Speaking to international experts gathered in London on 9 and 10 December for the Afloat Support and Naval Logistics conference*, DCNS gave a presentation on its new-generation BRAVE (Bâtiment RAVitailleur d’Escadre) underway replenishment tanker and support vessel under development for both the French Navy and international customers. By increasing export sales, the Group hopes to increase revenues by 50 to 100% over the next ten years.
The BRAVE support vessel is the latest addition to DCNS’s product portfolio. The concept was unveiled at the Euronaval 2010 show in Paris in late October, where it attracted considerable attention, presumably for the simple reason that underway replenishment is the key to naval logistic support.
The multi-purpose BRAVE concept covers caters for missions currently performed by up to three types of French Navy ships. These include the underway replenishment of dry goods, munitions and fuels along with at-sea maintenance and repairs. According to DCNS studies, four BRAVE vessels would enable the French Navy to reduce its support fleet and crews by 50% while increasing total payload by 30% and cutting operating costs.
The BRAVE concept has been designed from the outset with international customers in mind. The basic design can be adapted to yield versions with a length overall ranging from 165 to 195 metres. Shipboard volumes and areas can also be readily tailored to increase tank capacities or accommodate a naval force command team, troops and equipment or additional hospital beds for humanitarian missions.
All navies need to get heavier payloads to distant locations more quickly while reducing the risks associated with underway replenishment. This is precisely the reason the BRAVE design features two mixed rigs, each designed to handle both fuels and dry cargo.
In recent decades, DCNS has designed and built a dozen support vessels for the French Navy as well as the Navy of the Argentine Republic, the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Saudi Naval Forces. Most of these vessels are still in service.