size.[1] Logistically they could carry 1500 tons of equipment which were handled by the two 35 ton cranes mounted above the docking well.[1][2] Orage is equipped with an enclosed flag bridge.[2]

Propulsion and armament[edit]

Ouragan was powered by two SEMT-Pielstick 12 PC 2V diesel engines creating 8,600 hp (6,400 kW) driving two shafts. Orage was powered by two SEMT-Pielstick 12 PC 2.1 V400 diesel engines creating 9,400 hp (7,000 kW) driving two shafts.[1][2] This gave the ships a maximum speed of 17 kn (31 km/h; 20 mph). The vessels had a range of 8,000 nmi (15,000 km; 9,200 mi) at 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph).[2]

Originally the ships were only armed with two 120 millimetres (5 in) mortars, though Ouragan was given four 40 mm machine guns.[1] However in 1993, the two ships were upgraded with two Matra Simbad twin missile launchers armed with the Mistral infrared surface-to-air missile. The anti sea-skimmer missile has a homing range to 4 km (2.5 mi) and carries a 3 kg (6.6 lb) warhead. Orage was also given two Breda/Mauser 30 mm/70 guns.[2]

Electronic warfare[edit]

Ouragan was initially deployed with the SQS-17 sonar system.[1] In 1993, as part of their modernisation, both ships were equipped with Thomson-CSF DRBV 51A air/surface radar and two Racal-Decca 34A navigation radar. For weapons control they were given two SAGEM VIGY-105 optronic systems. Ouragan's sonar was removed in the refit.[2]

Aircraft[edit]

The Ouragan class initially had the ability to operate three Aérospatiale SA 321 Super Frelon helicopters or ten Aérospatiale Alouette IIIs from its flight deck. They could have one further Super Frelon or three Alouettes fly from a removable 36 m (118 ft) flight deck area covering its well deck space.[1] Within its hold, it could carry 18 Super Frelons and 80 Alouettes for transport purposes only.[1][2]

Ships in class[edit]

Ouragan-class landing platform docks[2]
Name Pennant number Laid down Launched Builder Commissioned Fate
Ouragan L 9021 June 1962 9 November 1963 DCN Brest 1 June 1965 Retired January 2007, scrapped in Ghent
Orage L 9022 June 1966 22 April 1967 DCN Brest 1 April 1968 Retired June 2007

Service history[edit]

Following its commissioning, Orage was sent to the Pacific Ocean and assigned to the Pacific Experimental Centre. While deployed with this unit, Orage was unarmed and its surgical compartments and inboard removable decks were replaced with modular structure. This allowed the vessel to be a floating headquarters ship.[1]

In 1991, Ouragan took part in the Opération Daguet, the French armed forces operation in the Gulf War.[3]

The ships were due to decommission in 1993, however delays in the construction of the Foudre class forced the French navy to send the class in for an overhaul.[1] Following the refit, both ships were assigned to the Force d'action navale based in Toulon.[1][2] They remained with that force until 2007 when they were both decommissioned.

The two ships of this class were supposedly due for transfer to the Argentine Navy in 2006 and 2007 but the whole operation was placed on hold by the Argentine Government due to concerns about asbestos, a toxic material used in the ships' construction. They are currently moored in Toulon harbour.

In spring 2016 Ouragan arrived in Ghent at the Galloo ship recycling plant where it is currently being dismantled.

Gallery[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Chesenau, pp.125-126
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Saunders, p.238
  3. ^ "L'histoire du TCD Ouragan (1991-2001)" (in French). netmarine.net. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 

References[edit]

  • Gardiner, Robert; Chumbley, Stephen; Budzbon, Przemysław (1995). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1947-1995. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-132-7. 
  • Saunders, Stephen (ed.). Jane's Fighting Ships, 2004-2005 (107 ed.). Surrey: Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-7106-2623-1.