Almost three weeks after the departure of the French warship Tonnerre (L9014), the French Navy hospital-configured ship Dixmude (L9015) is sailing to Egypt this Tuesday.
The Dixmude Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) has just left her home port of Toulon. She is heading to Gaza to provide medical support and humanitarian aid to the population.
She will join a growing fleet of NATO vessels in the Eastern Mediterranean. As announced by the Minister of the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu, Dixmude will be stationed in the Middle East, close to the Gaza Strip. She will serve as a direct support for local infrastructures deprived of electricity.
The massive 199-meters long L9015 amphibious assault ship, third one of the Mistral class, is the largest ship in displacement after the Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier.
Two significant floating medical capabilities
Italy announced that it had dispatched a hospital ship to Gaza, which should arrive “within a few days”. According to a spokesman for the Italian Ministry of Defence, the hospital ship “left on Wednesday evening. Depending on sea conditions, she should arrive in a few days”.
Italian Minister of Defence Guido Crosetto said that the logistic support ship Vulcano (A5335) will be dispatched to Gaza. While LSS Vulcano is primarily designed to resupply warships with fuel and dry stores, she is also equipped as an Echelon 2 medical facility.
Along with LHD Dixmude due to operate in tandem with LSS Vulcano, it seems that France has positioned itself as the framework nation for humanitarian action on behalf of Gaza civilians.
As a multi-purpose amphibious helicopter-carrier, Dixmude provides a significant logistical support able to relief local hospitals. With their 199-meters length and 5.200m² deck, French Navy LHDs are true “Swiss Army knives” and can also be used to transport wounded by helicopters. Their storage capacity will be put to good use with several hundred tons of equipment, medicines and food supplies.