The Mistral-class helicopter carrier Tonnerre (L9014) of the French Navy has departed Toulon on 9th August and en route to Beirut which was rocked by devastating explosions on August 4, French Ministry of Defence announced via social media. FS Tonnerre is scheduled to arrive Beirut on 13th August.
Tonnerre was deployed by decision of the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron to assist the local population and respond to the needs expressed by the Lebanese authorities.
Tonnerre will transport personnel and assistance made available jointly by the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Solidarity and Health, and by private companies.
The vessel is carrying substantial human resources (around 700 soldiers) and will provide capacity for evaluating the port environment, securing maritime approaches and infrastructures, reconnaissance, clearing as well as material support.
The Tonnerre will transport in particular:
- An engineering group of the Army of about 350 men commanded by the 2nd foreign engineer regiment. Created on very short notice, this module is particularly suited to operating in a complex environment, in particular thanks to its clearing, works and deployment assistance capacities;
- A detachment of demining divers from the French Navy with skills in underwater work and investigation of port areas;
- Amphibious landing means: one Rapid Amphibious Landing Vehicle (EDAR) and two Material Transport Barges (CTM);
- Two helicopters (a Caracal helicopter from the Air Force and an Alouette III from the French Navy);
- Capacities for reconnaissance of maritime access and hydrographic support for the Marine Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service (SHOM);
- A module of the 519th regiment of the train to help with the landing in Beirut;
- Fire-fighting vehicles from Marseille firefighters which will be donated to Lebanon;
- Staff and essential equipment (food freight and construction materials) made available by the Ministry of the Armed Forces, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Solidarity and health, and by private companies.
In addition to the French helo-carrier, HMS Enterprise of the Royal Navy, HS Ikaria of the Hellenic Navy and Ludwigshafen am Rhein corvette of the German Navy proceeded to Beirut for humanitarian aid.