The details of the aircraft carrier that France will operate to replace the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier were revealed.
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke about the new aircraft carrier to replace the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. Macron said the new aircraft carrier would be nuclear-powered and enter service in 2038, replacing the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in service since 2001.
Florence Parly, the Minister of the Armed Forces of France, previously said that the new aircraft carrier would be larger in size than any aircraft carrier produced so far. Florence Parly stated that the aircraft carrier would be operated together with the 6th generation fighter aircraft. The ministry also announced that the aircraft carrier would be equipped with approximately 30 Future Combat Aircraft Systems (FCAS), which will be larger than Rafale aircraft.
The ministry stated that the aircraft carrier would be in the 75,000-ton class, approximately 300 meters long, capable of sailing at 27 knots. On the other hand, the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier is 261 meters long and weighs 42,000 tons when fully loaded. The new aircraft carrier will have approximately 2,000 crew members, including the air group.
Emmanuel Macron announced that the new aircraft carrier was nuclear-powered. The new aircraft carrier will have two K22 power generators with 220 megawatts. The Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier has K15 power generators (150 megawatts) from which K22 generators will derive.
While nuclear power has been clarified, there is no clarity yet on some other important topics. Among them, the catapult system stands out as one of the most vital ones. France does not specialize in catapult system development. For this reason, it is expected to take a decision to import from the USA, as it has done for 60 years.
Naval Group, as the prime contractor started its design work. This design phase is expected to end in 2025 when the aircraft carrier will be ordered. The total estimated cost for the design phase will be 900 million euros, while the design phase cost in 2021 will be 117 million euros.