Commissioned December 2006
Identification L 9014
Launched 26 July 2005
Builder Chantiers de l'Atlantique
Length 199 m
Draft 6.3 m
|Laid down 26 August 2003 (aft part in Brest) 5 May 2004 (bow part in Saint-Nazaire)|
Tonnerre (L9014; lit. Thunder) is an amphibious assault helicopter carrier of the Marine Nationale. She is the eighth vessel to bear the name and the second ship in the Mistral-class amphibious assault ship series.
Tonnerre was laid down in two parts. On 26 August 2003, the aft part was laid down by Arsenal de Brest at Brest and the bow part was laid down 5 May 2004 by Chantiers de Saint-Nazaire at Saint-Nazaire. The vessel was launched on 26 July 2005 and began active service in December 2006.
Tonnerre’s maiden voyage occurred between 10 April and 24 July 2007. During this voyage, Tonnerre was involved in Opération Licorne, the French co-deploying complement to the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire following the Ivorian Civil War. Gazelle and Cougar helicopters of the French Air Force operated from the ship during 9 July.
At the start of 2008, Tonnerre was involved in the Corymbe 92 mission (see Standing French Navy Deployments), a humanitarian mission in the Gulf of Guinea. During this deployment, Tonnerre acted on tip-offs from the European Maritime Analysis Operation Centre – Narcotics, and intercepted 5.7 tonnes of smuggled cocaine: 2.5 tonnes from a fishing vessel 520 kilometres (280 nmi) from Monrovia on 29 January, and 3.2 tonnes from a cargo ship 300 kilometres (160 nmi) off Conakry.
In May 2011, the French Military deployed Eurocopter Tiger and Aérospatiale Gazelle helicopters on the ship to augment forces engaged in Opération Harmattan and later Operation Unified Protector during the Libyan Civil War. along with allied ships such as the British helicopter carrier HMS Ocean which also provided its own attack helicopters.