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Henri Poincare

Missile range instrumentation ship

Henri Poincare ship

The Henri Poincare was the flagship of the French navy's Force M

Entered service ?
Crew 223 men
Sea endurance ?
Dimensions and displacement
Length 180 m
Beam 22.2 m
Draught 9.4 m
Displacement, standard 19 500 tons
Displacement, full load 24 000 tons
Propulsion and speed
Speed 15 knots
Range ?
Propulsion one geared steam turbine delivering 10 000 shp to one shaft
Helicopters 2 x SA 321 Super Frelon or up to 5 x Alouette III


   The Henri Poincare was the sole ship of its type and until deletion in the 1990s was the flagship of Force M, the French naval test and measurement group, which takes measurements and conducts experiments as requested by the navy or any other organisation, civil or military. The Poincare's primary role was to monitor and measure the trajectory of the intercontinental ballistic missile and submarine-launched ballistic missiles fired from the experimental station at Landes or from missile-carrying submarines in order to compute their flight characteristics, especially in the re-entry and impact stages. During such tests the Poincare also served as the range safety and command ship by assisting the flag officer-in-charge in controlling the naval and air elements in the test zone, particularly in the descent and recovery phases.

   Built originally as an Italian tanker, the Poincare was reconstructed at Brest in 1964-67, a second major refit following between 1979 and 1980 to update electronic systems. These included one Savoie and two Gascogne tracking radars, a fully automatic tracking station, celestial position-fixing equipment, a cinecamera-equipped theodolite, infra-red tracking systems, Transit navigational and Syracuse satellite communications systems, meteorological and oceanographic equipment, a data collection and collation system, and hull-mounted sonar. For the vertical replenishment and communications tasks Poincare had a hangar and flight deck aft for either two SA 321 Super Frelon heavy-lift or up to five Alouette III light communications/utility helicopters.

   The Henri Poincare was decommissioned and much of its tasks has been undertaken by the Monge.


Additional Info
Henri Poincare ship