|The helicopter cruiser of the French Navy, Jeanne d'Arc|
Jeanne d' Arc was a helicopter cruiser of the French Navy (Marine Nationale). She was the third vessel of the French Navy named after Joan of Arc ("Jeanne d'Arc", in French). In the mid-1950s the need arose to replace the old training cruiser Jeanne d'Arc of 1930. Various proposals were considered, including the use of a flotilla "avisos escorteurs", but in 1956 it was decided to construct a specialized helicopter cruiser which in wartime could be employed for ASW operations, for amphibious assault, or as a troop transport capable of lifting a battalion of 700 men. The resulting PH 57 design adopted a hull form based on that of the anti-aircraft cruiser Colbert. A conventional cruiser superstructure forward accommodated all command and control facilities, together with the boiler uptakes, while the after part of the ship was dominated by a helicopter deck (62x21m) beneath which were located the hangar and aviation facilities.
The ship was named La Résolue as a temporary measure,
adopting the name Jeanne d'Arc when her predecessor was withdrawn from
service in 1964.
|The "new" Jeanne D'Arc and the old Jeanne D'Arc sailing together|
|Impressive photo of Jeanne d' Arc|
|Jeanne d' Arc with her flight deck full of helicopters|
|Jeanne d' Arc, forward view|
|The triple Exocet launchers|
|100mm single naval mounting|
High speed was not a tactical requirement, so the size of the propulsion machinery was considerably reduced compared with the cruiser Colbert. There were two main machinery spaces, each with two boilers and a turbine, separated by a single bulkhead. After the ship's sea trials, the funnel had to be heightened in order to clear the bridge structure. Initially it was planned to fit four 100mm single mountings around the superstructure with a further two on the stern, controlled by three FC directors, but the two mountings abeam the superstructure were deleted. Electronic equipment was similar to that aboard Clemenceau aircraft carrier. Sonar was provided, and the ship was to have carried a quadruple 305mm ASW mortar on the forecastle, but this was never fitted. It was also planned to replace the mortar by a twin Masurca SAM launcher at a later date, but this plan, too, was abandoned. In 1974, however, six MM38 Exocet anti-ship launchers (two triple) were installed forward of the bridge. A Crotale SAM system and a SENIT-2 tactical data system were to have been installed during the 1980s, but these and other projected modifications were abandoned because of budget pressures. The two aft 100mm guns were removed in 2000 together with the rear fire control radar (in its position an INMARAT was installed).
|The proposed position of the Masurca SAM launcher|
The bridge structure, in addition to the navigation bridge, contains an action information centre, a control centre for amphibious landing operations and, at the after end, a helicopter control bridge. Hangar and flight deck were served by a single centreline lift with a capacity of 12t. Originally this was to have projected from the after end of the flight deck, but during construction it was decided to enclose it by extending the hangar structure aft in order to provide repair and inspection workshops and handling rooms for aircraft ordnance. The hangar can accommodate four Super Frelon helicopters, which were introduced into service at about the same time as Jeanne d'Arc and can serve in both the ASW and assault roles. In wartime, hangar space could be doubled by removing some of the officer cadet accommodation, allowing a further four helicopters to be embarked. Five helicopter spots were marked on the flight deck, and there was sufficient space for two simultaneous take-offs.
|Alouette on the lift|
|The raised lift|
|The lift lowered|
|Inside the hangar|
|Puma and Gazelle helicopters flying above the cruiser|
|Click to enlarge and save the image to view the details: modified photo of Jeanne d'Arc cruiser of the French Navy. |
For a high resolution image click here.
|The final cruise (2009-2010)|
|Jeanne d'Arc without her rear guns and fire|
control radar; the INMARSAT dome is visible
The helicopter carrier Jeanne d'Arc was formally removed from active service in the French Marine Nationale on 7 June 2010. On 1 September 2010, at 11:30, Jeanne d'Arc's colors and name were withdrawn, formally ending her life as a ship in the Marine Nationale after 40 years from the day she was laid down (1960). Jeanne d'Arc was the last French cruiser and at the same time the last European cruiser.
|Jeanne d'Arc (1960-2010)|
Additional sources (except wikipedia):