The ongoing military operation against Islamist fighters in Mali has seen the French Navy deploy one of its Mistral class LHDs in a power projection role for the first time. The recently-commissioned FS Dixmude sailed from Toulon with a full load of vehicles from the 92nd Infantry Regiment filling the hangar, garage and well-decks, and alsoon the flight deck.
The cargo of Infantry Fighting Vehicles, anti-tank reconnaissance armoured vehicles, armoured personnel carriers and ambulances, armoured vehicles, as well as tactical trucks and refuelling tankers, would stretch for six kilometres if laid end to end. The loading procedure was computer-monitored in real time throughout to ensure that the 2,000 tonnes of cargo was evenly distributed to maintain the vessel’s stability. The reinforcements, which also included around 700 troops, were taken to the Ivory Coast port of Abidjan.