Macron says next French aircraft carrier will be nuclear powered

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President Emmanuel Macron announced that France would replace the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier with a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in 2038. During a visit to the French nuclear reactor company, Framatome, in Le Creusot, he said that 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 ship and its 10th aircraft carrier. It is also the only non-US aircraft carrier to be equipped with catapults for launching non-STOVL fixed-wing aircraft. It only made its maiden voyage in 2001, but in 2018 it was decided to replace it with the New Generation Aircraft Carrier (PANG), or new generation aircraft carrier.

According to the Ministry of the Armed Forces, the decision to replace the current aircraft carrier with another nuclear-powered vessel is due to the fact that it will not require refueling during its lifetime, except for aircraft fuel, and may last 10 years between refits. The aircraft carrier yet to be named will be built in the Saint-Nazaire shipyards, with Naval Group as prime contractor, and will be based in Toulon.

When completed, the new transporter will move 75,000 tonnes, be 980 feet (300 m) in length and reach speeds of 27 knots (31 mph, 50 km / h). It will carry a crew of 2,000, including an aircrew, 30 next-generation SCAF fighters and electromagnetic catapults that will allow it to launch a wide variety of aircraft, including fighter bombers and drones. Electricity will come from two 220 MW reactors producing 150 MW of electricity.

The design phase of the carrier will run until 2025, when construction is to begin, with the first sea trials scheduled for 2036 before the carrier replaces the Charles de Gaulle in 2038.

No cost for the project has been announced, but it is estimated to be around US $ 6 billion.

Source: Ministry of the Armed Forces

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