French Naval Dockyard Agency

Operator Profile

Key Facts

Current Title:
Direction des Constructions et Armes Navales
English Title:
Directorate of Naval Construction
First Established:
ICAO Code:


Narrative Summary

The French Naval Dockyard Agency is responsible for the construction and upgrade of all French Navy ships, and also the provision of their equipment and weapons systems. For communications between geographically dispersed sites, it operated a small fleet of light aircraft from just after WW2 until 2010. In addition, a pair of Agusta-Bell 47 helicopters was used by the Establishment des Construction et Armes Navales for torpedo trials at St. Tropez. Renamed DCN in 1991, the organisation was privatised in 2003. In 2007 it absorbed the naval division of Thales, to become DCNS, where the ‘s’ stood for Systems and Services. The flying unit was disbanded in 2010.

Key Dates

1631    Central control of Royal Dockyards first established.
1852    Naval dockyards renamed Direction du Matériel.
1900    Naval dockyards renamed Direction des Constructions Navales (DCN).
1946    Naval dockyards reorganised as Direction des Constructions et Armes Navales (DCAN).
1946?    First aircraft obtained.
1991    DCAN becomes Direction des Constructions Navales (DCN)
2003    DCN becomes state-owned private company called “DCN”
2007    DCN renamed DCNS after acquisition of Thales naval division.
2010    Last aircraft retired.

Current Status

The DCNS ceased operating aircraft in 2010.

Future Plans

Not applicable.


Special Markings

It is not clear if the DCAN aircraft carried any special markings.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

DCAN aircraft had their own separate numbering system, commencing CAN1 and reaching CAN21. Each aircraft also had a French civil registration as a callsign, originally in the series F-YCZA to F-YCZP. In 1972 the callsigns were changed to F-YEEA onwards.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used


Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Not applicable.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Agusta-Bell AB.47G-2 2 19?? 19?? Italy
Max Holste MH.1521M Broussard 2 19?? 1993 France
Morane-Saulnier MS.502 Criquet 1 19?? 19?? France
Nord NC 856 Norvigie 1 19?? 19?? France
Nord N.1002 Pingouin II 1 19?? 19?? France
Nord N.1101 Ramier I 7 19?? 1975 France
Nord N.1203 Norecrin 2 19?? 1968 France
Robin HR.100-250 2 1982 2006 France
Wassmer CE.43 Guepard 2 1984 2010 AdlA

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.


Main Headquarters

DCAN, 40 rue du Docteur Finlay – 75015 Paris.

Organisational Structure

All aircraft were operated by the Flight Unit of the DCAN.

Current Unit Assignments

Not applicable

Historical Unit Assignments

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Not applicable.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

All aircraft were based at Cuers.

More Information


French Military Aviation by Paul A. Jackson (Midland Counties, 1979)
European Air Forces Directory 2012/13 (Mach III)


No feature articles known.


wikipedia: DCNS

Any further photographs illustrating this air arm would be welcome.

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