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Missile range instrumentation ship

Monge ship

The Monge is one of a very few telecommunication vessels in the world

Country of origin France
Entered service Early 1990s
Crew 220 men
Sea endurance ?
Dimensions and displacement
Length 229.6 m
Beam 24.8 m
Draught 7.7 m
Displacement, standard ?
Displacement, full load 21 040 tons
Propulsion and speed
Speed 15 knots
Range 24 140 km at 15 knots
Propulsion 2 x SEMT-Pielstick diesels delivering 10 400 shp to one shaft
Helicopters 2 x SA 321 Super Frelon or Alouette III
Artillery 2 x 20-mm Giat F2 cannons, 2 x 12.7-mm machine guns


   The Monge missile range instrumentation ship was completed in 1992. It undertook much of the previous Poincare's tasks. The Monge is flagship of the Trials Squadron and is also used for space surveillance by the French Space Agency. However it can be also used as an intelligence collection vessel.

   The Monge is named after the great French mathematician Gaspard Monge, which was also a brief Navy minister during the French Revolution.

   This ship has a crew of 120 naval personnel and up to 100 civilian and military technicians. The Monge is notably well equipped and carry state-of-the art measurement and observation devices enabling it to track, monitor and intercept data from missiles or satellites. The Monge is an essential part of French strategic nuclear missile program.

   The vessel has DRBV 15C air search and two navigation radars, and its mission equipment includes Stratus Gascogne, Armor (two), Savoie and Antares (two) missile-tracking radars, laser radar, an optronic tracking unit and 14 telemetry antennae. Real-time communication with mainland France is provided by a Syracuse satellite communications system. Vessel is painted in white, rather than usual gray of military ships, in order to limit the deformation of the shell under the heat of the sun, as very precise settings are necessary for the onboard radars.

   Telemeasures room is fitted with supercomputers stocking and recording all the data. This data is only partially processed abroad and is transferred to mainland via satellite communication system. It is worth mentioning that the ship has hundreds of kilometers of high-speed connection wires, linking al the communication equipment.

  This ship is powered by diesel units, rather than combined gas turbines or nuclear reactor. It has a speed of only 15 knots, however speed is not the main factor for a vessel of this type. Electrical power developed by the ship could be sufficient for a small city of 20 000. Much of this electricity is needed for a very sophisticated cooling system.

   The Monge is currently one of a very few telecommunication vessels in the world. The US and Russian fleets have no equivalent to this ship. Instead they use ground-based stations to track missile flights.


Thomas Kyle

   Article by THOMAS KYLE

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Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
Monge (A601) ? ? early 1990s

active, in service



Video of the Monge missile range instrumentation ship

Monge ship

Monge ship

Monge ship

Monge ship

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