The Adroit offshore patrol vessel, designed and built by France's naval systems group DCNS on its its own funds, has been on loan to the French navy since summer 2011.
The navy will put it through its paces for another year before handing it back to DCNS which says it has some very interested potential customers for the ship.
Its main characteristics: length: 87 meters; width: 15 meters; displacement: 1,500 tons; meximum speed: 21 knots; range: over 8,000 nautical miles; crew: 32 but with space for a further 27; flight deck : 10-ton class helicopter; hangar: 5-ton class helicopter.
And here's what it looks like:The Adroit at the Mediterranean port of Toulon. Photo: Christina MackenzieThe 3-in-1 bridge: the first row in the centre left of the photo is the navigation area; the naval officers are leaning on the mission control area and out of picture on the right is the flight control area which you can see in the photo below. Photo: Christina MackenzieThe flight control area of the bridge gives the operator a good view of the landing pad. Photo credit: Christina Mackenzie
The bridge has windows right around it giving crew members a 360 degree view of what is happening around the ship. This photo shows the part of the bridge facing aft. Photo credit: Christina Mackenzie
A fully-fledged crew member, or so I was told! Photo credit: Christina Mackenzie
The flight deck. Here the pad is configured for a small, remotely piloted helicopter. For a larger piloted helicopter the smooth surface is removed to reveal a grid underneath so the helicopter can hook onto it. Photo credit: Christina Mackenzie
A comfortable mess. Photo credit: Christina Mackenzie
Adroit has two rear ramps for launching rigid inflatable boats. We got to try one.The ship is equipped with non-lethal weapons such as these water cannons, but also has one 20mm gun for self-defense, two 12.7mm carriages and two 7.62mm carriages for hard kill, and a decoy launcher for self-protection against missiles. Photo: Christina Mackenzie
The single mast has, from top to bottom, C-ESM, R-ESM, USV Antenna, IFF, navigaiton radar, UAV antenna and surveillance radar. Photo: Christina Mackenzie