French Destroyer “Chevalier Paul” in Malta
The French destroyer the “Chevalier Paul” will be calling for a three-day visit at Valletta on October 15th. The ship will dock at the Deep Water Quay in time for a special conference on the links between the French navy and Malta to be given on board by Ambassador Daniel Rondeau coming Friday.
The result of Franco-Italian cooperation
This vessel is a multi-role Horizon-class air defence. The Horizon programme was originally spearheaded in the 1990s by France and Great Britain and was later joined by Italy. The need for airspace dominance to increase military operational capacity and provide a command platform for air defence was behind the launching of the development of new-age destroyers. The Horizon programme became a Franco-Italian one with the UK remaining involved only in the systems engineering of the destroyer, resulting in the development of the Principal Anti Air Missile System. The Horizon programme has contributed to the development and the construction of two French destroyers, the “Forbin” and the “Chevalier Paul” and two Italian destroyers, the “Andrea Doria” and “Caio Duilio”.
The “Chevalier Paul” thus provides an air-defence umbrella protecting the Carrier Battle Group and other ships around from incoming aircraft. Her Principal Anti Air Missile System comprising of Aster 30 missiles and radars with a range of 400 km assist her in achieving this aim. The ship assumes Command and Control tasks within the airspace of an operational area especially within a coalition maritime force.
The destroyer also specialises in anti-submarine warfare (ASW) assisted by a 11 ton NH 90 helicopter that extends its horizon capabilities. MU90 torpedoes launched either by the ship or by the helicopter make the ship a state-of-the-art piece in ASW. The “Chevalier Paul” also engages in electronic warfare using decoys and jammers that are used against enemy weapons and radar systems enabling the ship to counter multiple attacks.
Commander François Moreau who commands the “Chevalier Paul” is a father of seven boys and two girls. He has served notably in operations in Kosovo, Lebanon and in Operation Enduring Freedom.
Chevalier Paul and Malta: Exceptional links
“Chevalier Paul” has an exceptional link to Malta as it bears the name of the Frenchman Jean-Paul de Saumeur who was later to become Knight in the Order of Malta. At the age of 18, he left France on board a brigantine belonging to the Order and was soon to show exceptional valour here in Malta. One of his notable exploits was when he replaced his captain and successfully fought against two galleys belonging to the Ottomans, sinking one and taking the other one hostage. Appointed as Commander by the Order with his base in Mitilini in Greece where he was to continue to combat the commerce of the Ottomans. His military feats were so notable (in one of his expeditions against five Ottoman ships, he was to sink two ships, capture one of them and give a chase to two others) that the Order made him a Knight in 1637 despite the fact that he was born out of wedlock, the son of a laundress in Marseilles.
Between 1637 and his death in Toulon 1667, his military dare-devilry and mastery were illustrated along the shores of Spain (the victory at Guetaria, Santona and Larreda), Italy (Talamone, Naples, Orbetello, Castellamare), Tripoli, Algiers and Tunis and was promoted Commander of the Order in 1659. Chevalier Paul still remains a leading figure in French naval history so much so that three destroyers have so far been given his name.
A series of photos taken by Cpt. Lawrence Dalli of Malta Ship Photos can be seen here :
- Chevalier Paul Press release
- (PDF - 83.5 kb)