02/11/2014: In January 2014 a United States Marine Corps (USMC) V22 Osprey landed for the first time onboard the Dixmude, a French Navy Mistral class LHD.
The Mistral was part of the Bold Alligator 2012 exercise and the French were well aware of the role of the Osprey in the exercise.
There was a clear recognition of the advantages of preparing to land the Osprey on a Mistral class amphibious ship and the French and US navies worked the challenge and have demonstrated the capability.
Two French Navy test pilots (one from an experimental squadron, CEPA/10S, the other from the French Procurement Agency DGA) were present onboard the V22 to observe and assist the USMC crew in the maneuvers. According to the commander of CEPA/10S and flight test engineer, “with this first phase we validated the location, refined procedures and performed environmental measures primarily of wind and temperature. Although we had little concern about it, these experiments confirm the ability of Mistral class LHDs to accommodate the V22 in acceptable security conditions from the vessel perspective as well as from the aircraft perspective.”
The MV-22 late last year landed on a Japanese amphibious ship and the way is opening up to included several allies amphibious ships as key elements of encompassing the Osprey as part of an allied expeditionary enterprise.
Credit Photos: French Navy