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French navy to get two new nuclear powered almost super-carriers, first by 2038

MarkOttawa

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US Navy will love, proper carriers too:

President Macron Announces Start of New French Nuclear Aircraft Carrier Program

French President Emmanuel Macron today officially green-lighted the construction of a new nuclear-powered aircraft carrier as part of the PANG program. The future flagship of the French Navy is intended to replace the existing FS Charles de Gaulle (R91) aircraft carrier around 2038.

The announcement was made during Macron’s visit to French nuclear power company Framatome, which designs and supplies nuclear steam systems and services.

“Charles de Gaulle, as you know, will come to the end of its life in 2038. This is why I have decided that the future aircraft carrier that will equip our country and our navy will be nuclear-powered like the Charles de Gaulle,” Macron said. “Your plant in Le Creusot, which has been producing parts essential to our navy for a long time, will produce, among others, several major parts of the nuclear boiler of the future aircraft carrier by forging and machining them right here. … By these choices, we confirm France’s desire to preserve its strategic autonomy.”

In October, Framatome announced the launch of Framatome Defense to promote the company’s defense activities. Framatome has supported the French defense sector for decades with a focus on components of the French Navy, notably for submarine programs and Charles de Gaulle. The company also contributes innovation for major ongoing programs such as the Barracuda-class nuclear attack boat and the French Navy’s next-generation ballistic missile nuclear submarine program (SNLE3G).

As Naval News reported previously, the PANG (Porte Avion Nouvelle Generation, or next-generation aircraft carrier) will be much longer and much heavier than the existing Charles de Gaulle.

It will have a length of 990 feet, a width of 40 meters and a displacement of 75,000 tons. The first steel cut is set for 2025, while sea trials are slated to begin in 2036 and commissioning with the French Navy in 2038, which matches the expected decommissioning of the Charles de Gaulle.

The initial artist impressions released by Naval Group confirm some of the technical details, which Naval News has been reporting since July:

    Nuclear-powered (CVN) with two K22 reactors (2 x 220 megawatts thermal)
    Length between 940 and 970 feet
    Full load displacement around 70,000 – 75,000 tons
    Maximum speed: 26 to 27 knots (similar to Charles de Gaulle)
    Propulsive power would be around 80 megawatts delivered to three or four shaft lines
    Total power around 110 megawatts, including the electrical plant
    Future air wing: 32 next-generation fighters with two to three E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes [emphasis added, eat your heart out RN] and a yet-to-be-determined number of unmanned carrier air vehicles
    Two side elevators with 40 tons lifting capacity
    Three 300-foot electromagnetic catapults (EMALS) by General Atomics
    Flight deck: 3.9 acres
    Aircraft hangar: 54,000 square feet
    Crew: 900 and 1,080 sailors (not including the air element of 550 to 620 sailors) with higher comfort compared to Charles de Gaulle.
    Thales SeaFire radar
    Principal Anti Air with MBDA Aster surface-to-air missiles for self-defense

The artist impression seems to show the presence of the new RapidFire Close In Weapon System (CIWS) as well.

France is set to invest $1.2 billion in the initial development of the carrier. Local press has reported the carrier could cost upwards of $6 billion, but French officials have declined to confirm the cost estimates, according to Reuters.

A version of this post originally appeared on Naval News. It’s been republished here with permission.
An artist’s impression of PANG (Porte Avion Nouvelle Generation, or next-generation aircraft carrier).
Eouu_FYXEAEUxMP.jpeg


https://news.usni.org/2020/12/08/president-macron-announces-start-of-new-french-nuclear-aircraft-carrier-program

Mark
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dapaterson

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As a Canadian, may I say, it's refreshing to see other nations taking 18 years to get a ship into the navy.
 

Good2Golf

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dapaterson said:
As a Canadian, may I say, it's refreshing to see other nations taking 18 years to get a ship into the navy.

Because multiple nuclear reactors aren’t any more complicated than a few off-the-shelf marine diesels and a GT...  ;)
 

Colin Parkinson

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Combined with the QE's Europe's ability to project power will be quite significant once these are in service.
 

Weinie

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Hmmmmmm.........launch in 2038.

Am I the only one on this site that thinks that the "conflict and confrontation" envelope in 2038 will be so different from what we see now that carriers will be only valuable as HA platforms?

China's Navy will crest in about 10 years, they will be a blue-water Navy, but advancements in missiles, AI, and UAV's will constrict them from being a dominant force. That aside, I am not sure of the force projection that the French Navy hopes to accomplish here.
 

CBH99

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Weinie said:
Hmmmmmm.........launch in 2038.

Am I the only one on this site that thinks that the "conflict and confrontation" envelope in 2038 will be so different from what we see now that carriers will be only valuable as HA platforms?

China's Navy will crest in about 10 years, they will be a blue-water Navy, but advancements in missiles, AI, and UAV's will constrict them from being a dominant force. That aside, I am not sure of the force projection that the French Navy hopes to accomplish here.


I agree with you that come 2038, carriers may have seen the way of the battleship.

That being said, France is a colonial power, and more than carries it's weight militarily.  If nothing else, having a carrier to support operations in their current/formal colonies is probably just good planning.  (Plus it builds & sustains not only their shipbuilding industry, aircraft manufacturing industry, but a variety of other industries also.  So it could be viewed as a good way to keep lots of people employed, while further developing some very special capabilities.)
 

SeaKingTacco

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Plus, even if the balance shifts towards UCAVs by then, they still need a place to land, get fuel, be repaired and re-armed.
 

dimsum

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SeaKingTacco said:
Plus, even if the balance shifts towards UCAVs by then, they still need a place to land, get fuel, be repaired and re-armed.

Agreed.  RPAS have the endurance/range, but quick (relatively-speaking) turnaround is always going to be a benefit.  Having a mobile airfield will always be useful, if not essential.
 

Weinie

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Dimsum said:
Agreed.  RPAS have the endurance/range, but quick (relatively-speaking) turnaround is always going to be a benefit.  Having a mobile airfield will always be useful, if not essential.

I suspect that RPAS would be the only thing they could reasonably carry/launch, as any near peer military will have hypersonic, long range carrier killers that will result in the carrier being far from the targets.
 

Humphrey Bogart

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Agreed. RPAS have the endurance/range, but quick (relatively-speaking) turnaround is always going to be a benefit. Having a mobile airfield will always be useful, if not essential.

I have been reading the “shortage of base personnel“ thread with interest And have been nodding my head in agreement with our crappy personnel management stories. Our Senior AESOp was posted this past summer from Victoria to Shearwater, despite him saying that all he wanted was 10 more months before he retired at 35 years of service. He would even submit a release memo, requesting 1 Apr 21 as a release date. instead, all he got back from the Career Manager was a terse “posting refusal equals compulsory release on your COS date, move now!” email in reply. I tried to patiently explain to the gaining CO and the CM that this was a bad idea- he had enough leave banked that he could basically move across Canada, get to Shearwater, submit a release memo and and leave pass, thus depriving the new unit of a Senior body for an entire year. Which he did. His replacement showed up at our unit. I interview him to find out that he had wanted the Shearwater posting all along, but it was denied to him- presumably just so the CM and Senior AESOp mafia could burn two cost moves and teach a MWO a lesson (while depriving units of effective senior leaders). Does no one at D Mil C do actual sanity checks on moves?
A mobile airfield that can also do 35+ kts in a pinch is very advantageous. Carriers have advantages over fixed airfields WRT targeting.

Airfields locations are known and advances in missiles make them easy pickings. A Carrier has a serious advantage in this regard.
 

FSTO

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I suspect that RPAS would be the only thing they could reasonably carry/launch, as any near peer military will have hypersonic, long range carrier killers that will result in the carrier being far from the targets.
Countermeasures such as spoofing and decoys can make the mobile airfield a tough hit. All those fancy brochures and cools videos of the tethered hulk do not mention that the target has a say in the engagement as well.
 

Humphrey Bogart

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They also fail to mention that the Carrier is inside a massive layered air defence bubble protected by many other ships, boats and aircraft.

You may be able to detect the Carrier but getting missiles or torpedoes to it is a lot harder than it looks. You would have to bypass screening forces, the destroyers, aircraft and a cruiser or two accompanying the carrier, not to mention the carriers own defensive systems. Oh and throw in a couple of submarines for good measure.

A Carrier task group has an almost incomprehensible amount of firepower. These aren't the Carriers of WWII, they have some serious standoff capabilities plus they carry more aircraft than most Nation's actual air forces.
 

tomahawk6

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The French will use its carrier in the Med and or around the coast of Africa. Nigeria or Mali shouldn't pose much of a threat to France. :)
 

Colin Parkinson

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A good look at the French Mistral class amphibious assault ships. The narrator is a bit annoying though.
 
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