Amphibious assault ship Mistral (L9013), Toulon harbor. 

Mistral (L9013) is an amphibious assault ship, a type of helicopter carrier, of the French Navy. She is the fourth vessel to bear the name, and is the lead ship of the Mistral-class amphibious assault ships.

Mistral began sea trials in January 2005, and was commissioned in February 2006. She departed from Toulon for her first long-range journey in March, sailing through the Mediterranean Sea, Suez Canal, and the Red Sea to Djibouti and India, before returning to France. In July, to ensure the safety of European citizens in the context of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, France set up Opération Baliste. Mistral was the flagship of the fleet unit off Lebanon, escorted by the frigates Jean Bart and Jean de Vienne, and along with another amphibious assault ship, Siroco.

On 16 May 2008, the Burmese United Nations (UN) ambassador accused France of deploying Mistral to the Burmese coast for military purposes. The French UN ambassador denied this, stating that she was instead carrying 1,500 tons of relief supplies.

In March 2011 Mistral was deployed to Libyan waters to help aid the joint NATO effort to repatriate tens of thousands of Egyptian refugees fleeing the violence in Libya.

In January 2013, escorted by Chevalier Paul, Mistral took part in the ill-fated operation to retrieve Denis Allex, a DGSE officer held hostage in Bulo Marer.

On 22 May 2022, Mistral, operating in the Gulf of Guinea in conjunction with the La Fayette-class frigate, Courbet, was involved in the seizure of almost two tons of drugs.

Builder: Arsenal de Brest, Chantiers de Saint-Nazaire

Read more: History of shipbuilding with Oliver Davis ...