Tonnere: helicopter carrier to Libya
The French daily Le Figaro reported that 12 helicopters, which could launch more accurate close attacks on pro-Gaddafi forces and targets than fixed wing aircraft, were shipped out to Libya on the French warship Tonnerre on May 17.
Tonnerre (L9014) The Mistral class is a class of three amphibious assault ships, also known as a helicopter carrier, of the French Navy. Referred to as "projection and command ships" (bâtiments de projection et de commandement or BPC), a Mistral class ship is capable of transporting and deploying 16 NH90 or Tiger helicopters, four landing barges, up to 70 vehicles including 13 Leclerc tanks, or a 40-strong Leclerc tank battalion, and 450 soldiers. The ships are equipped with a 69-bed hospital, and are capable of serving as part of a NATO Response Force, or with United Nations or European Union peace-keeping forces.