As per a statement from France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, the country will soon start developing its latest and most modern aircraft carrier powered by nuclear energy. And the new aircraft carrier is said to serve in place of France’s Charles de Gaulle by 2038.
The president said this on his visit to Framatome, a renowned French nuclear reactor company. He said this decision ensures France’s desire to maintain its strategic autonomy.
Charles de Gaulle has served as the flagship aircraft carrier of the French Navy. It is the 10th aircraft carrier and the first nuclear vessel in the French arsenal, respectively. It is capable of launching fixed-wing, non-STOVL aircraft.
It is the first fully optioned aircraft carrier produced out of America and made its first run in 2001. The decision to replace it with Porte Avion Nouvelle Generation (PANG) or next-generation aircraft-carrier was made in 2018.
As per the French Armed Forces Ministry, replacing the flagship aircraft carrier with a modern nuclear-powered ship was made as later won’t require refueling. The modern nuclear-powered aircraft would only require fuel to re-fill the aircraft it carries. It would be good to go for a minimum of 10 years without needing any maintenance.
The naval group based in Toulon will serve as the prime contractor, and the shipyards at Saint-Nazaire will be used to build this nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
Upon its completion, the nuclear-powered carrier will displace 75,000 tonnes and reach the maximum speed of 27 knots; for you to better understand, it equals 50km/h of speed.
The 980 feet long carrier will have onboard a crew of 2000, 30 next-gen SCAF fighters and will launch fighter bombers and various drones. It will be powered by two nuclear reactors, both producing 220-MW of electricity each.
Its development work will begin in 2025 after the completion of its design. The timeline for its first run in the water is set for 2036 and will ultimately replace Charles de Gaulle in 2038. The project cost is not released; however, it is certain to be somewhere around US$6 Billion.