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French Republic launches studies for future aircraft carrier

Warship Technology eNews January 2021WT Jan21 French Republic

In December 2020, the President of the Republic announced the launch of studies for the replacement of the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier by a new nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The President said that if a decision is taken to proceed with construction, the new carrier would enter service by 2038.


Responding to the announcement, Naval Group said it was “delighted with the decision.” It will be involved in the project with its industrial partners Chantiers de l’Atlantique, TechnicAtome and Dassault Aviation.


Loïc Rocard, Chairman and CEO of TechnicAtome said, the decision to use nuclear propulsion for the future aircraft carrier would “help to perpetuate the rare skills of our company.”


Project management for the nuclear propulsion programme has been entrusted to the Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA), France’s Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission. TechnicAtome will be responsible for design and construction of reactors and their support systems, and for the reactor cores.


Naval Group will be responsible for manufacturing the steam generator and for its assembly. The reactor rooms will be integrated into the aircraft carrier at the Chantier de l'Atlantique site in St Nazaire.


The Ministère des Armées said the aircraft carrier will have a displacement of around 75,000 tonnes and be in the order of 300m long with a breadth of 80m.


Designed to be able to operate a speed of up to 27 knots, it will also be designed to have an electromagnetic launch and recovery system like developed in the US for the US Navy’s new-generation carriers and will carry around 30 new-generation Franco-German Système de Combat Aérien Futur or ‘SCAF’ combat aircraft. It will have a crew of 2,000 sailors.