Military

Macron says France's next aircraft carrier will be nuclear-powered

Macron says France's next airc...
Artist's concept of the PANG
Artist's concept of the PANG
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Artist's concept of the PANG
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Artist's concept of the PANG

President Emmanuel Macron has announced that France will be replacing the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle with a nuclear-powered carrier in 2038. While on a visit to the French nuclear reactor company, Framatome, in Le Creusot, he said the decision confirms France’s desire to preserve its strategic autonomy.

The flagship of the French Navy, the Charles de Gaulle is France's first nuclear surface vessel and its 10th aircraft carrier. It's also the only non-American carrier to be equipped with catapults for launching fixed wing, non-STOVL aircraft. It only made its maiden voyage in 2001, but in 2018 it was decided to replace it with the Porte Avion Nouvelle Generation (PANG), or next-generation aircraft carrier.

According to the Ministry of the Armed Forces, the decision to replace the current carrier with another nuclear-powered ship is because it won't require refueling during its service life, except for aircraft fuel, and can go for 10 years between refits. The yet-to-be named carrier will be built in the shipyards at Saint-Nazaire, with Naval Group as the prime contractor, and will be based in Toulon.

Once completed, the new carrier will displace 75,000 tonnes, have a length of 980 feet (300 m) and reach a speed of 27 knots (31 mph, 50 km/h). It will carry a crew of 2,000, including air crew, 30 of the next-generation SCAF fighters, and electromagnetic catapults that will allow it to launch a wide variety of aircraft, including fighter bombers and drones. Power will come from two 220-MW reactors generating 150 MW of electricity.

The design phase for the carrier will be through 2025 when construction is set to begin, with the first sea trials slated for 2036 before the carrier replaces the Charles de Gaulle in 2038.

No costs for the project have been released, but it's estimated to be in the neighborhood of US$6 billion.

Source: Ministry of the Armed Forces

6 comments
6 comments
David V
Estimated US$6 billion. So we can double that for the real price I guess.
Not surprised that Macron is going this way. But he won't be in power when this will be made or financed so that was an easy decision. Maybe he's hoping for his name on the bow.
Still I guess France needs to replace the old one and in this day and age with so many conflicts being staged far from home, it's a must have. Shame my taxes will be going towards this though.
Speed is slow. The IMOCA boats in the Vendee Globe race sail faster than that.
Worzel
''Oh! What a lovely war,'' becomes, ''Oh what a lovely target!'' The Chinese are reported to have developed an anti-ship missile, which is effectively an ICBM, for which there is no known anti missile system capable of stopping it. Reportedly, when Putin was asked what he thought of the UK's Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier, he smiled, and said, ''It will make a lovely target.'' The UK Navy sent its, ''Mighty Hood'' into battle, and the Bismarck immediately sent it to the seabed. Big ships are a liability, and have been abandoned mostly, but the worlds navies still love the big imposing stuff. I feel for all the families of the crews, who will be mourning their losses. RIP.
buzzclick
This is basically multi-billion dollars spent on sitting ducks. Aircraft carriers are fast becoming dinosaurs of high-tech war. They have to be escorted by flotillas of ships wherever they go. There haven't been any hit yet (as far as I know), but when that day comes, all that nuclear equipment will sink to the bottom and infect the area with radiation. France, and any other country who is still investing in this technology is wasting its energy, time and money.
1stClassOPP
It strikes me that 980’ is not that big. Is that size common for aircraft carriers? I thought they’d be much longer. We have 800’ plus ships traversing the Welland Canal. They are big, but are not aircraft carriers.
Smokey_Bear
1stClassOPP - It would be France's longest to date, the current longest is the US Ford Class, which is 1092 ft.

As for the article, what a waste of money. As an American, I'm pissed that were replacing our carriers with better ones, we should be slowly phasing them out, and have that money go towards ships with far more lethality & survivability, like subs & destroyers.
aki009
@Worzel Unprotected these big ships are indeed nice targets. But they are also the only way to project power to far-off regions of the world, and that comes in handy for maintaining peace around the world. Though I don't know why the French still want to project power like this, unless it's to keep the unions happy.